|Headquarters||One Manhattan West|
New York City
|No. of offices||22|
|No. of attorneys||Approximately 1,700 |
|No. of employees||3,500 (estimate, including partners)|
|Major practice areas||Transactions, litigation/controversy and regulatory|
|Key people||Eric J. Friedman (executive partner)|
Claudia I. Joyce (executive director/strategy)
Noah J. Puntus (executive director/CFO)
|Revenue||US$ 2.41 billion (2015) |
|Date founded||April 1, 1948|
|Founder||Marshall Skadden, John Slate, and Les Arps|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
The firm was founded in 1948 in New York by Marshall Skadden, John Slate and Les Arps. In 1959 William Meagher joined the firm and Elizabeth Head, the firm's first female attorney, was hired. In 1960 the firm's name becomes Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In 1961 Peter Mullen, who later served as Skadden's first executive partner, joined the firm.
In 1973 the firm opened its second office, in Boston. In 1981 Peggy L. Kerr became Skadden's first female partner. In 1985 Skadden was ranked as one of the three largest law firms in the United States.
In 1987 The firm opened its first international office, in Tokyo. In 1988 the Skadden Fellowship Foundation was created. Skadden's New York City headquarters moved to 4 Times Square, the "Condé Nast Building." in 2000. Together with the City College of New York, Skadden launched the Skadden, Arps Honors Program in 2008, with the goal of increasing diversity in law schools and the legal profession.
In 2012 Skadden took Viktor F. Yanukovych as a client, who served as president of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014. One of their actions on his behalf was to produce a report justifying Yanukovych's imprisonment of former prime minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko and denying that the action had been a political prosecution, although many Western countries characterized it as such. Later that year a team of American lawyers commissioned by the government of Ukraine concluded that Tymoshenko's trial had not been fair and her rights had been violated. After Yanukovych's downfall, Skadden's work on his behalf led to several federal investigations. One Skadden attorney, Alex van der Zwaan, was convicted of lying to the FBI about his work on Yanukovych's behalf and served 30 days in jail. Tymoshenko made plans to sue Skadden, and in May 2020 it was revealed that Skadden paid at least $11 million to settle the case before a lawsuit could be filed.
Skadden, along with Mercury Public Affairs and the Podesta Group, was investigated by the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) for possible lobbying violations regarding former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. In May 2020 Skadden paid a $4.6 million settlement to the Department of Justice over the firm's failure to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registrations Act.
In February 2011, there were 432 Skadden partners worldwide. As of December 2016, there were 381 partners worldwide. Unlike some firms that have introduced two-tier partnerships with equity and non-equity partners, Skadden maintains a one-tier partnership, in which all partners are equity partners and share ownership of the firm. In January 2020, there were 349 partners worldwide.
Notable partners include:
- Stephen C. Robinson, former federal district court judge sitting in the U.S. District Court for the SDNY; former U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut
- Patrick B. Fitzgerald, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; as special counsel for the Department of Justice, the federal prosecutor in charge of the investigation of the Valerie Plame Affair
- Fred T. Goldberg, Jr., commissioner of Internal Revenue (1989–92), assistant secretary for tax policy in the Department of the Treasury in 1992
- Mark N. Kaplan, former CEO of Drexel Burnham Lambert and Engelhard
In 2015 and 2016, Skadden was the fourth largest law firm in the U.S. by revenue. In the 2015 Global 100 survey by The American Lawyer, Skadden ranked as the fourth-highest grossing law firm in the world. In 2016, Skadden had approximately 1,700 attorneys in 22 offices; in 2011, the firm had approximately 1,900 attorneys in 23 offices. Measured by the number of attorneys, Skadden is the fifth largest law firm in New York and 12th largest in the United States. In 2016, Skadden was 187th on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies by revenue. Previously, the firm ranked 335th in 1995, 194th in 2003 and 213th in 2010. In 2015, Skadden became the first law firm ever to handle more than $1 trillion in M&A deals in a single year and, for the third time in six years, the Financial Times' "Innovative Lawyers" report named Skadden the most innovative law firm in North America.
Skadden Fellowship Foundation
Through the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, the firm sponsors law school graduates who wish to practice public interest law. The foundation was established in 1988 in honor of the firm's 40th anniversary. The Los Angeles Times has called the program "a legal Peace Corps." Fellows work with a sponsoring organization that provides legal services to the poor, elderly, homeless, disabled and disenfranchised. Skadden pays fellows a salary of $52,000 (as of 2016), plus all the fringe benefits the sponsoring organization offers its employees. Through 2016, the firm has awarded 791 fellowships. Since the program's inception, nearly 90 percent of its fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work.
Skadden partners and employees tend to support and contribute more to Democratic political candidates than to Republicans. Prominent lawyers at the firm endorsed and financially supported John Kerry in his campaign to become president of the United States in 2004. In the run-up to Super Tuesday 2008, Skadden hosted a phone bank in support of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Skadden was one of the top law firms contributing to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, donating $1.98 million, 76% to Democrats. From 1990 through 2008, Skadden contributed $11.93 million to federal campaigns; between 2000 and 2008 the firm spent $2.2 million on lobbying.
In addition to numerous professors and partners at other firms, some of the more notable former Skadden attorneys include:
- Amelia Boone, obstacle racer, 2012 Spartan Race World Champion and three-time Tough Mudder champion
- Bruce M. Buck, chairman of Chelsea Football Club
- Gregory B. Craig, former White House counsel to President Barack Obama
- George B. Daniels, judge, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (2000–)
- Robert Del Tufo, former New Jersey attorney general and U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey
- John Feerick, former dean of Fordham University School of Law
- Joseph Flom, name-partner
- Chip Flowers, first African-American elected official in Delaware (state treasurer) and co-chair, National Democratic State Treasurers (2010-2014)
- Greg Giraldo, lawyer turned comedian and roast master
- Keith Gottfried, general counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2005–)
- Laura Ingraham, Fox News anchor and host of The Ingraham Angle
- Judge Judith S. Kaye, longest-tenured chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, serving 1993-2008
- Robert Lighthizer, current United States trade representative (2017–)
- Robert S. Pirie, co-chairman and CEO of Rothschild, North America, senior managing director of Bear Stearns & Co., and vice-chairman of Investment Banking at SG Cowen Securities Corporation
- Douglas Rediker, executive chairman of International Capital Strategies; former U.S. alternate executive director, International Monetary Fund (2010–2012)
- Irving S. Shapiro, former CEO, DuPont
- Mary L. Smith, principal deputy director and acting agency head of Indian Health Service; former official, United States Department of Justice Civil Division; former nominee, assistant attorney general, United States Department of Justice, Tax Division
- Leo Strine, chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court (2014–present); previously chancellor (2011–2014) and vice-chancellor (1998–2011) of the Delaware Court of Chancery
- Robert W. Sweet, judge, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (1978–1991, senior status 1991–)
- William H. Timbers, former judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1971–1981, senior status 1981–1994); chief judge (1964–1971), judge (1960–1971), U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
- Alex van der Zwaan, attorney, charged with lying to federal investigators about his interactions with Rick Gates in an investigation in Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
- Stephen Vaughn, former acting United States trade representative (USTR) and USTR general counsel
- Harold M. Williams, former chair, Securities and Exchange Commission (1977–1981)
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