We are starting a series today to name the most powerful partners at the top law firms, firm by firm.
Though lawyers usually remain in the background, they are heavily involved in every major merger, buyout, bankruptcy and, obviously, settlement.
The financial crisis has brought the extensive role of counsel to the forefront. Rodge Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell became nearly a household name, and the advice Wachtell gave to Bank of America and that Davis Polk provided to the New York Fed have been front-page news.
Our first power firm: Cravath, Swaine and Moore
“For nearly two centuries, our firm has been known as the premier American law firm,” the firm’s site boasts. So, who are the ladies and gentlemen behind the curtain? We want to find out and pass the information along.
Here’s how it will work — below is a longer list of the top firm’s partners, developed through research and interviews. We will whittle the down to the top 10 and post it early next week.
Power is of course not easy to define, but firms need partners who bring in the big deals, who try the high risk cases for the largest clients and who know how to run and move forward the business of the firm.
For those of you familiar with Cravath attorneys — if you are one, have been a client of the firm or work with or against them as attorneys — we want to hear from you. The names of those providing information will remain anonymous — but the more information the better! Please email me at [email protected].
C. Allen Parker
William “Bud” Rogers, Jr.
James Vardell, III
William Whelan, III
Had we run this last week, two other names would have had prominent spots on the list. Julie Spellman Sweet is leaving the firm to join Accenture as general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer. And, as we mentioned, long-time partner and noted litigator Robert Joffe passed away.
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