Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP at a Glance


  • “Smart, polite, hard-working colleagues”
  • “Early experience on notable matters”
  • “Excellent compensation”


  • “Difficult hours”
  • “Passive-aggressive culture”
  • “Lack quality feedback”

About Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, founded in New York City more than 160 years ago, has finance in its DNA. The firm boasts one of the nation's best and most comprehensive corporate departments, with impressive teams in capital markets, M&A, bankruptcy, and tax. Its highly-regarded litigation practice-which includes a top-notch white-collar criminal defense team-also has deep roots: in his long career, name partner John Davis argued more than 250 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

On the Coattails of the Robber Barons

Davis Polk dates back to 1849, making it one of the oldest law firms in the United States. Original founder Francis Bangs made his name opposing the legendary Boss Tweed and his Tammany Hall cronies. 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.

International Flair

Davis Polk's flair for the international is well-established. The firm has expanded across Europe, opening its Paris office in 1962, its London office in 1973, and its Madrid office in 2001. In 2007, Davis Polk opened an office in Beijing, its third Asian office after Hong Kong and Tokyo. The firm's seventh international office, in São Paulo, opened in 2011.

Under managing partner Tom Reid, expect the firm to continue doing what it does best: thriving overseas and representing top governments, financial institutions, and other companies. Reid, who hails from Scotland himself, took a hiatus from law to join the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley in London before returning to the firm in 2003, bringing back loads of capital markets, M&A, and corporate governance business with European blue-chip companies and financiers. Approximately 50 percent of the firm's principal clients are non-U.S. companies or governments.

Staying on Top

Davis Polk emerged swinging from the 2008 economic downturn, gobbling up resulting M&A and restructuring work while its PPP continued to rise-all without dumping or driving away loads of associates. From advising on unprecedented transactions in the banking industry (such as counseling Citi on its $306 billion loss-protection agreement with the U.S. government) to the largest-ever IPO by a U.S. issuer-counseling the underwriters on the $23.1 billion IPO of GM-Davis Polk knows how to successfully weather the storm.


Davis Polk's litigators are no slouches either. Known for their elite trial work in general commercial, white-collar, securities, IP and antitrust, they successfully argued in the Second Circuit on behalf of the 33 underwriters of the Facebook IPO in an action seeking disgorgement of over $100 million; achieved back-to-back wins for Comcast in patent litigation against Sprint, including appellate affirmances overturning a $27.6 million jury verdict in favor of Sprint; and obtained declinations for Cisco in SEC and DOJ investigations into potential FCPA breaches related to business activities in Russia. The go-to firm for high-stakes litigation stemming from the financial crisis, Davis Polk also represented the owners of the New York Mets in connection with the highly publicized litigation arising from the Madoff liquidation.


April 2017
Diverse Davis

As part of PepsiCo Inc.'s outside counsel diversity initiatives, the company recognized Davis Polk in 2017 for exceptional commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

March 2017
Asia Accolades

For the fourth consecutive year, International Financial Law Review named Davis Polk "Most Innovative US Firm of the Year" at the annual IFLR Asia Awards. The firm was also named "Equity Team of the Year" and recognized for its role on the "Equity Deal of the Year," the Postal Savings Bank of China IPO. At The Asian Lawyer's 2017 Asia Legal Awards, Davis Polk received six awards, including "International Law Firm of the Year" and "Securities Firm of the Year." In addition, four Davis Polk deals were recognized as a "Deal of the Year."

January 2017

Law360 named three Davis Polk practices as "Practice Groups of the Year" for 2016: Banking, Capital Markets and M&A. This is the fourth consecutive win for the firm's M&A and Banking teams, and the third consecutive win for the Capital Markets Group. 

November 2016
Pro Bono Awards

In celebration of Pro Bono Week, Davis Polk announced the recipients of the firm's first annual pro bono awards. We recognized eight associates for their commitment to and performance of high quality pro bono work, through charitable donations made in their honor.

"Like" that News
Davis Polk landed an appellate victory when the Second Circuit affirmed dismissal of an action seeking to recover alleged short-swing profits of over $100 million from our clients, the lead underwriters of the Facebook IPO. In its decision, the court explained that requiring disgorgement here would impair public securities offerings and imposing liability in such cases would discourage IPOs.

August 2016
College Championship

Davis Polk nabbed a Sixth Circuit victory for NBCUniversal in a putative class action challenging NCAA rules regarding compensation for television broadcasts of games. Former college football and basketball players brought the case against major broadcasting stations and athletic conferences, accusing them of profiting from unauthorized use of the athletes' public personas and claiming infringement of their publicity rights.

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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

450 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 450-4000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Thomas J. Reid
  • Hiring Partners: Maurice Blanco & Dana Seshens
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 961

  • Base Salary
    All US offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    157 out of 157 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust & Competition • Capital Markets • Corporate Governance • Credit • Derivatives and Structured Products • Environmental • Executive Compensation • Financial Institutions • Global Technology • Insolvency & Restructuring • Intellectual Property • Investment Management • Litigation • Mergers & Acquisitions • Private Equity • Real Estate • Tax • Trusts & Estates

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ) • Northern California • Washington, DC Beijing • Hong Kong • London • Madrid • Paris • São Paulo • Tokyo