A Heritage of Excellence and Service.

Since the earliest days of our two predecessor firms, WilmerHale has played a leading role in historic events and landmark cases that have shaped the nation and left their mark across the globe. In matters ranging from the Army-McCarthy hearings to the legal defense of civil rights, from the 9/11 Commission to the restoration of the rule of law in apartheid-torn South Africa, our lawyers have been privileged to make contributions that have profoundly affected our society and our profession. The following are selected milestones—both great and small—that chart the evolution of our firm.

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Origins

1918

Richard Hale (left) joins with Dudley Dorr (above), Frank Grinnell, Roger Swaim and John Maguire to form the partnership Hale and Dorr. Clients include moderate-sized commercial enterprises in industries such as fishing.

1919

Reginald Heber Smith leaves the Boston Legal Aid Society to join Hale and Dorr as managing partner. Smith publishes Justice and the Poor, a seminal work in the evolution of modern legal aid in the United States.

"Without equal access to the law, the system not only robs the poor of their only protection, but places in the hands of their oppressors the most powerful and ruthless weapon ever created." —Reginald Heber Smith,
    Justice and the Poor, 1919
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1920s

1920s

Joseph Welch (right) is named the first "junior" partner at Hale and Dorr.

Hale and Dorr's office moves from 16 Central Street, Boston to a 10-story building at 60 State Street.

The partners gather at Richard Hale's
estate, "Strawberry Hill," circa 1920

1924

Richard Wilmer joins Cravath, de Gersdorff, Swaine & Wood in Washington DC.

1925

Hale and Dorr's cumulative billing reaches its first million dollars.

1930s

1930

"At the present time an older senior partner is expected to work 5.5 hrs. on weekdays (9–1, 2–3:30) and 2.5 hrs. on Saturdays (9–11:30), with one month vacation."
—Hale and Dorr Annual Report

1938

Average starting annual salary of a "junior" or associate at Hale and Dorr: $1,200.

1939

John Pickering starts at Cravath in New York City.

1940s

1940

Lloyd Cutler starts at Cravath in New York City, focusing on the reorganization of railroads.

    Reginald Heber Smith


The American Bar Association Journal publishes Reginald Heber Smith's "Law Office Organization," detailing the "Smith System," a formula to determine how partners should be fairly compensated for their contributions. It is still the ABA's most requested reprint.

1941

John Pickering moves to Washington DC and becomes a clerk for US Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy.

1942

Lloyd Cutler moves to Washington DC to work for the Lend-Lease Administration.

Lloyd Cutler becomes the youngest prosecutor in the case against Nazi saboteurs captured in New York.

1943

Richard Hale dies at the age of 72.

1946

John Pickering (left) argues his first case, representing the defendant in a mail fraud case in the US Supreme Court. The following week he defends a chauffeur on a traffic violation in municipal court and loses the case.

Richard Wilmer joins with E. Fontaine Broun to found Wilmer & Broun. Pickering is the first permanent associate to be hired, and becomes a partner in 1949.

1950s

1951

Reginald Heber Smith is awarded the American Bar Association's Medal for "conspicuous services in the cause of American jurisprudence."

1954

Hale and Dorr's Joseph Welch, assisted by Jim St. Clair and Jack Kimball, represents the US Army on a pro bono basis in the historic Army-McCarthy hearings—the first publicly televised congressional hearings. Welch's public challenge to the "cruelty and recklessness" shown by McCarthy is widely thought to have marked the beginning of the end of the McCarthy era.

Jim St. Clair successfully represents Cape Cod Food Products, Inc., in a suit
against the National Cranberry Association (now Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.), charging attempted monopoly in the first-ever civil antitrust suit not to be preceded by any criminal action.

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Joseph Welch and Jim St. Clair,
1954

The Army-McCarthy Hearings

1960s

1960

Joseph Welch dies at the age of 70.

 

1961

Dudley Dorr (right) dies at the age of 79.


1962

Lloyd Cutler and John Pickering decide to start their own law firm, and ask Richard Wilmer, a more senior lawyer, to provide the lead name. Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering is founded. Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering employs 19 lawyers (with about the same number of staff): 13 partners, five associates and one counsel.

