Founded in 1908, Davis Wright Tremaine has worked with small
clients as well as those of Fortune 500 stature, with a focus on
litigation, entertainment, environmental, intellectual property and
Winning the West Coast
More than eight decades after it kick-started to life in
Seattle, Davis Wright Tremaine merged with another reputable
Seattle firm and began its expansion in and beyond the Pacific
Northwest. Through its Anchorage, Alaska office, Davis Wright
Tremaine made headlines when it served as lead counsel in a 30,000
plaintiff lawsuit filed by seafood and fishing industry interests
against Exxon Valdez for the massive oil spill off the coast of
Gradually the firm forged a string of offices dotting the west
coast, becoming the first Seattle-based firm to open up shop in San
Francisco, and snagging prominent west coast names like Starbucks,
Microsoft and the Seattle Times as clients. The firm also
became one of the first Pacific Northwest firms to expand east when
it acquired a Washington, DC telecommunications boutique and
invaded the New York market through its media and entertainment,
environmental and commercial litigation work.
Now, with a team of more than 500 attorneys, eight U.S. offices
and a presence abroad, Davis Wright Tremaine has continued to grow
in its core practice areas as well as copyright and
middle-management M&A. The firm's at times controversial pro
bono work has included filing habeas petitions for and representing
noncitizen Guantanamo Bay detainees, as well as assisting in
lawsuits which challenge legislation barring same-sex marriage.
Davis Wright Tremaine attorneys have also attracted attention for
their First Amendment rights work-the firm's lawyers have argued a
free speech case before the Supreme Court involving videos of
animal cruelty and helped pioneer the practice of applying free
speech rights to advertising.
The firm has a powerful entertainment division, boasting clients
like Spike Cable Networks, MTV Networks, Viacom, Discovery
Communications, Comcast Communications and NBC Universal. The
firm's attorneys have represented author J.D. Salinger in a
copyright suit, batted off litigation against controversial
filmmaker Michael Moore by citing First Amendment rights and
defended CBS from FCC fines stemming from a certain legendary Super
Bowl wardrobe malfunction.
Locke Down on China
Davis Wright Tremaine has also built an excellent reputation in
the arena of U.S.-China trade, helping U.S. businesses make headway
into the markets of Asia's largest economic tiger, and advising
Chinese companies seeking to do business in the states. In 1993,
Davis Wright Tremaine became the first law firm approved by the
People's Republic of China to open an office in Shanghai and the
firm also advises clients in the Pacific Rim through its
international branch, DWT Pacific, which it formed in 2008.
Perhaps Davis Wright Tremaine's most powerful link to the Far
East comes in the form of Gary Locke, who in 1997 became the first
Chinese-American governor after being elected in Washington State.
After two terms as governor, Locke, who had gained a reputation for
being an expert on U.S.-China trade, joined Davis Wright Tremaine
to lead its China practice before being plucked by President Obama
to serve as commerce secretary, and later as the American
ambassador to China.
It's Not Just a Game
Davis Wright Tremaine, together with former partner Jeffrey
Fisher, won a unanimous ruling in favor of Microsoft at the U.S.
Supreme Court on an issue of critical importance to companies
facing class action lawsuits. The plaintiff in the case, which
alleges defects in Microsoft's Xbox 360 game consoles, had dropped
his individual claims in order to seek immediate review of the
district court's denial of class certification. The justices
rejected the plaintiff's tactic, saying it invited "protracted
litigation and piecemeal appeals" and found he could not appeal the
adverse class certification ruling without first litigating his
Empowering Women Sure Is Golden
Thanks to the firm's ongoing success promoting women into
positions of leadership, Davis Wright Tremaine was one of just
seven firms nationwide to meet all of this year's benchmarks for
Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum
(WILEF). WILEF ranks firms with 300 or more lawyers based on a
number of objective criteria, including the number of women among
equity partners, among the most highly compensated partners, and in
practice, office, and committee leadership roles. Only seven firms
met all the criteria and Davis Wright Tremaine was one of them.
Protecting the Freedom of Press
In recognition of the firm's decades-long work supporting
journalists, defending free expression, and furthering the public's
right to know, the media and First Amendment team at Davis Wright
Tremaine was honored with a Freedom of the Press award by the
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The group was
celebrated for defending against libel claims, protecting access to
information, shielding journalists from subpoenas, fighting
restraints on reporting, and spearheading legislation that
amplifies media freedoms. "We often take those freedoms for
granted," said the committee chair, "but we might not have them at
all except for the lawyers at DWT."
Where Health Meets Dining
Helping emerging restaurant concepts-especially those in the
"better for you" segment-access and close growth-oriented
investments is a forte of Davis Wright Tremaine's restaurant group.
Among the many stars of the practice is D.C.-based Cava Grill,
which Forbes says could be "the next Shake Shack." With the recent
close of a $30 million financing from existing investors, the firm
has helped this Mediterranean-style fast-casual chain raise almost
$100 million in growth equity, fueling the brand's expansion into
California, New York, and other markets.
Saving the Last Dance
A long Davis Wright Tremaine pro bono effort resulted in the
first California appellate decision allowing a nonprofit to recover
under the state's goodwill statute. The firm won the Court of
Appeal ruling on behalf of an internationally renowned community
dance school, which suffered losses to its reputation and business
when a highway project forced it to relocate from its home in the
Presidio. Caltrans petitioned the Calif. Supreme Court to review or
de-publish the appellate opinion, but the justices declined. A
trial will now follow to set the amount our client will receive
from the state.
And Another for "Innovation"!
Davis Wright Tremaine was named "Innovative Law Firm of the
Year" for an unprecedented second year in a row by the
International Legal Technology Association. The award recognizes
DWT's success delivering "great business value and transformational
impact" for clients. The firm's innovation initiative is led by DWT
De Novo, a cross-functional team of lawyers, technologists, web
developers, legal process improvement experts, legal solutions
architects, and data analysts, who've partnered with multiple
clients to add new value to the legal function. DWT was also
top-ranked as a 2016 "standout" by the Financial Times Innovative
Lawyers Awards North America.