Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, also known as Hale & Dorr and WilmerHale, is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. It is co-headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Boston. It was formed in 2004 through the merger of the Boston-based firm Hale and Dorr and the Washington-based firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, and employs more than 1,000 attorneys worldwide.[7]

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
WilmerHale logo.png
HeadquartersWashington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts
No. of offices13
No. of attorneys1055 (2019)
No. of employees2015 (2019)
Major practice areasGeneral Practice
Key people
  • Robert T. Novick[1][2][3]
  • (Co-Managing Partner)
  • Susan W. Murley[4][5][6]
  • (Co-Managing Partner)
RevenueGreen Arrow Up.svg US$1.15 billion (2018)
Date foundedBoston, Massachusetts (1918)
Washington, D.C. (1962)
Company typeLimited liability partnership

Notable alumni include former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Special Counsel to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.[8]


Hale and Dorr, 1918–2004Edit

Hale and Dorr was founded in Boston in 1918 by Richard Hale, Dudley Huntington Dorr, Frank Grinnell, Roger Swaim and John Maguire. Reginald Heber Smith, author of the seminal work Justice and the Poor and a pioneer in the American legal aid movement, joined the firm in 1919 and served as managing partner for thirty years. Hale and Dorr gained national recognition in 1954 when partner Joseph Welch, assisted by associate James St. Clair and John Kimball, Jr., represented the U.S. Army on a pro bono basis during the historic Army-McCarthy hearings. In 1974, James D. St. Clair represented President Richard Nixon before the Supreme Court of the United States in United States v. Nixon. In 1988, partner Paul Brountas chaired the presidential campaign of Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, and in 1990, senior partner William Weld was elected governor. The firm has had a long relationship with nearby Harvard Law School, home of the WilmerHale Legal Services Center.[9]

WilmerHale's DC office, spanning across three interlinked buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue

In 1988, the law firm established a subsidiary as a registered investment adviser. Initially known as Haldor Investment Advisors, L.P., and then Hale Dorr Wealth Advisers. In 2008 Hale Dorr Wealth Advisors became Silver Bridge.[10]

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, 1962–2004Edit

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering was founded in Washington in 1962 by former Cravath attorneys Lloyd Cutler and John Pickering, along with a senior lawyer, Richard H. Wilmer. Cutler, who later served as White House Counsel to Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, founded the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in 1962 and served on its executive committee until 1987.[11]

In the 1980s, Cutler led the founding of the Southern Africa Legal Services and Legal Education Project, to aid South African lawyers who fought to implement the rule of law during apartheid. From 1981 to 1993, partner C. Boyden Gray, a prominent member of The Federalist Society, left the firm to serve as White House Counsel to Vice President and President George H. W. Bush. In 2003, partner Jamie Gorelick began serving as a member of the 9/11 Commission.[12]

Combined firm, 2004–presentEdit

The two firms merged to form Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in 2004, with headquarters now in both Boston and Washington.[7]

In 2010, the law firm relocated its administrative support base to a new campus in Dayton, Ohio as it sought to streamline internal business operations across its many offices.[13] The office houses more than 200 employees from existing WilmerHale offices and new employees from the Dayton area. Individuals in the Business Services Center include administrative support staff, bringing together services such as finance, human resources, information technology services, operations, document review and management, and practice management, which will provide improved efficiencies for administrative teams and the firm, and reduce significant operational expenses.[14]


According to one study examining political donations by large white shoe firms, WilmerHale was ranked as the most liberal out of the top twenty prestigious law firms in the nation.[15]

The Washington Post ranked WilmerHale as the #1 Top Workplace in DC in 2019, and the firm has earned a Top Workplace for 8 consecutive years,[16] and noted that the firm "has played a leading role in reimagining what 'Big Law' can be."[17]

The American Lawyer named WilmerHale Law Firm of the Year in 2021 and noted that for 17 years, the law firm has earned a spot on its A-List, which takes into consideration not just revenues, but pro bono work, diversity, and attorney satisfaction.[18]

The firm is also well known for its litigation and trial expertise. In The American Lawyer's biennial Litigation Department of the Year contest honoring law firms considered the “absolute best in the industry when it comes to litigation prowess”, they highlighted that the firm has a strong reputation in the most important practice areas such as public policy and legislative affairs, regulation, antitrust, intellectual property and international trade and that WilmerHale is home to some of the most well-known appellate and Supreme Court litigators in the country.[19]


