2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The consistent underlying culture of courtesy and respect.”
“Quality of work.”
“I'd love to work remotely more.”
“Erratic working hours.”
About Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP boasts one of the nation’s best and most comprehensive corporate departments, with impressive teams in capital markets, M&A, finance, restructuring, and tax. Its lauded litigation practice includes top-notch civil litigation and white collar criminal defense practices.
Davis Polk was founded by Francis Bangs in 1849, making it one of the oldest law firms in the United States. Bangs’ successor, Francis Stetson, was quick to recognize the growing importance of corporate work. In 1887, banker and industrialist John Pierpont Morgan selected Stetson for his chief counsel—the firm helped Morgan restructure the Pennsylvania Railroad and create General Electric. Morgan’s businesses, in their modern-day incarnations—JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley—have remained firm clients. Over the course of many decades, the firm has built relationships with a host of other financial institutions and corporations across the country and around the world.
Transactional Titans & Litigation Lions
One firm reigns as king atop both Vault’s Banking & Financial Services ranking and Securities/Capital Markets ranking: Davis Polk. The firm clinched the No. 1 spot in both areas in 2015 and has held tight since. DPW’s Capital Markets group has significant experience handling capital markets transactions, while its Financial Institutions group advises on a range of matters from M&A to compliance to Dodd-Frank and financial services regulatory reform.
The firm’s strong transactional practices are complemented by its top-notch litigation work. Davis Polk is a regular in the top ten of Vault’s Securities Litigation ranking and is among the top tier of Chambers’, The Legal 500’s, and Benchmark Litigation’s rankings—and for good reason. The firm regularly handles some of the most complex securities litigation around. DPW was a go-to firm for high-stakes litigation stemming from the financial crisis, represented the owners of the New York Mets in connection with the highly publicized litigation arising from the Madoff liquidation, and successfully argued in the Second Circuit on behalf of the 33 underwriters of the Facebook IPO in an action seeking disgorgement of more than $100 million. And you can’t talk about Davis Polk without mentioning its widely recognized White Collar Criminal Defense group, which handles everything from anti-money laundering and FCPA matters to FCA/qui tam and insider trading, plus much more.
Davis Polk has extensive experience in cross-border work, with ample international reach. The firm has had roots in Europe for more than 50 years, opening its Paris office in 1962, followed by its London office in 1973 and its Madrid office in 2001. A few decades later, the firm set its sights on Asia, opening its Tokyo office in 1987. A Hong Kong office followed in 1993, and in 2007, the firm opened an office in Beijing. The firm’s seventh international office, in São Paulo, opened in 2011. DPW’s lawyers practice U.S., U.K., Hong Kong, and French law.
News & Awards
Davis Polk advised the underwriters in connection with the $8.1 billion initial public offering of Uber Technologies, Inc.—the largest IPO since 2014.
Davis Polk has taken on several roles in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s multibillion dollar debt restructuring, including advising bondholders holding approximately $1 billion of bonds issued by the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico with respect to the first-ever restructuring under PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) Title VI, and advising Bonistas del Patio, an organization established to safeguard the interests of Puerto Rico residents who hold an estimated $15 billion in government-issued bonds, in connection with mediation restructuring negotiations with the government.
In June 2019, Greg Andres rejoined the firm’s Litigation department in New York. For the previous two years, Greg served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. He was the lead trial lawyer in the successful prosecution of Paul Manafort.
In one of the most buzzed-about media transactions in history, a Davis Polk team from New York, Northern California, and London advised Comcast in its battle with 21st Century Fox for European consumer entertainment company Sky. Over a nine-month period, Comcast publicly competed with Fox and Disney for control of Sky in one of only a handful of truly competitive U.K. takeovers in recent years. Davis Polk partner Will Pearce and former managing partner Tom Reid were named “Dealmakers of the Year” by The American Lawyer for their work on the deal.
- Asian American Bar Association of New York Law Firm Diversity Award - 2019
- Women in Law Empowerment Forum Gold Standard Firm
- Law360 Practice Group of the Year in Banking, Bankruptcy, Health Care, M&A, Media & Entertainment and Tax - 2019
- Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers Report—Davis Polk’s Cyber Portal earned the highest recognition in the Business of Law category - 2018
- The American Lawyer Global Legal Awards: Global M&A Deal of the Year (Aetna’s $77B acquisition by CVS Health) and Global Finance Deal of the Year (Oi S.A.’s $20B restructuring) - 2018
Why Work Here
Leading companies around the world turn to Davis Polk with their most significant matters. As an associate, you’ll be part of a team that is challenged on a daily basis to find the smartest, most innovative solutions to our clients’ needs.
Davis Polk is recognized for the exceptional strength of our corporate, litigation and tax practices. Our depth in each of these areas, as well as our global reach, brings us important work on a wide range of matters, including:
- Sophisticated global M&A deals
- Groundbreaking securities offerings
- High-profile leveraged lending transactions
- High-stakes complex corporate restructurings
- Innovative fintech matters
- Complex compliance issues
- Corporate governance advice on critical matters for C-suites and boards
- Bet-the-company litigation and enforcement matters
- Strategic tax transactional advice and tax litigation defense
- Cutting-edge financial regulatory developments
- Complex IP and commercial transactions
450 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 450-4000
Managing Partner: Neil Barr
Hiring Partners: Maurice Blanco & Dana Seshens
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
750 - 1K
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
Summer associate: $3,700/week
No. of Summer Associates:
125 total (112 2Ls; 13 1Ls) (2019)
Cristóbal V. Modesto
Director of Legal Recruiting
New York, NY (HQ)
Antitrust & Competition
Derivatives and Structured Products
Intellectual Property & Technology
Mergers & Acquisitions
Trusts & Estates
White Collar Criminal Defense
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.