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Margaret E. Tahyar
Ms. Tahyar is a member of Davis Polk’s Financial Institutions Group. Her practice focuses on providing strategic bank regulatory and financial regulatory reform advice and advising on bank M&A and recapitalizations and capital markets transactions where the target or issuer is a financial institution. She also advises on corporate governance and securities settlement systems and payment systems.

Her clients on the Dodd-Frank Act and its regulatory implementation, including living wills and the Volcker Rule among others, have included leading trade organizations, such as SIFMA and TCH, all of the United States’ six largest banking organizations, and many foreign and regional bank holding companies. 

From 1997 to 2009, Ms. Tahyar worked in the Davis Polk Paris and London offices and frequently advises on the international aspects of transactions and regulatory reform.

Work Highlights

  • SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) in connection with the strategic separation of its loan management, servicing and asset recovery business, known as Navient, from its consumer banking business

  • Sterling Financial Corporation in connection with its $2 billion merger with Umpqua Holdings Corporation

  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. in connection with its $500 million sale of its Puerto Rican operations to Oriental Financial Group Inc.
  • Ameriprise Financial in connections with its sale of its deposits to Barclays and its debanking
  • ABN AMRO on its $21 billion sale of LaSalle Bank and its $101 billion acquisition by a consortium consisting of RBSG, Fortis and Santander
  • Synovus on its capital raise, including an $806 million stock offering and a $345 million offering of tMeds
  • Citi on the international regulatory aspects of the conversion into common stock of up to $58 billion of preferred stock held by the U.S. government and private investors
  • ICICI on all aspects of U.S. securities laws related to its NYSE listing and 144A offerings    

In addition to her full-time practice, Ms. Tahyar has taught as an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Harvard University. In the fall term of 2015, she will co-teach a class with Professor Howell Jackson at Harvard Law School entitled, "Regulation of Financial Institutions."


  • Named one of The National Law Journal's "Outstanding Women Lawyers" in 2015
  • Named a "Banking MVP of the Year" – Law360 2014
Ms. Tahyar is recognized as a leading lawyer in several legal industry publications, including:
  • Chambers Global
  • Chambers Europe
  • Chambers USA 
  • IFLR1000
  • Award Winner, The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement 2009 Distinguished Writing – Law Firm

Of Note

  • Editor, Davis Polk Financial Crisis Manual
  • Co-Author, “Foreign Banks as U.S. Financial Holding Companies” (Chapter 11), Regulation of Foreign Banks and Affiliates in the United States (8th ed.)
  • Co-Author, “That Which We Call a Bank: Revisiting the History of Bank Holding Company Regulation in the United States,” Review of Banking & Financial Law, Vol. 31, 2011-2012
  • Co-Author, “Transparency and Confidentiality in the Post Financial Crisis World – Where to Strike the Balance?” Harvard Business Law Review, Vol. 1, August 2011
  • Co-Author, Credible Living Wills: The First Generation, Davis Polk and McKinsey & Co., April 2011
  • Author of numerous articles and a frequent speaker at conferences
  • Member, Board of Advisors, University of North Carolina Law School’s Center for Banking & Finance
  • Vice Chairman, Banking Law Subcommittee on International Banking, American Bar Association

Professional History

  • Partner, 1997-present
  • Associate, 1989-1997
  • New York office, 2009-present; 1995-1997
  • Paris office, 2002-2009
  • London office, 1997-2002
  • Washington DC office, 1989-1995
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court, 1988-1989
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Robert H. Bork, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, 1987-1988


  • 450 Lexington Avenue
    New York, NY 10017
    P: 212-450-4379
    F: 212-701-5379

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York
  • District of Columbia


  • A.B., University of Michigan, 1982
  • J.D., Columbia Law School, 1987
    • Valedictorian
    • Articles Editor, Columbia Law Review


  • French