1920-1921: Within a 12-month period, Stetson and name partners Frederic B. Jennings and Charles H. Russell all die. At the urging of Wardwell, the firm brings in as partners Davis and Polk, with Davis assuming the role of senior partner. Davis had recently been the U.S. ambassador in London, while Polk had been the head of the American delegation to the Paris peace conference following World War I.

1923: In the wake of the disastrous Tokyo earthquake of 1923, the firm advises J.P. Morgan & Co. on Japanese financings.

1924: Davis is nominated as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency and resigns from the firm. After his election loss to Calvin Coolidge, he rejoins.

1925: The firm becomes Davis Polk Wardwell Gardiner & Reed, with existing partners George H. Gardiner and Lansing P. Reed also added as name partners.

1926: Wardwell, who had long been involved with the Legal Aid Society, becomes its president, a role he would hold for a decade.

1926: Recognizing that the firm needs expertise in taxes to complement its other work, Davis asks Montgomery Angell to concentrate in that area.

1927: The firm helps to create the American depositary receipt, one of the earliest important cross-border financial products.