Davis Wright Tremaine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
DWT logo color.png
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington
No. of offices8
No. of lawyers519 (2010)
No. of employees1,274 (2020)[1]
Major practice areasBusiness, litigation
Key peopleJeffrey P. Gray
Revenue$412.8M (2019)[1]
Date founded1944
Company typeLimited liability partnership

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an American business and litigation law firm. Founded in 1944, the firm is a limited liability partnership and employs over 500 lawyers. Davis Wright Tremaine is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and has offices in seven other cities in the United States.


Davis Wright's largest office is headquartered in Seattle, Washington

Davis Wright Tremaine was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1944.

In 1944, founder John Davis outlined the "real aims" of the firm in a series of hand-written notes which included financial independence, "good reputation among fellow men, especially for ability and integrity"; and "enough time off to enjoy living."[2] The firm merged with Wright, Simon, Todd & Schmechel in 1969. In the 1980s, the firm opened offices in Anchorage, Alaska; Washington, D.C.; Bellevue, Washington; and Los Angeles, California. It merged with Ragen, Tremaine, Krieger of Portland, Oregon, in 1990[3] and added more than 20 lawyers from Heller Ehrman LLP in 2008.

In 1993, the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China selected Davis Wright Tremaine to be the first United States firm to open a law office in Shanghai.[4] The Shanghai office closed in 2018.[5]

Alumni of the firm include Gary Locke, who is the former Governor of Washington state and served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Ambassador to China during the Obama Administration.[citation needed]

Notable cases[edit]

The firm served as lead counsel for 30,000 plaintiffs in consolidated proceedings on behalf of fishermen, processors, Alaska natives, landowners, businesses, and others injured as a result of the spill of 11.8 million gallons of North Slope crude oil into the coastal waters of Alaska by the Exxon Valdez. The plaintiffs were ultimately awarded almost a billion dollars in damages and interest.[citation needed]

The firm also successfully represented CBS in its long-running effort to overturn fines imposed by the Federal Communications Commission over the Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl.[6][7]

Assistance to Guantanamo captives[edit]

Charles "Cully" Stimson, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, stirred controversy when he went on record criticizing the patriotism of law firms that allowed employees to assist Guantanamo captives: "corporate CEOs seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists."[8] Stimson's views were widely criticized; the Pentagon disavowed them, and Stimson resigned shortly thereafter.[citation needed]

Malpractice suits[edit]

Davis Wright Tremaine has been the subject of numerous malpractice lawsuits. Of particular note was a suit alleging that they played a key role in assisting retirement home operator Sunwest Management Inc. in its running of a $400 million Ponzi scheme. The lawsuit, which was filed by a group of Sunwest investors, alleged that Davis Wright Tremaine encouraged individuals and businesses to invest in Sunwest, even though they were aware of the company's financial troubles. The suit was resolved before trial, when Davis Wright Tremaine agreed to pay a $30 million settlement to the plaintiffs, the largest malpractice award in the history of the State of Oregon.[9]


In 2012, Davis Wright was ranked the 96th largest law firm in the United States by the National Law Journal, based on attorney headcount. The firm was ranked No. 114 by gross revenue on the AmLaw 200 that same year.[10] The firm received Band 1 rankings in the 2016 Chambers USA guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business in 13 practice areas across five states, including Corporate/M&A, Commercial Litigation, Energy, Labor & Employment, Media & Entertainment, and Real Estate. The firm was again high in the rankings for First Amendment Litigation – Nationwide, with more lawyers ranked nationally than any firm in the country. The media practice group is widely recognized as a national leader.[citation needed] The firm's team of 70 media lawyers was honored in 2013 with the Chambers USA Award for Excellence, designating Davis Wright as the firm that "has excelled above all others" in this practice area. In 2012, Davis Wright was named Law Firm of the Year in the Communications practice area by Best Lawyers and U.S. News.


  1. ^ a b "Davis Wright Tremaine LLP". The Business Journals. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "Remember when... An Interview with John Davis '40". UW Law Alumni Magazine. October 27, 2011.
  3. ^ McKinlay, Theresa (January 20, 2009). "Merger creates Davis Wright Tremaine in 1990 • Daily Journal of Commerce". Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  4. ^ "Davis Wright Opens First U.S. Law Firm In Shanghai". The Seattle Times. September 2, 1993.
  5. ^ "Seattle's Davis Wright Tremaine Closes Shanghai Office as Partner Joins Chinese Firm". Yahoo Finance. October 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Lowe, Zach (February 24, 2010). "Davis Wright Still Plugging Away on Wardrobe Malfunction Case". The Am Law Daily.
  7. ^ "High Court Rejects FCC's Last 'Wardrobe Malfunction' Appeal - Law360". Law360. June 29, 2012.
  8. ^ Lewis, Neil (January 13, 2007). "Official attacks top law firms over detainees". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  9. ^ Culverwell, Wendy (April 14, 2009). "Sunwest investors sue Davis Wright Tremaine". Portland Business Journal.
  10. ^ "The 2016 Am Law 200: Our Exclusive Report". The American Lawyer. May 23, 2016.

External links[edit]