Sullivan & Cromwell

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Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell
Headquarters 125 Broad Street
New York City, New York, United States
No. of offices 12 total, 8 international
No. of attorneys 802 (2013)
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Joseph Shenker, Chairman and Senior Partner
H. Rodgin Cohen , Senior Chairman
Revenue Increase $1.08 billion (2010)
Date founded 1879
Founder Algernon Sydney Sullivan and William Nelson Cromwell
Company type Limited liability partnership

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is an international law firm headquartered in New York. It gained notoriety for its impact on international affairs, and for the benefits accrued to its corporate clients by decisions of its alumni, the brothers Allen (CIA Director) and John (US Secretary of State) Dulles.[1][2]


Founding partners Algernon Sydney Sullivan and William Nelson Cromwell advised John Pierpont Morgan during the creation of Edison General Electric (1882) and later guided key players in the formation of U.S. Steel (1901) and the financing of the Panama Canal.[2] The firm has been closely involved in the affairs of some of America's, and now the world's, greatest industrial, commercial and financial enterprises; it represents the Panama Canal Authority to this day.[citation needed]

During the Great Depression and its aftermath, the firm litigated in the newly emerging fields shareholder derivatives, antitrust actions, federal income tax law, and registration under the Securities Act of 1933.

In 1935, Allen Dulles visited Germany and returned greatly disturbed by the direction of the regime. He advised that the firm should close its Berlin office, against his brother's strong objections, and the partners eventually voted to close it, although John Foster subsequently backdated documents to suggest that the closing date had been 1934.[citation needed]

Maples v. Thomas[edit]

Sullivan & Cromwell was the law firm whose competence was questioned in the 2012 Supreme Court case Maples v. Thomas. The firm missed a deadline in a death row appeal after the two attorneys handling the case left the firm without notifying the court in Alabama.[3][4] A ruling on a denial petition was sent to Sullivan & Cromwell, however the mailroom returned the envelopes to the court stamped "Returned to Sender -- Attempted Unknown" and "Return to Sender -- Left Firm."

Writing for the majority, Justice Ginsburg wrote: “Abandoned by counsel, Maples was left unrepresented at a critical time for his state postconviction petition, and he lacked a clue of any need to protect himself pro se. In these circumstances, no just system would lay the default at Maples’ death-cell door.”[5]

Notable alumni[edit]

Individuals who have worked at Sullivan & Cromwell include:


  1. ^ a b c Stephen Kinzer (2013). The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War. New York: Times Books. ISBN 0805094970. 
  2. ^ a b McCullough, David (1977). The Path Between the Seas. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 698. ISBN 978-0-671-22563-6. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ The New York Times
  5. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • VEP: Sullivan & Cromwell. New York: Vault, Inc. 1998. ISBN 1-58131-095-1. 
  • Lisagor, Nancy; Frank Lipsius (1989). A Law Unto Itself: The Untold Story of the Law Firm Sullivan & Cromwell. New York: Paragon House. ISBN 1-55778-239-3. 

External links[edit]