Margaret E. Tahyar
  1. Partner

Ms. Tahyar is a partner in Davis Polk’s Financial Institutions Group and a member of the fintech practice. Her practice focuses on providing strategic bank and financial regulatory advice. She advises banks, financial institutions and technology companies engaging in all types of deals and cases in traditional and cutting-edge financial regulatory topics, including corporate governance and supervisory relationships with regulated boards, bank chartering, payment systems, bank powers and activities, recovery and resolution planning, securities disclosure, capital and liquidity, cybersecurity and data privacy and attorney client privilege in the banking sector.

Ms. Tahyar has been engaged in financial services advice and regulatory reform since the early 1990s. Her clients include many of the largest domestic and foreign financial institutions, many regional banks and technology companies. Ms. Tahyar has worked on almost two dozen living wills for clients ranging from the largest and most complex organizations to smaller regional banks. 

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.

In addition to her full-time practice, she teaches financial regulation as an adjunct Lecturer-in-Law at Harvard Law School and is a co-author of Financial Regulation: Law and Policy (2nd ed., Foundation Press), the leading textbook for law students in the area.

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
  • RBS in connection with the global criminal and regulatory FX matters
  • 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.
  • A financial services company in connections with the sale of its deposits business and its debanking
  • 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 Law School and Harvard Law School.


Ms. Tahyar is a recognized leader in the legal industry:

  • The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement  "Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award," 2020
  • Chambers USA – Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance): Nationwide, Band 1
  • Chambers Global – Banking & Finance: Mainly Regulatory, USA, Band 1
  • IFLR1000 – Financial Services Regulatory, Highly Regarded
  • The National Law Journal – "Outstanding Women Lawyers," 2015
  • Law360 – "Banking MVP of the Year," 2014
  • The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement  "Distinguished Legal Writing Award," 2009

Of Note

  • 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

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit


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


  • French