Big Law Cravath Opens In Washington DC

Breaking from the tradition of its conservative nature, Big Law firm Cravath is opening an office in Washington DC, recruiting partners from government from the FDIC and SEC to move heavily into the regulatory world.

Cravath have a proud history of Wall Street origins and going back to it formation in 1819 and has few outposts, other than London in the 19702 and has also had offices previously in Hong Kong and Paris.

Cravaths have always been one of the preeminent firms, retaining clients and talent, although recently it suffered the loss of M&A lawyer Damien Zoubek who went to Freshfields and Allison Wein left for Kirkland & Ellis in May.

The press release from Cravath is below –

On June 6, 2022, Cravath announced it will open a Washington, D.C. office anchored by former leaders of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Jelena McWilliams, former Chairman of the FDIC, Elad L. Roisman, former Commissioner and Acting Chairman of the SEC, and Jennifer S. Leete, former Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, will join the Firm as partners.

Ms. McWilliams, Mr. Roisman and Ms. Leete will advise Cravath’s clients across a range of sectors, including financial services, fintech and emerging technology, on regulatory, corporate governance and investigation matters, as well as M&A, IPO and other capital markets transactions. Ms. McWilliams will serve as Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office.

“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.”

With the addition of Ms. McWilliams, Mr. Roisman and Ms. Leete, Cravath’s partnership will include attorneys who have served in leadership positions across key federal regulatory agencies, including Christine A. Varney, who chairs Cravath’s Antitrust Practice and previously served as Assistant Attorney General and led the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division after serving as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; David J. Kappos, who co-chairs Cravath’s Intellectual Property Practice and previously served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; and John D. Buretta, who chairs Cravath’s Investigations and Regulatory Enforcement Practice and previously served as the number two ranking official in the DOJ’s Criminal Division as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff.

“Building the Washington, D.C. office for a firm as venerable as Cravath—its second U.S. office in over 200 years—is an opportunity of a lifetime. I am honored to be joining the Cravath partnership at this important moment for the Firm,” said Ms. McWilliams.

Mr. Roisman said: “I have worked diligently throughout my career in both government service and in the private sector to improve the capital markets and help businesses and investors succeed. I am honored to have the chance to do so at Cravath with its unparalleled reputation and securities law expertise.”

Ms. Leete said: “I am eager to get to work helping clients navigate their most critical enforcement and regulatory challenges. It will be an enormous privilege to join Cravath’s exceptional attorneys in bringing this storied firm to Washington.”

Founded in 1819, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is widely recognized as one of the world’s premier law firms. With the opening this fall, the Firm will have offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and London.

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