Founded in 1908, Davis Wright Tremaine has worked with small
clients as well as those of Fortune 500 stature, with a focus on
entertainment, environmental, intellectual property and employment
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.