A global law firm with 23 offices across the world, the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is one of the most respected names in the industry. A law firm that is an ideal representative of 'big law,' Skadden has been at the No. 1 rank on the AmLaw 100 list of highest-grossing law firms at least 20 times. Skadden has broken the revenue records many times and in 2008, became one of six law firms worldwide to have ever broken the $2 billion barrier grossing annual revenue of $2.2 billion. Skadden continues to top the charts in almost any industry related list that bears on law firms and practice.
Skadden was founded in 1948 in New York by Marshal Skadden, John Slate and Les Arps. In 1954, Joseph Flom joined the firm as a partner followed by Bill Meagher in 1959. Subsequently, in 1961, the firm became known as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The firm has always been keen on diversity and hired its first female lawyer, Elizabeth Head in 1959.
The firm opened its second office in 1973, in Boston. In 1981, Peggy Kerr became the first female partner at Skadden, and in 1985 it became one of the three largest law firms of U.S. The firm started its international expansion in the 1980s, opening its first international office in Tokyo in 1987.
Areas of practice
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Anti-Bribery and FCPA Compliance and Defense
Antitrust and Competition
Appellate Litigation and Legal Issues
Biological and Chemical Technology Diligence and Transactions
Class Action Litigation
Consumer Financial Services Enforcement and Litigation
Derivative Financial Products
Commodities and Futures
Derivatives Regulatory and Litigation
Energy and Infrastructure Projects
Energy Regulation and Litigation
European Union/International Competition
Executive Compensation and Benefits
Exempt and Nonprofit Organizations
False Claims Act Defense
Financial Institutions Regulation and Enforcement
Global Policy and Litigation Strategy
Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime
Health Care and Life Sciences
Information Technology and E-Commerce
Intellectual Property and Technology
International Litigation and Arbitration
Labor and Employment Law
Mass Torts and Insurance Litigation
Media and Entertainment
Mergers and Acquisitions
Patent and Technology Litigation and Counseling
Biotechnology and Medical Device Licensing
Securities Enforcement and Compliance
Tax Controversy and Litigation
and Advertising Litigation and Counseling
Trusts and Estates
UCC and Secured Transactions
Utilities Mergers and Acquisitions
Skadden has won several major victories for its clients in the corporate sector. It was instrumental in securing rescue for the CIT Group during the 2008 financial crises, by arranging for the largest prepackaged bankruptcy solicitation till date.
Skadden has also secured a win for its client, Fresh Del Monte Produce in April 2012 against Del Monte Foods Co. At the end of the two-week trial, the jury found that the company had the exclusive right under the parties' contract to use the Del Monte trademark on certain refrigerated preserved fruit. The company also got a verdict in its favor in five out of six Lanham Act false advertising claims against Del Monte Foods'.
Skadden represented Sprint Nextel Corp. when the company opposed AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile USA Inc. AT&T later dropped the proposed deal after the Department of Justice, FCC and some state attorney generals got involved.
Skadden has been chosen to represent the newest country in the world - Republic of South Sudan, in its negotiations with the Republic of Sudan over the former's oil sector. The firm is also helping South Sudan in creating arrangements with international oil companies over production and transportation issues.
Awards and recognitions
This March, in one of its latest recognitions, Skadden was selected as Chambers Global's Law Firm of the Year: USA. Also in March, 2012, Skadden was honored by the Global Arbitration Review. In February, 2012, Skadden was named Asia-Pacific '2012 Client Service Firm of the Year' by Chambers. The Awards and Recognitions list of Skadden is nearly endless, but some that require mention includes: Being ranked the 6th largest US law firm in 2010 by the National Law Journal, and being selected consecutively for the past six years as the best corporate law firm in the U.S. by Corporate Board Member magazine and FTI Consulting.
Like other top law firms, Skadden places importance on grades, but a lot remains after that. While school pedigree and grades are the beginning of trying to put your foot into Skadden, they can only ensure a call back. Personality, social interaction skills, mindset, and alignment of interests with firm requirements spell the difference between getting hired at Skadden or not. The Skadden hiring motto seems to be asking "everyone's got high grades and they are all smart and hard-working, what makes you different?" From insider experiences, Skadden goes for people who are team workers and have charisma, even if they are not toppers at their school.
As a truly global law firm Skadden strongly focuses on nursing diversity and has a Diversity Committee in place. Associates and attorneys serve on the Attorney Diversity Committee which works with the firm's principal Diversity Committee to create programs and projects for recruitment, development, and community involvement of attorneys.
