Wachtell Lipton was founded on a handshake in 1965 as a small group of lawyers dedicated to providing advice and expertise at the highest levels. We have achieved extraordinary results following the distinctive vision of our founders -- a cohesive team of lawyers intensely focused on solving our clients' most important problems.
Our distinctive structure defines our approach.  We maintain a ratio of associates to partners significantly below that of other firms.  We focus on matters that require the attention, extensive experience and sophistication of our partners.
We have experience in the fields of mergers and acquisitions, strategic investments, takeovers and takeover defense, corporate and securities law and corporate governance. We handle some of the largest, most complex and demanding transactions in the United States and around the world.
Wachtell Lipton is dedicated to providing advice and expertise at the highest levels and achieving extraordinary results for our clients. We seek individuals who are talented, motivated and committed in order to maintain our record of excellence.


We handle a wide variety of high-profile, complex litigation for major corporations and leading financial institutions. Our practice is national in scope, with appearances in state and federal courts at both trial and appellate levels, as well as in arbitrations and mediations.

A National and International Litigation Practice.  Wachtell Lipton's litigation practice is consistently at the cutting edge of the leading commercial and corporate litigation battles dominating headlines.  Our clients are in diverse industries, including finance, insurance, media, high-tech, energy, industrial, consumer, retail and real estate.  A tight-knit group of approximately 75 lawyers, we approach each matter with intensity, thoroughness and creativity and build teams appropriate to the circumstances.  We make appearances in state and federal courts throughout the country at both trial and appellate levels, as well as in arbitrations and mediations.  We also have a leading practice representing companies and individuals in state and federal regulatory and criminal investigations.  Many of our litigators served as law clerks in federal or state courts, and several distinguished themselves as assistant United States attorneys or as enforcement attorneys at the SEC.

Takeover and Merger Litigation.  We are considered one of the leading transaction and takeover litigation firms in the country, having litigated many of the seminal cases establishing U.S. takeover law — including Moran v. Household Int’l Inc.; Revlon Inc. v. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc.; Paramount Communications, Inc. v. Time, Inc.; Paramount Communications, Inc. v. QVC Network, Inc.; and IBP, Inc. v. Tyson Foods.  Recent representations have included Airgas in its landmark takeover defense against Air Products, Vulcan Materials in its defense of a bid from Martin Marietta Materials and Lions Gate Entertainment in its closely watched takeover battle.   Our litigators also advise on a range of corporate governance matters and handle derivative demands and other litigation challenging the actions of boards of directors.

Complex Commercial and Securities Litigation.  We consistently handle some of the nation’s leading commercial disputes covering diverse industries and subject matters.  Recent representations have included:

  • National Australia Bank in the landmark Morrison case, in which the United States Supreme Court held that Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and SEC Rule 10b-5 apply only to purchases and sales of securities in the United States.  The decision overturned 40 years of lower-court precedent and eradicated a burgeoning species of securities litigation (so-called “foreign-cubed” and “foreign-squared” class actions) along with billions of dollars in potential liability for foreign securities issuers.
  • JPMorgan Chase in the $19 billion litigation brought against it by the trustee for the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s failed firm, in which we were able successfully to remove the case from bankruptcy court to federal district court and have the majority of claims dismissed.
  • Bank of America in negotiating Bank of America’s $8.5 billion settlement of claims involving more than 500 trusts for mortgage-backed securities issued by Countrywide and in resolving multibillion-dollar claims arising from the foreclosure crisis with the federal government and 49 state attorneys general.
  • Philip Morris USA in the multibillion-dollar arbitration that has arisen under the landmark 1998 settlement between the major tobacco companies and 52 states and territories.  Wachtell Lipton previously had the lead role structuring and negotiating this more than $200 billion settlement.

White-Collar and Regulatory Enforcement.  We have a leading white-collar criminal and regulatory practice.  We have represented major financial institutions and multinational corporations, as well as their boards of directors and senior executives, in a broad range of the most complex and typically high-profile white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters, both nationally and internationally.  In the past few years alone, our litigators have handled both U.S. and foreign governmental investigations focusing on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, criminal tax evasion, criminal transfer pricing, the False Claims Act, insider trading, securities fraud, accounting fraud, criminal antitrust and export control violations.  In addition, we regularly represent boards, audit committees and special committees charged with conducting special investigations in response to whistleblowers or governmental inquiries.

Pro Bono.  We have an active pro bono litigation practice.  Our lawyers are encouraged to take on pro bono matters with the full support of the firm and many take advantage of this opportunity.  A recent representation was on behalf of the Chief Judge of the State of New York in historic litigation over the state’s failure to increase the pay of its judges since 1999.  Our efforts helped achieve a decision by the state’s Court of Appeals holding that, as a matter of state constitutional law, judicial pay cannot be treated as a political matter by the executive and the legislature, but rather must be sufficient to attract well-qualified individuals to serve on the bench.