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After 25 years, Cravath loses top deal lawyer Barshay to Paul Weiss

A firm rarely to lose its senior talent, Wall Street firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore‘s corporate partner Scott Barshay is leaving the prestigious firm to join disputes leader Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as its global head of M&A.

Barshay, who comes cited amongst some of the most prominent M&A lawyers in the US, leaves Cravath after 25 years having joined in 1991 and being elected to its partnership in 1998.

Having spent his entire career at Cravath, in his new role Barshay will focus on advising clients on M&A, activist defence and corporate governance.

Some of Barshay’s recent high-profile M&A transactions in the past year include advising 3G Capital and H.J. Heinz in the $60bn Kraft-Heinz merger; representing Anheuser-Busch InBev in its $107bn acquisition of SABMiller; advising Cameron International in its $15bn sale to Schlumberger and acting for Honeywell in its $90bn proposal to acquire United Technologies; and representing Starwood Hotels in its contested pending $13.6bn sale to Marriott International.

Some of Barshay’s recent activist defence representations include advising Avon in its settlement agreement with Barington Capital; acting for Qualcomm in the accumulation of more than $2.5 billion of Qualcomm’s stock by JANA Partners; and advising Xerox in the accumulation of more than 7% of Xerox’s stock by US business magnate Carl Icahn and subsequent separation into two public companies.

‘The breadth and depth of Scott’s practice perfectly complement our firm,’ said Robert Schumer, chair of Paul Weiss’s corporate department. ‘Our clients worldwide will benefit from Scott’s unparalleled expertise in public M&A representation and board-level strategic counsel.’

The move of M&A star lawyers is rare within the elite band of American corporate law, but the exit is Cravath’s third in recent years after Sarkis Jebejian left the firm in 2012 for Kirkland & Ellis, a year after James Woolery left to co-head JPMorgan Chase & Co’s M&A practice for North America.

Paul Weiss’ revenues were up 7% in 2015 to $1.1bn from $1bn the previous year in what was the firm’s 16th year of record-breaking growth having broken the billion dollar barrier last year.

Subscribers can more about Wall Street’s elite firms in the feature: ‘The conservation game – up close with New York’s original inner circle’