Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
is the oldest continuously-operated law firm
A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers to engage in the practice of law. The primary service rendered by a law firm is to advise clients about their legal rights and responsibilities, and to represent clients in civil or criminal cases, business transactions, and other...
in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. Established in New York City in 1792, Cadwalader opened offices around the world. The firm is highly rated by Chambers and Partners
in the areas of capital markets, bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....
, real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...
, and income tax
Tax law is the codified system of laws that describes government levies on economic transactions, commonly called taxes.-Major issues:Primary taxation issues facing the governments world over include;* taxes on income and wealth...
Founding and History
Cadwalader was founded in 1792 by an orphan, John Wells, in Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York...
. In 1818, Wells established one of the first US law partnerships with George Washington Strong. Upon Wells' death in 1823, Strong asked George Griffin to join him as his partner. This partnership lasted until 1838, when they separated amicably, and Strong entered into a new partnership with Marshall Bidwell
Marshall Spring Bidwell was a lawyer and political figure in Upper Canada.He was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1799, the son of Barnabas Bidwell. His family settled in Bath in Upper Canada before the War of 1812. He studied with a law firm in Kingston and was called to the Ontario Bar in...
. In the same year, Strong's son, George Templeton Strong
George Templeton Strong was an American lawyer and diarist. His 2,250-page diary, discovered in the 1930s, provides a striking personal account of life in the 19th century, especially during the events of the American Civil War...
, joined the firm as a clerk; he became a partner in 1845. When George Washington Strong died in 1855, the firm was renamed Bidwell & Strong by virtue of Bidwell's more senior status, but over the following years it was George Templeton Strong who became the more prominent.
Strong became disillusioned with legal practice toward the end of his life, the final straw being Bidwell's death in late 1872. Strong resigned from the firm at the end of that year, leaving it in the hands of his cousin Charles E. Strong. Charles Strong wished to form a partnership with his friend John Lambert Cadwalader
-Life:John Lambert Cadwalader was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on November 17, 1836. His father was General Thomas McCall Cadwalader .On his paternal side, his grandfather was Lambert Cadwalader and his great-grandfather was Thomas Cadwalader .His mother was Maria Charlotte Gouverneur , who was...
, but this had to wait until 1878, due to Cadwalader's appointment as assistant secretary of state
In modern times, Assistant Secretary of State is a title used for many executive positions in the United States State Department. A set of six Assistant Secretaries reporting to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs manage diplomatic missions within their designated geographic regions, plus one...
Henry W. Taft
Henry Waters Taft was the son of Alphonso and brother of President William Howard Taft.-Biography:He graduated from Yale in 1880 with a BA, where he was a member of Skull and Bones and commencement orator of the class of 1880. Taft also studied at Cincinnati and Columbia Law Schools...
joined the firm in 1889 and became a partner in 1899. His special expertise in antitrust
The United States antitrust law is a body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behavior and unfair business practices. Antitrust laws are intended to encourage competition in the marketplace. These competition laws make illegal certain practices deemed to hurt businesses or consumers or both,...
matters led to his appointment, in 1905, as Special Assistant to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is a federal district court. Appeals from the Southern District of New York are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in case...
, to supervise the government's case against the American Tobacco Company
The American Tobacco Company was a tobacco company founded in 1890 by J. B. Duke through a merger between a number of U.S. tobacco manufacturers including Allen and Ginter and Goodwin & Company...
. He returned to the firm in 1907.
George W. Wickersham
George Woodward Wickersham was an American lawyer and Presidential Cabinet Secretary.-Biography:Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania...
joined the firm in 1883, and became a partner in 1887. In 1909 he was appointed United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...
by President William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...
, brother of Henry W. Taft. When he returned to the firm in 1914 it was renamed Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Strong having died in 1897.
According to a 2009 survey by The American Lawyer
The American Lawyer is a monthly law magazine published by ALM. It was founded in 1979 by Steven Brill. Features include the annual AmLaw 100 Survey and AmLaw 200 Survey , "The View From the Top", their annual poll of law firm chairpersons, and their "Corporate Scorecard"...
, Cadwalader had profits per partner of $2.41 million in 2009, up 28% from 2008. Cadwalader's fortunes suffered in 2008 as its once-booming mortgage-backed securities business, which catapulted it to the top of the profits per partner charts in 2006, dried up in the 2007–2008 credit crisis. In January 2008, Cadwalader was forced to lay off 35 attorneys in its structured finance
Structured finance is a broad term used to describe a sector of finance that was created to help transfer risk and avoid lawsStructured finance is a broad term used to describe a sector of finance that was created to help transfer risk and avoid laws...
department, as it did not have enough business to provide them with work. Then, in July 2008, Cadwalader laid off 96 attorneys in the same practice area for much the same reasons. Furthermore, in January 2009, Cadwalader laid off 11 attorneys. Finally, in July 2009, Cadwalader laid off an additional 34 attorneys.
ranked Cadwalader 33rd in its 2012 list of the 100 most prestigious law firms in the United States.
Names of the firm
During its history, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has been known by a number of names:
- John Wells (1792–1818)
- Wells & Strong (1818–1823)
- Griffin & Strong (1823–1837)
- Griffin, Strong & Griffin (1837–1838)
- Strong & Bidwell (1838–1845)
- Strong, Bidwell & Strong (1845–1855)
- Bidwell & Strong (1855–1873)
- Charles E. Strong (1873–1878)
- Strong & Cadwalader (1878–1914)
- Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (1914–present)
The firm became a limited liability partnership
A limited liability partnership is a partnership in which some or all partners have limited liability. It therefore exhibits elements of partnerships and corporations. In an LLP one partner is not responsible or liable for another partner's misconduct or negligence. This is an important...
- New York City (One World Financial Center
One World Financial Center is a skyscraper in Lower Manhattan, New York City.It is located at 200 Liberty Street between South End Avenue and West Street. It was built in 1985 as part of the World Financial Center complex. It is a 40 story building reaching the height of 577 ft . It has a...
- Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...
- Washington, DC
- Hong Kong