Highlights Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Pacific Northwest origins, global growth
Founded in 1908 in Seattle, Davis Wright Tremaine quickly became a regional power after establishing an office in Portland, Oregon in 1990. The firm expanded its reach throughout the region in the 1980's, opening offices in Bellevue, Wash., Anchorage, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as establishing an East Coast presence in Washington, D.C. In the 1990's, the firm embarked on a program of geographic expansion nationally and internationally, establishing offices in New York and Shanghai, China.
Full Service/Industry Focus
A 400 lawyer, full service business and litigation law firm, DWT grew its national practices by building departments focused on industries requiring substantial services -- media and telecommunications, financial institutions, energy, information technology, health care and retail. These industry practices are supported by traditional departments such as employment services, intellectual property, tax, real estate, business transactions and corporate finance, environmental and litigation.
Powerful media advocates
DWT's Communications, Media, and Information Technology department has garnered national attention for the firm by representing prominent media organizations in high-profile matters. For example, the Los Angeles Times and others tapped its lawyers in connection with the release of grand jury transcripts detailing Merrill Lynch's role in the Orange County investment scandal. Another case, for Columbia Pictures Television, resulted in the largest copyright statutory damages ever awarded at the time. The firm is recognized nationally too for First Amendment work, representing media organizations in two of the most important criminal cases of the past ten years. In the1995 "Trial of the Century," DWT, on behalf of media organizations, pled the case that allowed the OJ Simpson murder trial proceedings to be televised. And in another headline case in 1997, the firm represented more than 70 news organizations in Timothy McVeigh's trial for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
Corporate, Employment and Litigation
The firm's corporate, employment and litigation departments are top-notch as well. There are over 100 litigators in the firm, and case highlights include the successful representation of plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which resulted in the largest punitive damages verdict ($5 billion) ever assessed by a jury at the time. DWT's employment lawyers are recognized not only for their day-to-day counseling (and authoring of Employment Law deskbooks in three states), but for high-profile class action suits. The corporate practice, which is also over 100 attorneys strong, represents some of the nation's most recognizable Fortune 500 companies as well as startups and multi-national corporations. The industry focus of the firm draws clients ranging from dot-coms and telecommunications to healthcare organizations and retail operations.
DWT is a strong, positive force in its communities and has received numerous awards for its pro bono work, including the 2001 Soukup Award from the CASA program (an organization that provides volunteer attorneys to represent guardians ad litem for children in abuse and neglect proceedings). The firm has a full-time pro bono coordinator, and to encourage pro bono activities, established a unique "Pro Bono Bank" which allows billable hour credit to both partners and associates for time spent on behalf of people and organizations with limited means. In addition to DWT's institutional pro bono programs, lawyers are encouraged to develop pro bono clients based on their own interests -- even, barring conflict, controversial issues and cases.
Davis Wright Tremaine prides itself on its status as a firm that supports individual lifestyles. In 1999,when The American Lawyer asked third and fourth-year associates and summer associates to complete a survey on job satisfaction by rating firms on everything from treatment by partners to quality of office technology, DWT ranked No. 1 in the nation among large law firms. Attorneys from other firms characterize DWT as being "friendly BigLaw in Seattle," where "interesting associates" do "interesting work." Moreover, the firm's reputation as a "lifestyle" firm extends beyond its Seattle office -- the Portland office was recognized as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon" in both 2000 and 2001 by Oregon Business. According to a DWT attorney, "I am struck by how well DWT treats all of its employees. While no place is perfect, I believe DWT does many more things 'right' than it does 'wrong'." Another insider notes, "We pride ourselves in doing excellent legal work without taking ourselves too seriously."
In addition to interesting co-workers and a pleasant work environment, DWT also offers other important perks: lifestyle-friendly hours requirements, flexible work options (within the framework of the financial realities of the firm) and partnership consideration after approximately six and one-half years. First-years at the firm are required to bill 1700 hours; all other associates are expected to bill a minimum of 1800 hours. Moreover the firm places itself "at the forefront" of providing flexible work environments to its attorneys. Many work part-time or have taken extended leaves of absence -- and several associates have been promoted to partner while working part-time schedules.
Providing the Tools
DWT takes technology seriously too, and has invested aggressively to remain at the forefront in use of technology to leverage its resources, providing efficient and economic service to its clients and providing lawyers with flexibility and mobility. All lawyers are equipped with their choice of PCs or laptops (Blackberries are also available), wireless phones, pagers and the latest in software and databases.