Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Company History Timeline


John W. Simpson, Thomas Thacher and William M. Barnum organized the firm as "Simpson, Thacher & Barnum" on January 1, 1884, with offices at 9 Pine Street.

As Chester Arthur began his final year in the White House in 1884, three young law clerks embarked on the creation of a new law firm in New York City.

Headquartered in lower Manhattan—paying rent of $150 a month and its first associate a salary of $10 a week—the Firm litigated disputes and guided mergers that marked the consolidation of the railroad industry after the Panic of 1884.


Then, starting in 1885, it spent more time helping railroads that were reorganizing during a period of consolidation of a very fragmented industry.


In 1889, the name was changed to "Reed Simpson Thacher & Barnum" when former United States House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed joined the firm.


The Simpson law firm in 1895 assisted the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in its set-up and acquisition of seven other local gas companies.


Around 1900 the partnership served several companies that eventually became the International Silver Company.


The firm in 1901 helped the Union Bag and Paper Company start up, and it remained a client for many years.

In 1901 the firm also participated in the American Can Company's consolidation and helped found the American Locomotive Company.


Reed died in 1902, and the name was soon changed to Simpson Thacher Barnum & Bartlett.


But after his death, as well as Barnum's retirement, Philip Bartlett became a named party and in 1904, the Firm became known as Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.


A book published on the firm's centennial notes: 'By 1911 the firm represented companies manufacturing or dealing in such varied articles as terra cotta, shoes, shock absorbers, bread, plate glass, tires, and men's clothing.'


The partnership in 1921 helped start one of New York City's first cooperative apartments to meet the increased housing demand as a multitude of immigrants arrived through Ellis Island.


The Stock Market Crash of 1929 dramatically altered the nature of legal business and the Firm's real estate work developed to include portfolio liquidations and reorganizations.


Lowry (1937), a pro bono case in which Seymour vindicated the First Amendment rights of an African-American member of the Communist Party.


Representing Electric Bond and Share Company, the firm challenged the new law's constitutionality, which in 1938 was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.


Starting in 1952, the Simpson law firm played a key role in the early years of developing peaceful uses for atomic energy.

In 1952, Simpson Thacher became general counsel to Manufacturers Trust Company, later renamed Manufacturers Hanover Corporation. "Manny Hanny" grew into a major money center bank—and the Firm grew with it.


In 1953 the firm represented the newly created New York City Transit Authority when it took over facilities formerly operated by New York City.


In 1957, when Partner Ed Weisl became Chief Special Counsel for the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee reviewing the American missile program, he asked his young partner Cyrus Vance to come along.


In 1967 Vance helped mediate an end to the Detroit riots.


In 1969 Simpson Thacher became 'the first major law firm to make an African-American attorney a partner,' according to The Insider's Guide to Law Firms.


The Firm made Eleanor Fox its first woman Partner in 1970.


When he became partner in 1974, Conrad was the Firm's first African-American Partner and one of only two such partners at major law firms in New York City.


In 1976, Simpson Thacher began advising the small, newly-formed Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, building on the relationships developed while its founders were at Firm investment banking clients.


Simpson Thacher began its international expansion in the late 70s, beginning with its London office in 1978.


Stroh's acquisition of Schlitz (1982)


Lowry 'that a black communist could not constitutionally be punished for insurrection when charged with inducing others to become members of the Communist Party,' according to Conrad K. Harper in the law firm's 1984 retrospective.

In 1984 the firm self-published a book to mark its one hundredth anniversary.


Blackstone, another newly formed private equity firm, whose founders had been Firm clients, became a client in 1985.


In 1988, Simpson Thacher, led by longtime chairman Richard Beattie, advised KKR's $25.1 billion acquisition of RJR Nabisco.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was one of the few major law firms, all headquartered in New York, that benefited from the numerous mergers and acquisitions of the 1980s. For example, in 1988 the firm represented investment bank Wasserstein, Perella & Co. that was assisting Philip Morris in a $11.4 bid to take over Kraft.


1989: Firm represent Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company in its $25.3 billion acquisition of RJR Nabisco.

The Firm represented KKR in its celebrated 1989 takeover of RJR Nabisco, at the time the largest LBO ever and the subject of the book and movie Barbarians at the Gate.


1990: The firm's Tokyo office is opened.


Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in the 1990s played a major role in consolidating American banks. For example, in 1991 it represented C & S/Sovran Corporation; Manufacturers Hanover Corporation; First Hawaiian, Inc.; and Norwest Corporation in various deals.


In 1992 the firm's long-term client Manufacturers Hanover merged with Chemical Bank.


The Simpson law firm represented Chemical Banking Corporation when it announced in August 1995 that it was merging with Chase Manhattan Corporation.

Glaxo's acquisition of Wellcome (1995)


According to Simpson Thacher partner Lee Meyerson in the July 1996 Corporate Finance, the merger created 'the largest banking organization in the US (by a wide margin) and one of the largest in the world.'

Meanwhile, the firm opened its Los Angeles office in 1996 to serve the entertainment industry and other clients.


Other examples of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett's M & A work included advising KN Energy Inc. in its 1997 acquisition of gas pipeline company MidCom Corporation from Occidental Petroleum for $3.49 billion.


Exxon's merger with Mobil Corp. (1998)

Seagram in its acquisitions of Universal Studios and Polygram (1998)


In 1999 the partnership opened its Silicon Valley office in Palo Alto, California to serve the growing number of Internet and high-technology businesses.

The American Lawyer in its annual rankings of the nation's highest grossing law firms in 1999 listed Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as number 12 based on the firm's $434 million in 1999 revenue.


As of September 30, 2000, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was ranked second in its M & A work, with its $553.4 billion in deals exceeded by only Sullivan & Cromwell with $753.8 billion.

In 2000 the Simpson firm represented the telecommunications company Global Crossing when it acquired IPC Communications and its subsidiary 1Xnet.

By 2000 the Palo Alto branch had expanded to about 30 lawyers.


Our Washington, D.C., office, which opened in 2005, maintains a litigation and arbitration focus with robust Antitrust, Securities, Investigations and Regulatory Practices.


The 2011 establishment of our Houston office was in direct response to our clients' interest in the energy and oil and gas sectors, particularly from financial institutions, corporate clients and private equity firms.

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Company Founded
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Alden Millard,Atif Azher,David Azarkh,David Azcue,Derek W. Baird,Geoffrey Bailhache,Naveed Anwar,William Allen,John Simpson,Thomas Thacher,William Barnum
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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett History FAQs

How Old Is Simpson Thacher & Bartlett?

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is 139 years old.

Who Is The Founder Of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett?

Alden Millard, Atif Azher, David Azarkh, David Azcue, Derek W. Baird, Geoffrey Bailhache, Naveed Anwar, William Allen, John Simpson, Thomas Thacher and William Barnum founded Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

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