The term ‘white shoe’ has fallen out of favour. Used to describe law firms populated with America’s erudite Ivy League-schooled upper crust, a white shoe firm embodied everything that one associated with the very best of the U.S.’s legal profession: a postmodern skyscraper on a salubrious Manhattan avenue, polished mahogany desks, panoramic views of Central Park. Distinctly New York in nature. Limited interests overseas.
Cravath Swaine & Moore. Sullivan & Cromwell. Davis Polk & Wardwell. Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Over generations, these firms have built extraordinarily profitable practices, established on lean partnerships and a plinth of sturdy relationships with the top investment banks and blue chip companies.