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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, known as Davis Polk, is an international law firm, employing over 900 attorneys worldwide, with its headquarters in New York City. The firm represents many of the worlds largest companies and financial institutions, and is best known for its corporate and litigation practices. It is consistently ranked as one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. The starting salary for first-year associates is $180,000. The firm traces its origins to Gunthrie, Bangs & Van Sinderen, founded in 1849 by Francis S. Bangs, an opponent of Tammany Hall. The firm changed its name several times to account for new partners, using names such as Bangs, Stetson, Tracy, and McVeigh and Stetson, Jennings & Russell. Among other high-profile lawyers, Grover Cleveland served as a member of the firm during the interval between his two non-consecutive presidential terms. Davis Polk was located at 15 Broad Street from around 1889 until 1959. The firm takes its current name from three 20th century partners: John W. Davis, Frank Polk, and Allen Wardwell. Davis, a former U.S. Solicitor General and the 1924 Democratic presidential nominee, made 139 oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court, most infamously in Brown v. Board of Education, in which he represented South Carolina in defense of racial segregation. With Polk and Wardwell, Davis developed close ties between the firm and the J.P. Morgan companies, as well as the Guaranty Trust Company, the Associated Press, and International Paper.
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