A Civil ActionEdit

In the late 1980s, Hale and Dorr partner Jerome Facher represented Beatrice Foods in a suit by eight families from Woburn, Massachusetts who claimed that Beatrice, along with W.R. Grace, had polluted the town's water supply, resulting in an elevated number of leukemia cases and immune-system disorders. The case was memorialized in the book A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr, and in a movie of the same name starring Robert Duvall as Facher and John Travolta as plaintiffs' lawyer Jan Schlichtmann.[20] Upon further discovery, the EPA took the case on and W.R. Grace was successfully indicted for making false statements. Both W. R. Grace and Beatrice Foods paid a total $64.9M to clean up the contaminated sites in Woburn.

Enron and WorldCom reportsEdit

In the wake of news articles raising concerns about transactions between Enron and its CFO, Andy Fastow, lawyers from Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering represented a special investigative committee of Enron's board of directors in an internal investigation into those transactions. The resulting report, known as the "Powers Report," laid out the facts that have been the predicate for much of the public discussion of Enron since that time.[21]

Similarly, after WorldCom's announcement that it would have to restate financial statements, the firm represented a special investigative committee of WorldCom's board of directors in performing an internal investigation into the accounting irregularities. The investigation resulted in a widely covered written report that detailed a variety of accounting issues as well as the role of management and the board of directors.[22]

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et alEdit

WilmerHale counseled Apple Inc. in its hotly contested smartphone patent dispute with Samsung Electronics Co. The two parties reached a settlement in 2018 after a seven-year-long battle that began when Apple accused Samsung of infringing numerous design and utility patents related to the iPhone.[23]

PerkinElmer’s Acquisition of BioLegendEdit

In 2021, WilmerHale represented PerkinElmer in its acquisition of life sciences company BioLegend for $5.25 billion, the largest acquisition to date for PerkinElmer. President and CEO of PerkinElmer Prahlad Singh said the deal will "push science and discovery forward."[23]

Other notable and controversial clientsEdit

In 1986, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering represented corporate raider Ivan Boesky in high-profile Department of Justice and SEC proceedings, as well as multiple class actions based on his participation in insider trading violations.

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering represented Swiss banks accused of profiting from the Holocaust in their settlement negotiations with plaintiffs. The firm also represented Siemens AG, Krupp AG, and other German companies accused of exploiting forced laborers during the Nazi era.[24]

Since 2005, WilmerHale has represented Senator William Frist in regard to an SEC insider trading investigation.[25]

WilmerHale was hired to represent PepsiCo in the SEC investigation related to the departure of PepsiCo general counsel Maura Smith. In the course of this representation, a WilmerHale attorney inadvertently e-mailed a confidential legal memorandum to a Wall Street Journal reporter as part of an internal communication to other attorneys working on the matter, which made several details of the investigation public.[26]

In early December 2022 Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, hired Stephanie Avakian as her lead attorney.[27]

Pro bonoEdit

Both Hale and Dorr and Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering have a long history of involvement in pro bono work. WilmerHale has ranked at or near the top of The American Lawyer's pro bono ranking since the merger. In recent years, the firm has been involved in several high-profile cases.

Guantanamo controversyEdit

A team of WilmerHale attorneys represents the "Algerian Six", a group of men who fell under suspicion of planning to attack the US embassy in Bosnia and who are now held in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp.[28]

In 2006, attorney Melissa Hoffer, then part of the team with WilmerHale, delivered a speech in Caen, France, critical of U.S. detainee policy.[29] Other WilmerHale lawyers participating in the case include Stephen Oleskey[30] and Rob Kirsch.[28]

In January 2007, Cully Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, criticized WilmerHale and other major law firms for representing "the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001," and questioned whether such work was really being done pro bono or might actually receive funding from shadowy sources.[31] In a Wall Street Journal editorial criticizing Stimson, Harvard Law School professor (and former United States Solicitor General under President Reagan) Charles Fried wrote:

It is no surprise that firms like WilmerHale (which represents both Big Pharma and Tobacco Free Kids), Covington & Burling (which represents both Big Tobacco and Guantanamo detainees), and the other firms on Mr. Stimson's hit list, are among the most sought-after by law school graduates, and retain the loyalty and enthusiasm of their partners. They offer their lawyers the profession at its best and help assure that the rule of law is not just a slogan but a satisfying way of life.[32]