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Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering pledges to devote 10% of the total firm effort to uncompensated work for the disadvantaged and significant social causes.

 

1963

Lloyd Cutler helps create the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He serves as a member of its Executive Committee until 1987.

1966

Reginald Heber Smith (right) dies at the age of 76.

1969

Former Chairman of the SEC Manuel Cohen joins Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. He lays the foundation for the firm's Securities Department.

Hale and Dorr completes its first IPO for a high-tech company, Analog Devices. The firm goes on to become the leading law firm in the eastern United States for IPO work.

1970s

1970

Hale and Dorr establishes a formal Public Service Committee to assist and encourage attorneys to perform pro bono work.

1972

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering opens its London office the year the British Parliament votes to become a member of the European Common Market.

1974

In January, Jim St. Clair leaves Hale and Dorr to become Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon during the Watergate controversy. St. Clair appears on the cover of Time in March and returns to the firm in September.

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1975

Sally Katzen becomes Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering's first female partner.

1976

Richard Wilmer dies at the age of 83.

1978

Linda Sherman (left) becomes Hale and Dorr's first female partner.

1979

Lloyd Cutler serves as White House Counsel to President Jimmy Carter, and helps persuade the deposed Shah of Iran to leave US soil for Panama in order to help end the Iran hostage crisis. View

1980s

1981

Hale and Dorr opens a Washington DC office with six attorneys.

1982

Lloyd Cutler and John Pickering argue before the US Supreme Court the case of NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., which helps the civil rights organization avoid a large financial penalty for having organized a boycott against white merchants in Mississippi in the late 1960s. If the damages had been collected, the NAACP would have been forced to close.

1983

Lloyd Cutler leads the founding of the Southern Africa Legal Services and Legal Education Project (SALSLEP) to aid South African lawyers who fought to implement the rule of law during the days of apartheid.

1984

Hale and Dorr's Jerry Facher (below) successfully defends the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in one of the longest and largest antitrust trials in a US District Court.

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1986

Hale and Dorr represents the Boston Celtics in the first public offering by a professional sports team.

1988

Hale and Dorr establishes a subsidiary, Haldor Investment Advisors, L.P., a registered investment advisor, to expand its trust and investment business. It is now called Silver Bridge.

1989

Vaclav Havel asks Lloyd Cutler (right) to assist in drafting a democratic constitution for
then-Czechoslovakia.

1990-94

1990

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering opens its Brussels office. Brobeck Hale and Dorr International, established by Hale and Dorr and California's Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, LLP, opens in London, New York and Prague.

Hale and Dorr teams up with Don Henley of the Eagles and the Walden Woods Project to permanently preserve 100 acres adjacent to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, and to acquire a property in nearby Lincoln for the Thoreau Society world headquarters.

Hale and Dorr senior partner Bill Weld is elected Governor of Massachusetts.

1991

The American Bar Association awards Hale and Dorr the 1991 John Minor Wisdom award for significant contributions to pro bono litigation.

Tapped by Boston's mayor, Jim St. Clair investigates allegations of corruption in the Boston Police Department. His "St. Clair Commission" report becomes a blueprint for sweeping police reform efforts.

1992

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering becomes the first charter signatory to the ABA's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge. Hale and Dorr signs on the same year.

1993

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering opens its Berlin office.

The Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School (below), made possible by a gift from the firm and its Harvard Law School alumni, opens as a national model for collaboration among private sector law firms, legal services providers and law schools, with the goal of increasing access to legal services for those most in need.

1994

Lloyd Cutler returns to the White House as Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton.

1995-99

1996

Hale and Dorr's Bob Mueller leaves the firm to head the DC US Attorney's Homicide Unit. He later serves as US Attorney for San Francisco, and becomes director of the FBI in September 2001.

Hale and Dorr successfully argues the landmark case of ProCD v. Zeidenberg, the first federal appeals court decision holding that "shrink-wrap" license agreements are enforceable contracts.

1997

Hale and Dorr completes its 150th initial public offering of the decade.

