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Public Service Tradition

Cravath attorneys have a long and distinguished history of service to the governments of the United States, the State of New York and the City of New York.

Beginning with two of our Firm’s founders, William H. Seward and Richard M. Blatchford, Cravath attorneys have served in important roles in the government during some of the most significant and challenging times and have served as advisors to some of the country’s most prominent leaders. The following lists just a few.

William H. Seward
Richard M. Blatchford
John J. McCloy
Alfred McCormack
Bruce D. Bromley
Roswell L. Gilpatric
Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr.
Robert D. Joffe
John W. White
Timothy G. Massad
Patricia M. Geoghegan
Katherine B. Forrest
Christine A. Varney
David J. Kappos
John D. Buretta
Rowan D Wilson
William O. Douglas
Deborah A. Batts
Valerie E. Caproni
LaShann DeArcy Hall
John T. Elfvin
John Gleeson
Elizabeth S. Stong

William H. Seward served as President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, served in the New York State Senate and U.S. Senate and was Governor of New York.

Richard M. Blatchford served in the Lincoln Administration as Minister‑Resident to the States of the Church, in which he functioned as the country’s Ambassador to the Vatican. During the Civil War, he was a member of the Union Defense Committee which assisted the Government in various ways throughout the war, including raising New York’s quota of 13,000 troops and procuring a loan by New York City of $1 million for the defense of the Union. He was also appointed by the Lincoln Administration to provisional committees for the War, Navy and Treasury Departments, which were charged with the purchase, charter and arming of ships, the raising of troops and supplies, in addition to the expenditure of public money.

John J. McCloy was a partner at Cravath until his appointment as Assistant to the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, in 1940. He was a key advisor to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman during World War II and, after the war, served as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany—essentially governing West Germany in the post‑war era. He later advised President Eisenhower on arms control and President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mr. McCloy served on the Warren Commission, investigating President Kennedy’s assassination, and served as consultant to President Johnson on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He also worked closely with Presidents Nixon and Ford.

Alfred McCormack, a partner at Cravath, served as Deputy Chief of the Special Branch in the Military Intelligence Service of the U.S. War Department, and later as Director of Intelligence of the Military Intelligence Service. In 1945, he was appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary of State.

Bruce D. Bromley, a litigation partner at Cravath, was an Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals from February 1, 1949 to December 31, 1949.

Roswell L. Gilpatric, who served as Presiding Partner of the Firm from 1966 to 1977, served in the 1950s as Assistant Secretary and subsequently Under Secretary of the Air Force during the Truman Administration. In the early 1960s, he was Deputy Secretary of Defense under President Kennedy. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Mr. Gilpatric played a key role as a member of President Kennedy’s Executive Committee of the National Security Council. In a piece written about the crisis, Robert Kennedy described how much President Kennedy respected Mr. Gilpatric’s “calm judgment” in the face of this serious emergency.

Frederick (“Fritz”) A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Litigation Senior Counsel, served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activity during the 1970s. This committee investigated alleged abuse of power and violations of intelligence laws during the Cold War. In the 1980s, he served as Corporation Counsel and Head of the Law Department of New York City during the Koch Administration.

Robert D. Joffe, the Firm’s Presiding Partner from 1999 to 2006, left the Firm as an associate to serve in the Ministry of Justice to the Government of Malawi, where he helped rewrite the country’s laws and institute a framework for supervision of the local courts.

John W. White, a corporate partner, left the Firm after 25 years of partnership to serve as Director of the Division of Corporation Finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission. From March 2006 to December 2008, he led the Division through one of the most significant and prolific rulemaking periods of its history. In January 2009, Mr. White returned to the Firm, where he is currently Chair of the Corporate Governance and Board Advisory practice.

Timothy G. Massad, a former corporate partner, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2014 as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He previously served as a special legal advisor to the Congressional Oversight Panel created under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. In 2009, after briefly returning to the Firm, he was called back to serve in the Department of the Treasury as the Chief Counsel for the Office of Financial Stability, which runs the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Mr. Massad also previously held the post of Acting Head of the Office of Financial Stability.

Patricia M. Geoghegan, a former tax partner, also serves in the Treasury Department as the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation.

Katherine B. Forrest, a litigation partner, left the Firm after 20 years to serve as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice in October 2010. In October 2011, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In September 2018, Ms. Forrest rejoined the Firm as a partner.

Christine A. Varney, an antitrust partner who joined the Firm in 2011, is the only person to have served both as head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. She served as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from April 2009 through July 2011 and served as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission from October 1994 through August 1997.

David J. Kappos, an intellectual property partner, joined the Firm after serving as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from August 2009 to January 2013. In that role, he advised the President, Secretary of Commerce and the Administration on intellectual property policy matters. As Director of the USPTO, he led the Agency in dramatically reengineering its entire management and operational systems and was instrumental in the passage and implementation of the Leahy‑Smith America Invents Act.

John D. Buretta, a litigation partner, served for 11 years in the Department of Justice. Prior to rejoining the Firm in November 2013, he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff, the number‑two ranking official in the Department’s Criminal Division. Before that, he was Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, where he supervised the Division’s Fraud Section, including its FCPA unit, and oversaw the creation of A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and numerous corporate criminal investigations. Prior to joining the Criminal Division, he spent eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, including as Chief of the Office’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.

Rowan D. Wilson, a former litigation partner, was confirmed by the New York State Senate as an Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, in February 2017. He is one of the country’s leading litigators, with extensive experience in complex commercial litigation. As the partner who oversaw the Firm’s pro bono work, Judge Wilson has been a strong advocate for the expansion of civil rights. He served as Chair of the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem for over 20 years and is a board member of Wide Horizons for Children.

Other Cravath attorneys who have gone on to become judges include: the late William O. Douglas (the longest serving Justice in the history of the United States Supreme Court); Deborah A. Batts (U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York); Valerie E. Caproni (U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York); LaShann DeArcy Hall (U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York); the late John T. Elfvin (U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York); John Gleeson (former U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York); and Elizabeth S. Stong (U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York).

Our distinguished history of public service underscores our reputation for excellence. We are extraordinarily proud of the long line of Cravath attorneys who, when called by the nation, state or city during times of need, served their governments dutifully.