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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett logo.gif
Headquarters New York (NY)
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Number of Offices 11 total, 6 international
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Number of attorneys 890
Practice Areas General practice
Key People (?)
Annual Revenue $US$
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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Pay Scale
(all numbers in thousands of dollars)
First year salary180
Second year salary190
Third year salary210
Fourth year salary235
Fifth year salary260
Sixth year salary280
Seventh year salary300
Eighth year salary315
Ninth year salary
Tenth year salary

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP[1] is an international law firm headquartered in New York City, employing over 900 attorneys in eleven offices worldwide.[2] The firm specializes in a variety of areas in both litigation and corporate practices, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions. It is among the most profitable large law firms in the world on a per-partner basis according to the American Lawyer’s annual AmLaw 100 Survey.[3] Simpson Thacher had a gross revenue of approximately $1.25 billion in 2014 with an estimated profits per partner of $3,485,000.[3]

The firm has relationships with private equity firms Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Hellman & Friedman and Silver Lake Partners, and it has longstanding ties to JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and the United States Department of the Treasury.[4] Other notable clients include the Alibaba Group,[5][6] Goldman Sachs,[7] Toronto-Dominion Bank,[8] Microsoft,[9] Tesla Motors,[10] Sirius Satellite Radio,[11] Google[12] and Facebook.[13] The firm has represented the buyer in the five largest completed buyouts in history.[14]

The firm is also consistently deemed by a number of rankings and surveys as one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation, including AboveTheLaw,[15] Vault 100,[16] and Forbes.[17]


John W. Simpson, Thomas Thacher and William M. Barnum organized the firm as "Simpson, Thacher & Barnum" on January 1, 1884, with offices at 9 Pine Street.[18] The three were formerly law clerks at the old-line firm Alexander & Green. The first associate salary was ten dollars, and the first retainer fee was fifty dollars.[18] In 1889, the name was changed to "Reed Simpson Thacher & Barnum" when former U.S. House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed joined the firm. Reed died in 1902, and the name was soon changed to Simpson Thacher Barnum & Bartlett. The final change came in 1904 when it was amended to its current name of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

From its original location at 9 Pine Street, the firm has operated at many offices throughout New York City until finally settling at its present location at 425 Lexington Avenue opposite Grand Central Terminal. The firm opened its Los Angeles office in 1996, Palo Alto in 1999 and in Washington, D.C. in 2005. Simpson Thacher began its international expansion in the late 70s, beginning with its London office in 1978. Since then, Simpson Thacher has expanded to Tokyo (1990), Hong Kong (1993), Beijing (2007), São Paulo (2009), and Seoul (2012).[19]

In 1988, Simpson Thacher, led by longtime chairman Richard Beattie, advised KKR's $25.1 billion acquisition of RJR Nabisco.[20][21] It was, at the time, the largest-ever private-equity purchase in history, the details of which are memorialized in the book "Barbarians at the Gate."[21]

Since opening in 1999,[22] the Palo Alto office has experienced remarkable growth in both size and prominence.[23] The Palo Alto branch is now the firm's second largest office and has come to represent some of Silicon Valley's most distinguished tech titans and private equity firms, playing a hand in a string of record breaking transactions.[24]

  • In 2004, Simpson Thacher represented the underwriters in Google's $2.7 billion IPO,[25] the largest technology IPO at the time.[26] More recently, the firm has represented Google in its $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube.[27]
  • In 2010, the firm represented Tesla Motors in its IPO, the first IPO of a new U.S. car company since Ford Motor Co. in 1956.[28]
  • In 2012, Simpson Thacher "helped launch Facebook, Inc."[29] in assisting the underwriters in Facebook's $16 billion IPO, at the time the largest technology offering ever and their third-largest IPO in U.S. history.[30]
  • In 2014, the firm set a new record in its representation of Alibaba Group Holding Limited in its initial public offering, the largest IPO ever to be conducted.[31] The record-breaking IPO raised $25 billion, ending its first day of trading with a market capitalization of $231 billion.[32] For this work, the firm was awarded "Global Final Deals of the Year" Award,[33] and Corporate Partners Leiming Chen (Hong Kong) and Bill Hinman (Palo Alto) were each recognized as "Deal Makers of the Year" by the American Lawyer.[34]
  • In 2016, the firm represented Microsoft in its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.[35]

Notable alumni

Simpson Thacher lawyers have included U.S. Senators, Solicitors General, a Speaker of the House of Representatives, a Secretary of State, a Secretary of the Army, Ambassadors, Judges on U.S. Circuit and District Courts and the New York State Court of Appeals, presidents of the American Bar Association, and presidents of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.


  • Guido Calabresi (Summer Associate) - Senior Circuit Court Judge, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Thomas D. Thacher - Former District Court Judge, Southern District of New York.
  • Dennis G. Jacobs - Circuit Court Judge and Former Chief Judge, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Eric Vitaliano - District Court Judge, Eastern District of New York.
  • Mary Kay Vyskocil, Bankruptcy Judge, Southern District of New York.


  • Cyrus Vance - Former United States Secretary of State, Secretary of the Army and the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
  • Thomas D. Thacher - Former Solicitor General of the United States.
  • Dwight Morrow - Former United States Senator, New Jersey.
  • Thomas Brackett Reed - Former Speaker of the House, United States House of Representatives.
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter - Former Director of Policy Planning, United States State Department.


  • Suzanne Nora Johnson - Former Vice Chairmen, Goldman Sachs.
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter - President and CEO, New America Foundation.
  • Lynn Forester de Rothschild - CEO of E.L. Rothschild.
  • Alan D. Schnitzer - Vice Chairmen and CEO, The Travelers Companies, Inc.
  • John Finley - Senior Managing Director & Chief Legal Officer, The Blackstone Group.[36]
  • Robert L. Friedman - Former Senior Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer, The Blackstone Group.[37]
  • Jeffrey Schmidt - Senior Legal Counsel, Apple Inc.[38]


  • Guido Calabresi - Former Dean, Yale Law School
  • Karenna Gore Schiff - Author, journalist and Director of the Union Theological Seminary.
  • John Finley - Advisory Board Member, Harvard Law School.[36]
  • David Sorkin - General Counsel, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.[39]


  • Thomas D. Thacher - Former President, Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
  • Whitney North Seymour - Former President, American Bar Association, Legal Aid Society, and New York City Bar Association.

Associate compensation

In 2007, Simpson Thacher led the market[40] by raising the base salary for first-year associates to $160,000 per year.[41] In the process, it established the market salary for all of its peer firms in New York City.[42] Simpson Thacher again led the market in 2014 when it raised associate bonuses by as much as $40,000,[43] matched within hours by other New York elite firms Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.[44]

In 2016, law firm Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP beat the "Simpson salary scale" for the first time in nearly a decade with a 12.5% increase in associate base salary, a move that was promptly matched by Simpson Thacher and other large law firms. As of July 1, 2016, the base salary for first-year Simpson Thacher associates begin at $180,000.[45][46]

Rankings and awards

Simpson Thacher is consistently among the most profitable large law firms in the world on a per-partner basis according to the American Lawyer’s annual AmLaw 100 Survey. The firm is also recognized in various other surveys, including’s 2010 review of the 20 Best Law Firms to Work For.


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  40. Chambers Firm Profile
  41. Anthony Lin, Simpson Hikes Pay; First Years Go to $160,000, New York Law Journal, January 23, 2007
  42. Chambers-Associate Firm Profile
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External links