This is the story of how and why such powerhouse Wall Street law firms as Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Sullivan & Cromwell, grew from nineteenth-century entrepreneurial origins into icons of institutional law practice; how, as white-shoe bastions with the social standards of an exclusive gentlemen’s club, they promoted the values of an east coast elite; and how they adapted to a radically changed legal world, surviving snobbish insularity and ferocious competition to remain at the pinnacle of a transformed profession.
It is no accident these firms are found in New York, the largest city in the world’s largest economy and also the nation’s largest port, principal banking center, and epicenter of industry. At the dawn of the twentieth century, linked by canals, railroads, telegraph and telephone lines, transatlantic steamships and undersea cables, New York became the economic nerve center of the United States. It also wielded formidable political power and supplied every President or Vice President of the United States between the Civil War and the Great War.
Jeremiah D. Lambert, a nationally recognized lawyer who has advised clients in the electricity and natural gas industries, also served as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Global Crossing Ltd. during that company’s Chapter 11 reorganization and thereafter as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of its post-bankruptcy successor. Mr. Lambert is the author of The Power Brokers, a narrative history of the electric utility industry in the United States published by MIT Press in 2015, How Deregulation Went Wrong (PennWell 2006), and Creating Competitive Power Markets: the PJM Model (PennWell 2001), among other books and publications. Mr. Lambert, a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars, commenced his legal career in New York City as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and later practiced as a co-founder of Peabody, Lambert & Meyers in Washington, D.C. and as a partner in several national firms. He is a graduate of Princeton University, a former Fulbright Scholar, and a graduate of Yale Law School. He is married to Sanda Kayden Lambert and resides in Palm Beach, Florida.
Geoffrey S. Stewart is a Washington-based lawyer who handles complex commercial and international litigation. He attended Brown University, where he received his A.B. (Honors) and A.M degrees in European history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Stewart received his legal training at Harvard Law School and began his legal career at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and Washington, D.C. He served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy in 1982-83 and was Associate Counsel to the Office of Independent Counsel Iran/Contra from 1987 to 1991. Mr. Stewart was a partner of the firm Hale and Dorr from 1986 to 1999 and a partner of the firm Jones Day from 1999 to 2018. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife, Sandra Baker, who for many years produced the Diane Rehm Show, syndicated on National Public Radio.