Back in March, we reported on stealth layoffs at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Stealth layoffs are usually seen as an effort to maintain high attorney utilization rates — and high partner profits. But at genteel, WASPy DPW, long known for its passive-aggressive kinder and gentler firm culture, profits come second to pulchritude.

Everything is beautiful at 450 Lexington — the offices, the stationery, and yes, the attorneys. DPW has long been known for hiring based on beauty as well as brains. So we suspect that their recent stealth layoffs were just an “office beautification” project: lay off the less attractive associates, to increase the average hotness of the remaining lawyers. (Lord only knows what the denizens of the recently closed Frankfurt office looked like.)

A few years ago, we wrote about Davis Polk’s reputation for hiring aesthetically appealing attorneys in the New York Observer:

Bar Belles: According to Rob, a 2L at NYU, one firm that’s in demand this season is Davis Polk & Wardwell. Why? “I’ve heard they have good-looking associates.”

Some things never change. When I interviewed a decade ago, Davis was already known as a bastion of beauty on aesthetically challenged Lexington Avenue. It was the firm of choice for the prom queen and king of my law school class — the editor in chief of the law journal, a luminous doll-like beauty with a vast family fortune, and her Abercrombie-handsome future husband. They were joined at Davis by enough comely Asian females to cast Memoirs of a Geisha.

And hotness matters more at Davis Polk these days, now that their redesigned website features attorney photos (for some, but not all, of the lawyers — perhaps it was an “opt in” regime?). From an observant tipster:

Have you noticed that Davis Polk’s new website has pictures of attorneys? Weren’t they once afraid of stalkers? Glad they’ve gotten over that. Or perhaps their associate corps is simply uglier now.

We think not. If you visit the Davis Polk — er, DavisPolk — website, and surf through the attorney profiles, you’ll still find hotties to spare.

Evidence of hotness, plus additional analysis, after the jump.

We do recall the stalker rumor mentioned by our tipster. The word on the street — possibly apocryphal, so email us if you know the truth — is that DPW’s website used to have attorney headshots, years ago. They were supposedly pulled from the site, after the firm’s many luscious lawyers — especially the ladies — started attracting stalkers.

Now that photos of DPW lawyers are back on the firm the website, the hotness of their attorneys can be verified. Although the firm is home to many gorgeous gals — check out a few random profiles, and you’ll see what we mean — we will confine our remarks to male lawyers at DPW, to avoid accusations of sexism. Also, we enjoy looking at the menz more.

As you can see from checking out a few headshots, the Men of Davis Polk — someone should put together a calendar! — are quite attractive (especially by lawyer standards). They are exceptionally well-groomed, evidencing intimate familiarity with hair product and eyebrow management.

Let’s pick our a random letter of the alphabet — say, the letter “F” — and check out the male associates and law clerks at Davis Polk. (Partners get a pass, ’cause they’re old.) If you scroll through the photos, you’ll be exposed to many varieties of hotness: preppy hot and nerdy hot [new link] and junior high school hot.

If you view the “F” lawyers as a non-representative sample, check out the associates and law clerks listed under the letter “P.” You’ll encounter quirky hot, and skinny hot, and Clark Kent hot, and tax lawyer hot, and double Harvard hot. Someone bring us an electric fan!

We reached out to Davis Polk, which through a spokesperson declined to comment on its revamped homepage. Perhaps DPW viewed comment as superfluous, since a picture — or many pictures, of attractive attorneys, on the internet — is worth a thousand words.

Polish Those Portfolios! Legal Eaglets Seek Their Nests [New York Observer]