Hale and Dorr launches its groundbreaking Youth and Education Initiative, a program designed to further the educational opportunities available to children and teens through the creation of innovative partnerships with entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving inner-city youth. Based on the principles of venture philanthropy, the initiative combines financial support, pro bono legal services, administrative in-kind assistance and extensive volunteer service—helping our nonprofit partners boost student morale, college acceptance rates, child literacy, communications skills and community building.

1998

Jerry Facher (right) with John Travolta
and Robert Duvall

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Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering receives the ABA's award for outstanding pro bono service.

The film A Civil Action is released. Robert Duvall portrays Hale and Dorr senior partner Jerry Facher in his successful defense of client Beatrice Foods.


Bill Perlstein (left), former head of the Bankruptcy Department, becomes managing partner of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering.

1999

Wilmer, Cutler &
Pickering opens its
New York City office.

John Pickering
receives the ABA
Medal, the American
Bar Association's
highest award.

2000-01

2000

Bill Lee (right), a nationally known intellectual property trial lawyer, becomes managing partner of Hale and Dorr. View


Hale and Dorr opens an office in New York City.


As pro bono counsel to the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation, Hale and Dorr successfully defends the constitutionality of the Texas Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program in a two-day bench trial in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.



2001

Hale and Dorr opens an office in Waltham, Massachusetts. The firm's longstanding focus on startup companies grows to include more than 200 venture capital financings every year.


Between 2001 and 2002, Partner William McLucas, former head of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, leads Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in representing the board committees in the high-profile internal investigations of Enron and WorldCom.

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Hale and Dorr's Karen Green (left) is named to the Women's Business Hall of Fame.

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Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering is ranked number one in The American Lawyer's pro bono list.

 





Jim St. Clair dies at the age of 80.

2002-03

2002

On behalf of the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation, Hale and Dorr files an amicus brief in the US Supreme Court in a case challenging the constitutionality of Washington State's IOLTA program. Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering files an amicus brief on behalf of AARP, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the Brennan Center for Justice. In March 2003, the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Washington IOLTA program. In October 2003, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses the challenge to the Texas IOLTA program.

2003

The District of Columbia Bar awards Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering its 2003 Pro Bono Award for "extraordinary and longstanding commitment to serving those in need."

A team of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering attorneys acts as lead counsel for the sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act legislation before the US Supreme Court, resulting in the successful defense of the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation.

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering represents the University of Michigan in the Sixth Circuit and the US Supreme Court concerning the use of race as a factor in making decisions about student admission. The Supreme Court ultimately sustains the appropriate use of race in the admissions process.

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering's Jamie Gorelick (right) begins serving as a member of the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission).

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering—with co-counsel from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other firms—achieves a reversal in a Tulia, Texas, case in which multiple defendants, nearly all African-American, were wrongfully convicted and sentenced on drug charges based on the uncorroborated testimony of an undercover agent who was later indicted for perjury.

2004

Both Lloyd Cutler (right) and John Pickering (left)
are among the recipients of The American
Lawyer
's inaugural lifetime achievement award.


Led by Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, the firm's senior international partner and former US Trade Representative, and a growing trade practice, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering opens an office in Beijing.

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Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and Hale and Dorr merge to become Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, combining more than 1,000 lawyers and 1,500 staff. Bill Perlstein (right) and Bill Lee (left) become the firm's co-managing partners.

2005

Led by Partner Seth Waxman (right), the firm wins a major victory in the US Supreme Court case Roper v. Simmons, in which the Supreme Court declares that the death penalty "is a disproportionate punishment for juveniles."

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John Pickering dies
at the age of 89.

 






Lloyd Cutler dies
at the age of 87.

The firm opens its Palo Alto office—the first new office following the merger.


Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr celebrates its one-year anniversary as a merged firm. Co-Managing Partners
Bill Lee and Bill Perlstein remark on early developments that confirm the vision of the unified firm, including "our ability to provide
a broader range of top-flight legal services, the new opportunities that [our] firm offers
to lawyers and non-legal personnel alike,
[and] our tremendous success at recruiting at all levels."



