Founded in 1830, Curtis is celebrating its 185th anniversary this year.
Curtis's first female associate, Edna P. Hopkins, was "urgently invited" to become a partner in 1938. Although she declined the invitation, this may well have been the first major New York law firm partnership offer made to any woman.
In 1852, retired New York Court of Appeals judge Samuel A. Foot joined the firm, which was renamed Foot & Curtis during his tenure. Judge Foot was an abolitionist and advisor to President Lincoln who wrote against the Dred Scott opinion.
Frederic K. Seward, Sr., a partner of the firm and great nephew of Secretary of State William Seward, was traveling in Europe on Curtis business in 1912 when he bought a ticket on the Titanic for his return to New York. When the ship hit the iceberg, Seward escaped in lifeboat 7 and later represented third class passengers pro bono in a lawsuit against the White Star Line.
When Ernest A. Gross joined the firm as a partner in 1953, he had already headed the U.S. delegation to the UN, signed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on behalf of the U.S., and was instrumental in the passage of the U.N. resolution committing unequivocal support to South Korea at the start of the Korean War despite Soviet opposition. He would later go on to represent Dag Hammarskjold, challenge South Africa's apartheid policy in court, and assist the Dalai Lama in preparing a constitution for the Tibetan government in exile.
300 attorneys firm-wide
Curtis ranked as the Top Arbitration Firm by The American Lawyer in its bi-annual International Scorecard.
Curtis ranked 6th in The American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard for 2014. The firm ranks 1st in percentage of Hispanic partners and lawyers.