Overview

Introduction

With an illustrious history dating back to 1819, Cravath remains a leanly staffed, relatively small firm with headquarters in New York City and only one other small London office (and plans to open a DC office in the fall of 2022). Associates have no billable hour requirement yet bill among the highest hours of any top firm. Often described as “sink or swim,” the firm utilizes a unique work rotation system that lends itself to smaller, cooperative teams, close mentoring, substantial responsibility, and quick learning for associates.<...

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2022)

250 - 500

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No. of Partners Named (2022)

9

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Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


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No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2021)

75


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No. of Summer Associates (2022)

118 total (114 2Ls; 4 1Ls)


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Base Salary

1st year: $215,000

Vault Verdict

Cravath hires associates predominantly from its summer program, but over the past year, it also hired several laterals for the first time. New hires must have excellent grades, and often have journal or clerkship experience at the top-fourteen law schools. The firm seeks sociable, high achievers who will relish diving into substantive work. The culture is respectful and somewhat formal. The partnership track is relatively short, but firm management is opaque. Many associates appreciate the lock-step compensation system, believing that it fosters a cooperative environment in which they do not need to play politics to get high-quality or continuous work. The hours can feel overwhelming, but associates appreciate Cravath’s market-leading compensation and the ability to relax during d...

Firm's Response

The development of our lawyers is our most important long-term objective. Our fundamental strength—the rotation system, also known as the Cravath System—has remained intact because we, and generations of partners before us, believe that a personal investment in our associates is the best way to train and cultivate talented lawyers. Because...

About the Firm

With two centuries under its belt, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is one of the nation’s preeminent law firms. Cravath has settled on a lean-and-mean approach to world dominance with two strategically placed offices in New York and London.

Storied History, Market Leader

Cravath is one of the nation’s oldest law firms, and it certainly has made its mark. Firm founders Richard Blatchford and William Seward both served in Lincoln’s administration—Seward was the Secretary of State. Over the years, the firm has had its hand in representing famed abolitionist Horace Greeley and inventor Samuel Morse, organizing NBC for its original shareholders, and handling the famed 13-year antitrust lawsuit that began in 1969 for IBM.

Cravath is a market leader in salaries, bonuses,...

Associate Reviews


  • “Cravath is a focused and friendly place. Associates are passionate about their work and also happy to teach junior associates. Social activities occur both informally in the office and through organized group events (both firm-wide and specific events organized by partner groups).”
  • “The rotation system promotes a less hierarchical system since juniors who have spent longer in a practice area often know more about certain matters than seniors. That breeds a culture with a lot more mutual respect than you would find otherwise. There also is little to no competitiveness among associates that I have experienced because there is no benefit to acting that way. We are all busy and push ourselves to do our best, but a lot of the lockstep structure / fact that you can't move groups until you rotate means that one-upping fellow associates and trying to schmooze your way into the good graces of certain partners doesn't really happen here like it does in more free-market systems. Overall, it means I don't have that added stress of playing politics, which I appreciate.”
  • “I have been pleasantly surprised how intimate, friendly and kind everyone is at Cravath—it really feels like a family (in part because we have one primary office in New York). There are staff who've worked here for decades and are one of the reasons I go to the office during these remote periods. In M&A, we are organized by groups so you get to know the partners in the group quite well, and I feel like I have the chance to be exposed to different ways of lawyering in the process.”
  • “It is hard to judge this given the present COVID environment. I would say that folks are approachable and helpful, but a bit buttoned-up. I am fine with that balance. I appreciate some separation between professional/personal.  My partner does schedule regular check-ins, which is nice.”

Why Work Here


Here’s what you may not know:  The professional development of our lawyers is our most important long-term objective.  Our continued success depends on our ability to attract and develop the best talent, and we are committed to providing our lawyers with a rewarding and well-rounded professional experience.

We are not, and do not strive to be, the largest law firm measured by number of offices or lawyers.  Our goal is to be the firm of choice for clients facing their most challenging legal issues, most significant business transactions and most critical disputes.  To that end, we recruit the nation’s most outstanding law students and focus on training and developing them into world-class lawyers through our hallmark Rotation System.

Diversity at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

"Our overarching goal is to provide the best possible representation to our clients. We have long held the conviction that excellence and diversity go hand in hand, and that we cannot provide our clients with the highest level of representation unless we recruit and retain outstanding lawyers from diverse backgrounds, with different perspectives, experiences and insights. Just as we pride ourselves on the diversity of our practice, we are proud of our commitment to promoting the diversity of our people at all levels. Faiza Saeed is our..."

Getting Hired Here

JOB OPENINGS AT THIS COMPANY



  • “The firm generally hires from T-14 schools, but will also consider exceptional applicants from other schools, particularly in the NYC area. We generally look for smart, analytical, and driven individuals who are excited about practicing law in an intense and rewarding environment.”
  • “Top grades; top schools (though not an absolute requirement); the firm values journal experience and of course clerkships, diversity, and so on. No laterals except in very, very rare circumstances.”
  • “The firm hires primarily through on-campus [interviews] and conducts standard screening interviews. After that, it conducts all-day callbacks. A candidate will typically meet with 5-6 people during the day, but there is no set schedule and no pre-determined interview length, so candidates are not informed beforehand who they will be meeting with. In the majority of instances, if a candidate is going to receive an offer, he or she will receive it at the end of the callback the same day. The firm puts a lot of emphasis on grades and, in litigation, on writing ability and experience. Journal experience is important for both corporate and litigation hiring. I think interpersonal skills and ability to work in a small group are important. The firm also tends to throw associates into the mix very quickly, even as juniors, so they expect candidates to be able to learn and adapt quickly. The firm hires heavily from NYU, Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Georgetown. The other T-14 schools are also represented in incoming classes. There are typically at least one or two associates from Fordham in each class as well.”
  • “The firm is focused on people who want to be members of teams and who want to learn as quickly as possible.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Antony L. Ryan

Partner—Litigation

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Jenny Hochenberg

Partner—Corporate

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Lauren A. Moskowitz

Partner—Litigation

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Gary A. Bornstein

Antitrust

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Sasha Rosenthal-Larrea

Partner

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Perks & Benefits