Ex-SDNY judge Katherine Forrest leaves Cravath for Paul Weiss

  • Forrest joins Paul Weiss’ litigation department as a partner
  • She served for seven years as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York

(Reuters) – Katherine Forrest, a former federal judge and senior government antitrust lawyer, has left law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore for New York rival Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the firm said Tuesday.

Forrest joins Paul Weiss as a litigation partner in New York, where she will work on investigations, litigation and trials and criminal and regulatory enforcement defense, the firm said.

She practiced at Cravath before leaving in 2010 for a stint as deputy assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Forrest then served for seven years as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York before returning to the Wall Street law firm in 2018.

Among her high-profile cases while on the bench are the sentencing of Ross Ulbricht, the accused mastermind behind the Silk Road underground website for the sale of illegal drugs, and the sentencing of radical London cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri for his conviction on terrorism-related charges.

In private practice, Forrest’s clients have included Time Warner Cable Inc and its divisions, Warner Music Group Corp, Fenway Sports Group Holdings LLC, Eli Lilly and Co and United Airlines Inc, according to her Paul Weiss online bio.

Katherine Forrest. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison/Handout via REUTERS

Forrest said her move is “not so much about leaving Cravath as it is about joining Paul Weiss,” a firm she said she has long admired and where she plans to further develop her practice.

She cited Paul Weiss’s embrace of tech sector work and said its lawyers’ expertise with crypto, fintech and digital assets aligns well with her interest in artificial intelligence. Forrest said she is eager to work on investigations, antitrust, criminal and regulatory enforcement and defense, and in areas that intertwine with one another like tech and antitrust.

A Cravath spokesperson said the firm wishes her well.

Brad Karp, chairman of Paul Weiss, in a statement called Forrest a “transcendent talent.”

“She is one of our nation’s leading trial lawyers, antitrust litigators and corporate advisers and someone who is at the forefront of the increasingly important intersection of law and technology,” Karp said.

Wall Street law firm Cravath has historically lost few attorneys to rivals, but has seen a handful of lawyers depart in recent years.

Cravath in December 2021 joined other large law firms in adjusting its compensation model, shifting away from a strictly seniority-based system for partner pay in favor of a so-called modified lockstep structure that allows firms to consider partners’ contributions in addition to their tenure.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Sara Merken

Thomson Reuters

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com

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