Whatever Became of WASP Law Firms and Investment Banks?
“In many of those law firms, Jewish partners displaced the old WASP partners in the late 1970’s to 80’s, a development that seemed anodyne at the time but with ominous consequences that are now becoming fully visible. Moreover, the important clients of these firms became more Jewish. As late as 1985, half of all M&A transactions were processed through traditionalist WASP Morgan Stanley & Co, Incorporated, the most elite investment bank in the U.S. with very few Jewish partners. Morgan Stanley and its sister commercial bank, J.P. Morgan, were the two principal clients of Davis Polk in those years. In addition, there were a number of other WASP investment banks — though with some Jewish partners — with very high prestige: First Boston, Kidder Peabody, Paine Webber, etc. Those non-Jewish investment banks — together with the Jewish Goldman Sachs — plus firmly “all American” firms like Exxon, were the principal clients of Sullivan Cromwell. Cravath, generally more on the issuer side than the investment banking side, had principal clients such as non-Jewish IBM, General Electric, and such like. No more. Morgan is still a big player but for many years was overshadowed by the much more famous Goldman Sachs, and the other WASP firms have all vanished in bankruptcies or sell-outs. So not only are the most powerful partners of these law firms principally Jewish, their clients are too. For instance, one of the signatories, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett arguably has become slightly less Jewish-dominated than it was in the mid 1980’s, being headed by non-Jewish Richard Beattie and a number of non-Jewish administrative partners. However, Beattie’s principal clients are Jewish-owned KKR and Blackstone. In addition, many of the most prominent clients today are small, but incredibly lucrative hedge funds, probably more than half of which are run by their original founding entrepreneurial Jews, such as Apollo (Leon Black of Drexel fame), KKR (mentioned above), Blackstone (Steve Schwarzman), and a host of others, last but not least including Pershing Capital, owned and run by infamous Bill Ackman.”