Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
|Headquarters||1701 Market Street|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|No. of offices||31|
|No. of attorneys||1900|
|Major practice areas||Corporate Law, Labor and Employment, Litigation, Regulatory, Intellectual Property, Energy and Environmental, Financial services, Healthcare and life sciences, Retail and E-commerce, Technology|
|Key people||Jami Wintz McKeon, Firm Chair|
|Revenue||US $2.00 billion (2018)|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, (known as Morgan Lewis), is a global law firm with approximately 2,200 legal professionals in 31 offices across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Mergers with other law firms stimulated global growth and led to a ranking of eighth on American Lawyer's 2018 top 100 firms by gross revenue list. It is also the largest law firm chaired by a woman, and represents "three-quarters of the Fortune 100 companies." The firm has served as tax Counsel to US President Donald Trump, and the Trump Organization, since 2005. Morgan Lewis is known for high-profile pro bono representations and for filing a historic amicus brief in the US Supreme Court in 2015 on behalf of 379 companies, stating a business case for legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.
Morgan Lewis was founded in Philadelphia on March 10, 1873, by Civil War veteran Charles Eldridge Morgan, Jr., later Vice-President of the Philadelphia Law Academy, and Francis Draper Lewis, son of a wholesale dry goods merchant, whose esteemed first cousin, William Draper Lewis, in 1896, became Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
In 1883, Morgan & Lewis hired Morris Rex Bockius, who had graduated in June of that year with Master of Arts and Bachelor of Law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He became a partner fifteen years after he joined the firm, which he then led until his death in 1939. The firm became Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in 1908, though is still commonly referred to by its sobriquet, "Morgan Lewis."
The firm began representing the United Gas Improvement Company, later UGI, in 1882, which became the largest gas and electric utility company in the United States and which, well over a century later, remains a distinguishing client of the firm. From the early 20th century, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius represented many other leading and national companies, including Philadelphia’s largest daily newspaper, Philadelphia Bulletin; Pennsylvania’s largest railroad, Baldwin Locomotive Works; Scott Paper; and several major banks and trust companies.
In 1963, Morgan Lewis hired its first female law associate, Dr. Gail McKnight Beckman (daughter of Deputy Secretary of Banking of Pennsylvania Irland McKnight Beckman and family psychology author Dr. Elizabeth B. Hurlock) and, in 1980, Stephanie Abramson, became its first female law partner; she is now Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law and Director of Law and Business Experiential Classes at New York University School of Law.
Following the chairmanships of Thomas Lefevre, then Francis "Fran" Milone in 2014, Jami Wintz McKeon– who had started with the firm in 1981 –was elected to chair the firm, distinguishing her as leading the largest female-chaired law firm in the world. Re-elected in 2018; McKeon is a proponent of work flexibility, such as telecommuting, and has received numerous professional awards, including, in 2017, being named a "Client Service All-Star" by BTT Consulting Group and a "Business Hall of Fame Icon" by The Philadelphia Inquirer. During McKeon's tenure, the firm has continued to scale its national and international presence, growing into one of the largest law firms in the world. Under her leadership, the firm has also been recognized annually with Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF).
In 2015, Morgan Lewis filed a historic amicus brief for the definitive Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, on behalf of 379 companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, and the New England Patriots, which argued "a business case for legalizing same-sex marriage across the country." Partner Susan Baker Manning, who authored the brief, in 2018, was added as a full-time senior trial lawyer to the firm's pro bono group led by senior counsel Rachel Strong, with focus remaining primarily on refugee and civil rights, and "issue-based litigation", according to firm chair Jami McKeon. The firm is an affiliate firm of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA).
In 2018, former Morgan Lewis partner John Ring was confirmed by the National Labor Relations Board, one of several firm partners who have served on its board, including Harry Johnson and senior counsel Charles Cohen.
In 2018, Morgan Lewis published findings of its landmark investigation into sexual harassment at NPR, led by the head the firm's labor and employment group, partner Grace Speights, with partner Margaret Rodgers Schmidt and associate Jocelyn Cuttino; which precipitated the apologetic resignation of NPR's senior vice-president of News, Michael Oreskes. Morgan Lewis recommendations were noted as offering "broad guidance for companies that are taking fresh looks at their own practices." In February 2018, former Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle also resigned amid similar allegations, while under investigation by the firm; The National Law Journal referenced Morgan Lewis as working on the "front lines" in representing cases central to "long-overdue reforms in workplaces toxic to women."
In March 2019, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission member and lead drafter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act Chai Feldblum, whose term had expired January 4, became a partner of the firm, then stating to Bloomberg Law that the move from public service to a "Big Law management-side firm", considered unusual, was the best way to help employers implement the workplace harassment guidelines outlined by herself and Victoria Lipnic at the EEOC, describing the firm as "the place from which to help make that institutional change”, of preventing harassment from happening in the workplace.
