Cravath Opens Its Second US Office After More Than 200 Years

Cravath Swaine & Moore – the New York City Biglaw firm that often controls associate salary and bonus scales writ large – has maintained a single office in the US since its founding in 1819. That all changes now.

Earlier today, the firm announced that it would be opening its second US office in Washington, DC For the American Lawyer, the following former government attorneys will be joining the firm as partners to take the lead this fall in DC: of the FDIC; Elad Roisman, former commissioner and acting chair of the SEC; and Jennifer Leete, former associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. McWilliams will serve as the managing partner of the firm’s DC office.

Faize Saeed, the firm’s presiding partner, released the following statement:

“Our clients face an increasingly complex and active regulatory environment, and our move today enhances our ability to provide the most creative advice in addressing their most challenging matters,” said Faiza J. Saeed, Cravath’s Presiding Partner. “With nearly half a century of combined public service, Jelena, Elad and Jennifer will bring exceptional regulatory experience, legal acumen and leadership on critical issues. We are thrilled to welcome them to Cravath. ”

Cravath has been making major moves in the last six months or so. First, it increased its bonus scale for the first time in years, much to associates’ delight. Next, the firm announced that it would be abandoning its pure lockstep model for partnership compensation in favor of a modified system. Lastly, it set a higher associate salary scale that the majority of Biglaw firms quickly adopted.

Now, the firm is opening another US office for the first time in more than 200 years. What’s going on here? The rest of Biglaw is usually keeping up with the Cravathians, but it looks like competition is driving even the most prestigious of firms to do things that are out of character.

“Building the Washington, DC, office for a firm as venerable as Cravath — its second U.S. office in over 200 years — is an opportunity of a lifetime,” McWilliams said in a statement.

Congratulations to everyone at Cravath!

Cravath to Launch DC Office, Hiring Partners From FDIC and SEC [American Lawyer]


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or reviews. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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