WilmerHale at a Glance


  • “Extraordinary commitment to pro bono”
  • “Cliché, but it is the people”
  • “Generous leave”


  • “Demanding clients”
  • “Partnership prospects”
  • “Hours and unpredictability”

The Buzz

  • “Great IP practice”
  • “Sharp attorneys”
  • “Stuffy”
  • “Uncooperative”

About WilmerHale

Since Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP and Hale and Dorr LLP merged to become WilmerHale in 2004, the firm has established itself as one of the preeminent litigation shops in the nation. In addition to a renowned IP trial practice, the firm is known for its securities enforcement and white collar work, as well as for its emphasis on regulatory advice and litigation. Moreover, it has nationally recognized practices in Antitrust and Competition, Appellate Litigation, Bankruptcy and Reorganization, Commercial Litigation, Financial Services, Government Law, Intellectual Property, International Arbitration, International Trade, Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets, and Tax.

A Happy Union

Richard Hale joined Dudley Dorr and several other Boston lawyers to open a practice in 1918. By the time three Washington, DC attorneys opened shop as Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering five decades later, Hale and Dorr had established its place amongst the true blue New England law firms. Hale and Dorr-led by Joe Welch and assisted by Jim St. Clair-also helped bring down Joseph McCarthy before a national television audience in the legendary U.S. Army-McCarthy congressional proceedings.

The men behind (relative) upstart Wilmer, however, were also making their presence known. Founder John Pickering got off to a particularly audacious start-his first case was before the Supreme Court-and all three founders had 20-plus years under their belts by the time they set out on their own. Within a decade of opening, the firm had added a former SEC chair to develop its securities practice, structured a progressive pro bono policy and established an office in London. Meanwhile, Hale and Dorr maintained its very public image as partner Jim St. Clair-while temporarily disassociating himself with the firm-advised President Nixon during his Watergate travails, even appearing on a Time magazine cover for his efforts. Both firms would achieve increasing fame and fortune as the years passed, with IPOs, civil rights cases, governmental investigations, corporate defenses, and other high-profile work fueling payroll growth and international expansion. Post-merger, WilmerHale serves as primary outside counsel for approximately 100 publicly-traded companies while focusing on a diverse range of practices, including securities defense, investment management, securities regulatory issues, and Dodd-Frank work.

Intellectual Lawyers for Intellectual Property

The foundation of WilmerHale's success is its IP practice. The firm combines technical expertise-more than 180 of its IP lawyers and technology specialists hold scientific and technical degrees-with BigLaw firepower. Annually, the firm secures hundreds of patents and trademark registrations worldwide. One factor behind the department's excellence has been the firm's sophisticated multi-jurisdictional representation of an all-star roster of high-profile IP clients, including Apple, Abbott Laboratories, Intel, Broadcom Corp., Boeing, Boston Scientific, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Monsanto, Novartis, Oracle, Pfizer, and Wyeth.

Outside the Lines

WilmerHale is near the top of virtually every "who's who" list of prestigious BigLaw firms, but it also prides itself on qualities beyond profits per partner. The firm has been quick to embrace alternative fee arrangements for its clients, offering flexible fee options for its clients for matters handled by the Regulatory, Intellectual Property, Corporate, Labor and Employment, and Litigation practice groups. The firm understands their clients desire quality, predictability, efficiency, and sustainable savings, and have made significant investments in effective legal matter management. Continuing its progressive thinking, WilmerHale has undertaken numerous green initiatives, ranging from using recycled paper and water pitchers to installing bicycle racks and light sensors in certain offices.


February 2016
Groups of the Year

Delivering its 134th US Supreme Court argument, our Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Group was named Law360' Appellate Practice Group of the year for the fifth time. Partner Seth Waxman marked the 75th Supreme Court argument of his career in December and was named an AmLaw Litigator of the Year. The firm's Intellectual Property and IP Litigation Practices have been recognized by Law360 as among the 2016 IP Practice Groups of the Year, marking the fifth year that the firm has received this recognition in the past six years.

January 2016
Strategic Responders

Representing the cities of Baltimore and Chicago in Department of Justice inquiries into policing practices, WilmerHale's Strategic Response Practice Group continues high profile, sensitive, and headline reaching work. The firm also worked closely with The Washington Post and the family of journalist Jason Rezaian in a wide-ranging and ultimately successful effort-involving the UN, the US government, and a number of foreign governments-to bring about Rezaian's release from Iran after 544 days in detention. 