Mergers & office locations
Morgan Lewis was among the avant garde of multinational law firms when its first international office opened in London in 1981 and, today, includes more than 2000 legal professionals worldwide, with offices in Abu Dhabi; Beijing; Boston; Brussels; Century City, California; Chicago; Costa Mesa, California; Dallas; Dubai; Frankfurt; Hartford, Connecticut; Hong Kong; Houston; Almaty and Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), Kazakhstan; London, Los Angeles, Miami; Moscow; New York; Palo Alto (Silicon Valley), California; Paris; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Princeton, New Jersey; San Francisco; Shanghai; Singapore; Tokyo; Washington, D.C.; and Wilmington, Delaware.
On November 14, 2014, Morgan Lewis's partnership voted to admit 227 partners from Bingham McCutchen LLP into the firm as partners, scaling Morgan Lewis into one of the largest law firms in the world, with the addition of 750 partners, attorneys, and staff joining Morgan Lewis on November 24, 2014.
On March 15, 2015, Morgan Lewis and Singapore’s Stamford Law Corporation announced a combination that created a fully integrated law firm in Singapore. The combination established a business transactions, litigation, and arbitration practice to serve clients with interests in Singapore and across the expanding Asian marketplace.
As of 1 March 2019[update], Morgan Lewis has 31 offices in the United States, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
Clients include more than three-quarters of the Fortune 100 companies—including nine of the Top 10 and 17 of the Top 20—and more than 300 of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as 65 of the Fortune Global 100 companies—including eight of the Top 10 and 16 of the Top 20—and nearly half of the Fortune Global 500 companies.
In fiscal year 2019, 100% of Morgan Lewis’s 2,100 eligible lawyers contributed at least 20 hours to pro bono representations. In total, the firm’s lawyers contributed more than 132,000 hours to pro bono representations in fiscal year 2019.
Notable pro bono clients include John Thompson (1963 – 2017), represented by Michael L. Banks and J. Gordon Cooney Jr., whose execution was stayed in 1999 based on forensic evidence which had been "deliberately hidden" by a former assistant prosecutor; Thompson was finally freed in 2003. A book based on Thompson's legal misfortunes, Killing Time: An 18-year Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom, by John Hollway and Ronald M. Gauthier, was optioned for a film by Touchstone Pictures in 2009. Attorneys Christina K. Harper and George Cumming waged a successful 11-year pro bono legal battle gained freedom for Kelly Savage, whose sentence for a 1995 murder conviction was commuted in 2017 by California Governor Jerry Brown.
US presidents and presidential candidates
Morgan Lewis has represented several prominent politicians in various venues, including:
- Donald Trump — Morgan, Lewis & Bockius represents United States President Donald Trump, advising him and the Trump Organization since 2005. Critics have accused Morgan Lewis of aiding Trump in using his Presidential office for personal gain. The Wallace Global Fund fired Morgan Lewis over its ties to Trump. Morgan Lewis issued a letter in May 2017 stating they had examined Trump's tax returns and found no significant financial connection to Russia.
Morgan Lewis partner James "Jim" Hamilton was one of three assistant chief counsellors of the United States Senate Watergate Committee during 1973 - 1974, the findings of which prompted the impeachment process against Richard Nixon that led to Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974. Hamilton was reported by the Washingtonian, in 2016, as the "go-to guy for Democratic nominees in search of a vice-presidential pick;" he has vetted running mates for:
- Hillary Clinton, in 2016
- Barack Obama (with Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy), in 2008
- John Kerry, in 2004
- Al Gore, in 2000.
Sale of web domain to Major League Baseball
The law firm was the original holder of the web domain name MLB.com. In September 2000 they agreed to transfer the domain name to Major League Baseball. Elected in 2015, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is an alumnus of the Morgan, Lewis law firm.
Awards and honors
Diversity and Inclusion
In August 2018, Morgan Lewis was named among the 41 law firms to receive the first Mansfield Certifications, awarded for diversity hiring practices.
In 2019, the firm was recognized by Vault as a 2020 Top 15, Best Law Firms for Diversity.
In 2020, U.S. Bank awarded Morgan Lewis its “Invested in Diversity” award, which recognizes the firm’s impact on advancing diversity in the legal profession
The National Law Journal's 500 ranking of firms based on size ranked Morgan Lewis 9th in the United States in 2019.
The American Lawyer named Morgan Lewis a top-20 A-List Law Firm in 2019.
The firm's Intellectual Property practice received The American Lawyer's 2019 Litigation Department of the Year.
Acritas ranked Morgan Lewis among the top 20 in its Global Elite Index 2020
More than 300 firm lawyers were recognized by Chambers and Partners across all publications.
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- Ingraham, Nathan "Apple, Facebook, Comcast, and hundreds of others ask Supreme Court for nationwide marriage equality", The Verge, March 5, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
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- "About Us" https://www.morganlewis.com/our-firm/about-us
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- "Morgan Lewis to Combine with Stamford Law in Singapore to Establish Major Asian Hub" https://www.morganlewis.com/news/morgan-lewis-to-combine-with-stamford-law-in-singapore-to-establish-major-asian-hubnews/
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- "Morgan Lewis Secures Victory for Domestic Abuse Survivor After Decade-Long Fight", MorganLewis.com, December 27, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
- Law, Victoria "Why Is California Keeping Kelly Savage in Prison for a Crime She Didn’t Commit?", Truthout, November 29, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
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