The firm announces its new market name, WilmerHale, which honors the history of both legacy firms while providing the focus for a new brand identity that sets the firm apart in a crowded legal marketplace.

The Pro Bono Institute recognizes the firm's commitment to pro bono legal assistance with the inaugural John H. Pickering Award, named for our partner John Pickering, who served on the institute's Law Firm Project Advisory Committee for more than 15 years.

2006

Together with the Center for Public Representation, the firm successfully represents nine named plaintiffs in the landmark class action lawsuit Rosie D. v. Romney, a pro bono case initially brought by the firm in 2001. The January 2006 ruling declares that Massachusetts violated federal law in failing to provide necessary mental health services to an estimated 15,000 children.

WilmerHale launches the John H. Pickering Public Interest
Fellowship Program, established to enable generations of
young WilmerHale lawyers to advance the practice of law
for the public good.

WilmerHale centralizes its offices in Washington DC, building out a new space at 1875 Pennsylvania Avenue to accommodate lawyers and staff from its four offices in the city.

The firm dedicates its new building (right) in Washington DC to Lloyd Cutler, naming it the Lloyd N. Cutler Building. The building symbolizes his enduring legacy, both to his WilmerHale colleagues and to the legal community.

2007

The firm establishes a Los Angeles office under the direction of Randall Lee, former Regional Director of the Pacific Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.



WilmerHale is honored by the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project for its pro bono work representing death row prisoners.

WilmerHale advises EqualLogic in connection with its acquisition by Dell for approximately $1.4 billion in cash. According to data from Dow Jones VentureOne, this represents the largest cash purchase price ever paid for a private venture capital-backed company.

In its continuing representation of six
Bosnian-Algerian men who have been imprisoned without charge at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002, the firm convinces the US Supreme Court to grant a petition for rehearing, Partner Stephen Oleskey (right) testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the need to restore habeas corpus protections, and Partner Seth Waxman argues Boumediene v. Bush/Al Odah v. United States before the Supreme Court on behalf of those detainees and others.

2008

The American Lawyer names WilmerHale's Intellectual Property Litigation Group the IP Litigation Group of the Year, a prestigious honor awarded only once every two years. The firm is chosen for successfully being able to "showcase just what a well-rounded, full-service powerhouse IP litigation group can accomplish." In addition to this recognition, the firm receives an honorable mention in the overall Litigation Department of the Year contest. Of particular note is the firm's representation of Broadcom Corporation in its unprecedented series of patent litigations against Qualcomm Incorporated.

Partner John Payton becomes director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is the sixth director-counsel in the association's 67-year history.

In its special 30th anniversary issue, Legal Times features a list of lawyers whom it found to have had the "greatest impact on the Washington legal community over the past 30 years." The list includes WilmerHale's Co-Managing Partner Bill Perlstein, Partners Jamie Gorelick and William McLucas, and two of the firm's founding partners: Lloyd Cutler and John Pickering.

In a landmark decision resulting from the firm's efforts in Boumediene v. Bush, the US Supreme Court rules in June that foreign citizens held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in US civilian courts.

WilmerHale advises Millennium Pharmaceuticals in its $8.8 billion acquisition by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, the largest overseas acquisition by a Japanese drug manufacturer.

2009

WilmerHale celebrates five years since the highly successful combination of Wilmer Cutler Pickering and Hale and Dorr.

The lead petitioner in the US Supreme Court case Boumediene v. Bush is released from Guantanamo Bay. WilmerHale attorneys contributed thousands of hours of pro bono work to the case.

WilmerHale establishes the Career Advancement Program, a professional development program that offers hands-on mentoring, a competency-based approach to professional development, flexible career paths, comprehensive training and a competitive compensation package.

The firm opens an office in Frankfurt, its second location in Germany, bolstering its highly regarded international corporate and regulatory practices in the country's financial and industrial center.

Several WilmerHale attorneys are tapped for high-ranking positions within the newly elected Obama Administration, including positions at the Departments of Justice, Treasury, State and Commerce; the CIA; the SEC; the FCC; and the IRS.