Skadden and the City College of New York have created a program called the The Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Honors Program in Legal Studies to help talented students of diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Summer associate program
Skadden does a lot of on-campus recruitment and works with law school affinity groups to assess and recruit talent. In the U.S., Skadden runs programs and projects targeted at the student community conjointly with organizations like Asian Pacific American Law Students Associations, Black Law Students Associations, Latino Law Students Associations, OUTLaws (for LGBT students) and Women's Law Students Associations. The Skadden 1L Scholars Program, to be launched in New York, summer 2012 would be starting a paid internship for law students from diverse backgrounds.
Salary & benefits
Skadden Arps pays associates of every graduating class at the top of the market. The starting salary is $160,000. All offices in the United States have the same pay scale. Skadden Arps's profits per equity partner in 2009 - the most recent year for which data are available - were $2,160,000, placing the firm in the 88th percentile.
401(k)/IRA/Other Retirement Plan
Bar Association Fees
Business Casual Dress Code
Domestic Partner Benefits
Employee Assistance Program
Family/Dependent Care Leave
Flexible Spending Account/Pre-Tax Option
Health Club Membership
Long-term Disability Insurance
On-site Child Care - Emergency
Short-term Disability Insurance
Technology (Laptop, PDA, etc.)
Benefits Package: These benefits are provided in most of our offices. Providing our attorneys with work/life resources to aid them in meeting professional and personal commitments is another significant component of our efforts in this area. In addition to the Flexible Return from Maternity (FRM) program, we also offer: backup childcare and eldercare options, domestic partner health benefits, parental leave, a reduced-hours program, a mothers' room for nursing mothers and lunches for attorneys with children to share parenting ideas. Skadden also developed the Sidebar program, which allows attorneys in good standing to leave the firm for up to three years (more than the six-month maximum permitted under a leave of absence), with the expectation that they will return to the firm at the end of that period consistent with the needs of the firm and their department. The firm expects and encourages Sidebar participants to remain connected with us, for example, by attending certain meetings and networking events, and continuing legal education programs. For more information, please visit skadden.com/diversity.
Working for the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
According to number of attorneys Skadden is the tenth largest law firm in the world, the sixth largest in the United States and the second largest in the city of New York. It has almost 1900 attorneys spread across 23 offices.
Skadden has its own corporate culture, and in a serious departure from overnight big law firms, Skadden has never acquired a practice group larger than six attorneys. It stays away from big mergers and depends upon growth from within the firm rather than upon growth hired by large mergers. The policy seems curious to many given that mergers & acquisitions is the biggest practice area of Skadden.
At Skadden, there is a strong focus on the development of internal human resources and the firm provides mentoring programs, training seminars and lectures to develop and assimilate incoming associates and attorneys.
Skadden's extreme focus on talent development and retention can be seen from its strategies and programs like 'Sidebar.' The 'Sidebar' program allows attorneys in good standing with the firm to leave the firm for up to three years, allowed to continue attending firm programs such as networking and legal seminars, and return within three years to their respective departments.
It is difficult to visualize such extreme focus on talent retention as the Sidebar Plus program at Skadden. Under the program, associates can leave the firm for a year to go for public interest or other opportunities while continuing to receive one-third of their base salary, student loan payments and reimbursements of COBRA payments.
Skadden is a charter signatory to the American Bar Association Pro Bono Challenge with pledges to commit attorney time equivalent to minimum three percent of the firm's billable hours in pro bono matters. Skadden also operates two externships, one with the Lawyers Alliance for New York and the other with the Legal Aid Society's Community Law Office. The externships operate on a rotating basis.
Skadden has always been committed to Pro bono work. Even from the founding days of the law firm, founding partners like Les Arps and Joe Floms had been associated with public service. From the 80s, Skadden has a senior lawyer devote a big part of his time only on coordinating the pro bono efforts of the firm. Skadden offices in New York and Washington D.C. provide small non-profits and low-income individuals with attorneys on a rotating basis. In addition to pro bono work Skadden also supports charitable endeavors and remains active on civic and community boards and institutions.
The Skadden Fellowship Foundation provides at least 25 two-year fellowships each year to talented young attorneys for full time pursuance of public interest law. The Financial Times ranked Skadden in the top tier of the Responsible Business Category in its 2010 "U.S. Innovative Lawyers" report.
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