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2021 DIVERSITY DATABASE UNDERWRITER Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

At a Glance


“Ability to devote time to pro bono.”

“The people are wonderful.”

“Exposure to substantive work.”


“The hours.”

“Minimal advancement prospects.”

“The stress that inevitably comes when working on high-stakes matters.”

About Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP


For decades, Paul, Weiss has valiantly defended the coffers and reputations of some of the world’s largest financial institutions and companies. Though perhaps best recognized for its courtroom dazzle, the firm’s prolific corporate and restructuring departments more than hold their own. The firm is also known for its expertise in telecom and entertainment law.

Groundbreaking Start

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison dates to pre-WWI New York, where Samuel William Weiss and partners opened a practice to handle commercial law matters for other members of the local Jewish business community. Back then, Jewish attorneys struggled to find acceptance in Gentile firms. Weiss’ son Louis took a different approach and went into business with Columbia Law classmate John F. Wharton, who was a Protestant. It was one of the earliest instances of an American law firm where Jews and Gentiles worked as equals. Eventually, Weiss & Wharton merged with the firm Louis’ father had helped start.

From its earliest days, Paul, Weiss was associated with progressive politics and civil rights. Well-known First Amendment lawyer Walter Pollak joined the firm in 1936, after having argued some of the infamous “Scottsboro Boys” trials before SCOTUS. Lloyd Garrison and Randolph Paul joined in the mid-1940s. Paul was a tax attorney who’d previously worked at the Treasury, and Garrison—the great-grandson of an abolitionist—stood up for clients like Arthur Miller, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Langston Hughes during the McCarthy era.

The last name partner to join the masthead was Judge Simon Rifkind, who came on board in 1950 after serving as a federal district court judge and working in the Roosevelt administration to craft New Deal legislation. He stayed with the firm until his death in 1995 and is credited with helping to establish the firm as a litigation powerhouse.

One of the Greats

Paul, Weiss is home to one of the nation’s preeminent litigation departments, playing a lead role in defending global banks during and after the financial crisis and currently representing many of the world’s best-known companies in significant litigation and regulatory matters. Paul, Weiss also boasts a formidable corporate practice, with a top-notch M&A group and a private equity group that handles deals and funds work for Apollo, one of the world’s most prolific buyout firms, among others. Its bankruptcy department is also among the nation’s elite, advising some of the country’s largest distressed companies, investors, and creditor groups.

Pro Bono in the Blood

Civil rights work is part of the DNA of Paul, Weiss, dating back to its work on the “Scottsboro Boys” trials and Brown v. Board of Education to challenging the Defense of Marriage Act through United States v. Windsor. Today, the firm is active in racial justice efforts and assistance for those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in immigrant rights, reproductive rights, and voter protection efforts. Its pro bono efforts have not gone unrecognized—the firm was named to the 2020 National Law Journal’s Pro Bono Hot List and was also ranked among the top 10 firms by The American Lawyer’s 2021 Pro Bono Survey.

News & Awards

  • Paul, Weiss successfully defended Citigroup at trial alleging that Citigroup aided and abetted in the massive fraud at Parmalat; in 2008, jurors rejected the $2 billion claim, awarding Citigroup $364 million on its counterclaim.
  • Paul, Weiss secured the Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor in 2013, which led to the recognition of the constitutional right of same-sex couples to be married.
  • Paul, Weiss led the defense of the NFL in lawsuits by 5,000-plus former NFL players over alleged concussion-related injuries, obtaining a landmark settlement in 2013.
  • Paul, Weiss lawyers helped free the Scottsboro Boys, winning reversal of their conviction in the Supreme Court in 1932.
  • Top Firms for Inclusion Initiatives, 2020—Yale Law Women
  • Capital Markets, Fund Formation, Private Equity and Securities “Practice Groups of the Year,” 2020—Law360
  • Best Law Firm for Women, 2021—Seramount (f/k/a Working Mother Media)
  • Innovation Award, 2020—New York Law Journal
  • President’s Pro Bono Service Award, 2021—New York State Bar Association

Why Work Here

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019-6064
Phone: (212) 373-3000

Firm Stats

Firm Chair: Brad S. Karp
Deputy Chair: Valerie E. Radwaner
Hiring Partners: Catherine Nyarady & Neil Goldman
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
1K - 1.5K
No. of Partners Named 2021:

Base Salary

All offices
1st year: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000
8th year+: $365,000
Summer Associate: $3,942/week

Employment Contact

Pamela N. Davidson
Chief Legal Personnel and Recruitment Officer
(212) 373-2548

No. of U.S. Offices: 4

No. of International Offices: 5

Major Office Locations

New York, NY (HQ)
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC
Wilmington, DE | Beijing
Hong Kong

Major Departments

Capital Markets & Securities
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Intellectual Property
Investment Management
Media, Sports & Entertainment
Mergers & Acquisitions
Private Equity
Real Estate
White Collar & Regulatory Defense
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.