In December 2007, Seth Waxman made the oral argument to the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush which upheld habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo Bay.[33]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ www.bizjournals.com https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2017/12/06/boston-properties-lands-anchor-tenant-for-its.html. Retrieved 2020-09-04. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Randazzo, Sara (2016-10-05). "Wilmer Snags Another Government Hire, This Time From Homeland Security". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  3. ^ www.bizjournals.com https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/earth_to_power/2015/04/wilmerhales-snatches-another-denver-attorney-this.html. Retrieved 2020-09-04. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Gibson Dunn Capital Markets Partner Jumps to WilmerHale". news.bloomberglaw.com. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  5. ^ December 03, James Schroeder |; AM, 2018 at 07:00. "National Women in Law Awards: Susan W. Murley". Corporate Counsel. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  6. ^ www.bizjournals.com https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2019/04/24/wilmerhale-lags-other-big-boston-law-firms-in.html. Retrieved 2020-09-04. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ a b Jonathan D. Glater (April 20, 2004). "2 Law Firms Plan to Merge, Creating One of Global Size". New York Times.
  8. ^ Noah Weiland (October 1, 2019). "Robert Mueller Rejoins Law Firm to Conduct Corporate Investigations". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "WilmerHale Legal Services Center". Harvard Law School. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  10. ^ "Hale and Dorr Wealth Advisors Announces The Next Generation of Its Firm: Silver Bridge Advisors". Business Wire. September 29, 2008.
  11. ^ "History". Lawyers Committee. Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  12. ^ "Jamie S. Gorelick Commissioner". National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Retrieved 17 August 2022. {{cite web}}: |first1= missing |last1= (help)
  13. ^ Amanda Becker (May 3, 2010). "WilmerHale moving support staff to Ohio". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  14. ^ "Law firm looks to future in Miami Twp". Dayton Daily News. Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  15. ^ "How are Quinn Emmanuel and Hillary Clinton Alike". About. biglawbusiness.com. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  16. ^ "Washington Post announces 2021 top workplaces in the Washington area". The Washington Post.
  17. ^ "Top Workplaces 2019". The Washington Post.
  18. ^ "How Wilmer built a winner with help from the entire firm community". Law.com.
  19. ^ "For Wilmer's Litigation Department, Success is a Complete Team Effort". Law.com.
  20. ^ "A Civil Action". Penguin Random House.
  21. ^ "Report of Investigation by the Special Investigative Committee of the Board of Directors of Enron Corp" (PDF). February 1, 2002.
  22. ^ Larry Schlesinger (June 10, 2003). "WorldCom report: Sullivan masterminded fraud". Accountancy Age. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  23. ^ a b https://www.law360.com/articles/1406459
  24. ^ Michael J. Bazyler (Fall 2004). "Suing Hitler's Willing Business Partners: American Justice and Holocaust Morality". Jewish Political Studies Review. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. 16 (3–4).
  25. ^ "The Senate: Doubting a Trust". Newsweek. October 9, 2005.
  26. ^ Ackerman, Andrew; Palazzolo, Joe; Maloney, Jennifer (2017-09-27). "SEC Probes Departure of PepsiCo's Former Top Lawyer". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  27. ^ "Caroline Ellison Hires SEC's Former Top Crypto Cop for FTX probe". 10 December 2022 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  28. ^ a b Farah Stockman (July 2, 2008). "Lawyers make huge pro bono effort for Guantanamo detainees". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Melissa Hoffer. "Speech". New York University.
  30. ^ "Top Pentagon Official Calls for Boycott of Law Firms Representing Guantanamo Prisoners". Democracy Now!. January 17, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  31. ^ "Bush Lawyer Blasts Law Firms For Representing Detainees" post by Peter Lattman on Law Blog [Wall Street Journal] on the cases, trends and personalities of interest to the business community, January 12, 2007
  32. ^ "Stimson Under Fire" post by Peter Lattman on Law Blog [Wall Street Journal] on the cases, trends and personalities of interest to the business community, January 16, 2007
  33. ^ "Boumediene v. Bush, 12/5/07, No. 06-1195" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 5, 2007.

External linksEdit