IPOs Galore

In 2015 WilmerHale served as issuer's counsel or underwriters' counsel in nearly 50 public offerings and Rule 144A placements with total proceeds of approximately $20 billion, including 10 initial public offerings, represented clients in M&A and technology licensing transactions with a dollar value in excess of $20 billion and served as counsel in more than 250 venture financings raising nearly $5 billion.

Forward Laterals

An impressive and diverse group of notable senior laterals came to WilmerHale in 2015, some joining the firm's ranks for the first time and others returning from senior government positions. The firm expanded its capabilities in the environmental, intellectual property litigation, legislative, cybersecurity, defense, securities, investigations, corporate, and education. Fortune 500 companies, corporate executives, and high-ranking public officials retain WimerHale for representation in internal corporate investigations; government investigations, including grand jury, congressional and inspector general investigations; criminal litigation, including trials and appeals; and related civil and administrative proceedings.

Simply the Best

In U.S. News-Best Lawyers' "Best Law Firm" rankings, several of WilmerHale's securities practices are ranked in the first tier nationally, as well as in Boston, New York, and Washington DC. Practices ranked include derivatives and futures law, mutual funds law, private funds/hedge funds law, securities/capital markets law, securities litigation, and securities regulation. The firm's practice includes litigation, criminal and civil enforcement, regulatory, and legislative work for some of the world's most prominent companies, including Big 4 accounting firms, hedge funds, Cisco, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS.

July 2015
A Second Chance at Life

In July 2015, President Obama commuted the sentence of the firm's client, Norman O'Neal Brown, who had been incarcerated nearly 24 years. Brown was sentenced in 1993 to life in prison without the possibility of parole, based on his role in the distribution and sale of crack-cocaine in the early 1990s. Brown dedicated his life in prison to improving the lives of others by mentoring younger inmates and creating support networks to steer them away from lives of crime. Following his release from prison in November, Brown found gainful employment and is actively pursuing his goals of working with underprivileged youth in his community and counselling former inmates on re-entry issues.

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1875 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 663-6000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Co-Managing Partners: Susan W. Murley and Robert T. Novick
  • Hiring Partners: Mark Ford(Boston); Randall Lee (Los Angeles); Alan Schoenfeld & Erin Sloane (New York); Mark Flanagan (Palo Alto); Jonathan Paikin (Washington)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 1,092

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    77 out of 79 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Due Diligence and Opinions
    Intersection of Antitrust and IP
    Licensing and Technology Transfer
    Post-Grant Patent Proceedings
    Proprietary Information and Trade Secrets
    Protecting Intellectual Property in International Markets
    Trademark, Trade Dress and Domain Names
    Anti-Discrimination and Fair Lending
    Antitrust Litigation
    Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation
    Bankruptcy Litigation, Regulation and Policy
    Business Trial Group
    Cross-Border Investigations and Compliance
    False Claims Act
    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Anti-Corruption
    Government and Regulatory Litigation
    Government Contracts Litigation
    Intellectual Property Litigation
    International Arbitration
    International Litigation
    Intersection of Antitrust and IP
    Investigations and Criminal Litigation
    Securities Litigation
    UK Investigations and Criminal Litigation
    WilmerHale Discovery Solutions
    Antitrust and Competition
    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Working Group
    Cross-Border Investigations and Compliance
    Cybersecurity, Privacy and Communications
    Defense, National Security and Government Contracts
    Energy, Environment and Natural Resources
    European Union Regulatory Group
    Financial Institutions
    International Trade, Investment and Market Access
    Strategic Response
    Alternative Investment
    Broker-Dealer Compliance and Regulation
    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Working Group
    Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Working Group
    Futures and Derivatives
    Investment Management
    Litigation and Enforcement
    Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring
    China Corporate
    Debt Finance
    Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits
    Fund Formation
    German Corporate
    Labor and Employment
    Real Estate
    Technology Transactions and Licensing
    UK Corporate
    Capital Markets
    Energy and Cleantech
    Financial Services
    Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
    Life Sciences
    Media and Entertainment
    National Security: Defense and Intelligence
    Native American Law
    Professional Services
    Real Estate
    Subprime Market
    Venture Capital

Major Office Locations

  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Beijing
  • Berlin
  • Brussels
  • Frankfurt
  • London
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