Bloomberg Law
March 17, 2023, 1:37 PMUpdated: March 17, 2023, 6:19 PM

Davis Polk Guides Banks’ $30 Billion First Republic Deposits (3)

Meghan Tribe
Meghan Tribe
Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter

Davis Polk & Wardwell advised 11 banks who deposited $30 billion in First Republic, an effort to rescue the regional lender and help stabilize the financial system.

The Wall Street law firm advised Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, Davis Polk said Friday. The banks each deposited $5 billion in the struggling First Republic, said to be teetering after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and New York’s Signature Bank.

Davis Polk also guided Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which made First Republic deposits of $2.5 billion apiece, and BNY Mellon, PNC Bank, State Street, Truist and US Bank, which each deposited $1 billion.

The move is meant to stem the large outflow of uninsured deposits at First Republic in the chaos following the SVB and Signature Bank collapses, the banks said in a statement.

“This show of support by a group of large banks is most welcome, and demonstrates the resilience of the banking system,” the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said in a joint statement.

The Davis Polk team was led by Randall D. Guynn, chair of the firm’s financial institutions practice, and Donald Bernstein, special counsel to the firm’s restructuring practice. Financial institutions partners Margaret Tahyar, Luigi De Ghenghi and Eric McLaughlin, and finance partner James Florack, also advised the banks.

Financial Institutions counsel Ledina Gocaj and associates Andrew Rohrkemper and Zachary Stone were also a part to the team based out Davis Polk’s New York and Washington DC offices.

Sullivan & Cromwell Role

H. Rodgin “Rodge” Cohen, senior chair at Sullivan & Cromwell and a key player for the firm during the 2008 financial crisis, is advising First Republic, the law firm confirmed Friday. Lawyers Catherine Clarkin, Mitch Eitel and Benjamin Weiner also worked on the deposits deal.

First Republic’s most recent annual report listed Sullivan & Cromwell and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer as its primary external legal advisers.

Sullivan & Cromwell is also advising SVB in its bankruptcy. Court filings by SVB show that James Bromley, a partner at the firm who is already representing cryptocurrency exchange FTX in its bankruptcy, has taken the lead for SVB in that matter.

Some of SVB Financial Group’s bondholders banded together and were receiving advice from Davis Polk & Wardwell and PJT Partners, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

The Safe Choice

For matters impacting a company’s public perception and those at the board level, clients increasingly gravitate to firms perceived as a safe choice, said Kent Zimmermann, a law firm management consultant for the Zeughauser Group.

“Kind of like going to the heart surgeon that’s done the exact procedure you need thousands of times with success,” he said.

Cohen was heralded as the “Trauma Surgeon of Wall Street” by the New York Times following the 2008 global financial crisis. He worked on 17 financial deals related to the downturn, including JP Morgan Chase’s purchase of Bear Stearns and the bailout of insurance giant AIG.

Davis Polk & Wardwell also played a central role in working to rescue key financial players and institutions during the 2008 collapse. Guynn led the Davis Polk team that represented Citigroup in negotiating its massive government bailout. The firm also represented the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department in several other bailouts, including its rescue of AIG.

“It’s like having a very good doctor who knows your medical history, risk tolerance, and personality,” said Dan Awrey, a professor at Cornell University Law School. “Once you find them, it’s not clear why you’d ever go anywhere else,” he said.

(Updated with comments from Zimmermann and Awrey.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at; Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at