In conjunction with the Public International Law and Policy Group, partners in the firm's International Arbitration Group successfully represent the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army in its arbitration against the Government of Sudan. Unprecedented in the world of international arbitration, the hearings, in their entirety, are broadcast live via webcasts.

The firm is recognized by numerous major publications and organizations for supporting its women attorneys and for their accomplishments, including being named one of the top 10 family-friendly firms by Yale Law Women, and one of the best law firms for women by Working Mother magazine.

2010

The Ninth Circuit unanimously reverses the convictions of WilmerHale client Prabhat Goyal, former McAfee CEO, and enters a judgment of acquittal on charges of accounting and financial fraud. In his opinion, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski notes Goyal "had the benefit of exceptionally fine advocacy on appeal."

The firm opens a business services center in the Miami Valley Research Park in the Dayton, Ohio region, bringing critical administrative support staff to a central location.

WilmerHale client Center for American Progress (CAP) plays a critical role in the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. For 18 months, the firm assists CAP by helping to craft the legislative language that ultimately attracts enough votes to pass both houses of Congress, and engaging with the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Justice and key Senate offices.

The firm implements a new e-discovery and document review system, WilmerHale DiscoverySolutions, to substantially reduce the costs and improve the quality of e-discovery reviews through cutting-edge technology and statistical testing methodologies.

WilmerHale defends Chrysler Group in more than 65 arbitrations with former dealers whose franchise agreements had been rejected by the bankruptcy court in "Old Chrysler's" bankruptcy case—winning approximately 75% of these cases and negotiating beneficial settlements in 100 more.

A WilmerHale team leads BP's response to unprecedented congressional inquiries in the Deepwater Horizon matter—including 15 hearings and investigative demands by more than 90 committees and members—and represents the company in investigations by the Department of Justice, the SEC, the National Oil Spill Commission, the Chemical Safety Board, and the National Academy of Engineers.

2011

Managing Intellectual Property names WilmerHale the 2011 Patent Contentious Firm of the Year and ITC Litigation Firm of the Year.

WilmerHale advises leading Russian Internet company Yandex on its $1.4 billion IPO—the sector's biggest IPO since 2004.

The National Law Journal's "Supreme Court Scorecard" reports WilmerHale had more US Supreme Court wins in the 2010 term than any other firm; achieved the highest win percentage of firms arguing multiple cases; and was one of four firms whose attorneys argued five or more Supreme Court cases that term.

The US Supreme Court decides Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems, which involves patent rights to inventions developed using federal funds. The dispute results in a ruling for firm client Roche, and is the first patent case in which the Court affirms the Federal Circuit notwithstanding the Solicitor General urging reversal. The same week, the Court rules for client i4i Limited Partnership in a patent suit brought by Microsoft.

The US House of Representatives passes the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, enacting reforms to the organization's policies for prevention of rape and sexual assault of its volunteers. WilmerHale represented returned volunteers and helped the victims pass the legislation.

Pro bono client Dewey Bozella—incarcerated for 26 years for a murder he did not commit—receives ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Throughout his incarceration, Bozella maintained his innocence, even when offered several plea bargains.

WilmerHale earns a 100 percent rating in the 2012 Corporate Equality Index, a Human Rights Campaign Foundation survey identifying the best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. This is the fourth consecutive year the firm receives a perfect score.

2012

The American Lawyer recognizes WilmerHale as a national finalist for Intellectual Property Litigation Department of the Year. The Litigation/Controversy Department also receives an honorable mention for winning “two of the most important intellectual property appellate victories of the past two years in just three days.” Partner Bill Lee is singled out as “Mr. IP” and named a finalist for the Litigator of the Year title.

Acting as pro bono co-counsel with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, a team of WilmerHale lawyers achieves a significant victory in the First Circuit on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when the court unanimously holds the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.



Bob Novick and Susan Murley begin their term as
co-managing partners of the firm.





WilmerHale moves to new offices at 7 World Trade Center in New York. The location offers more technologically advanced and collaborative space, and further enhances the firm’s ability to provide clients with the highest quality services. The new offices are also at the forefront of environmental sustainability initiatives—achieving LEED® Gold certification—and demonstrate the firm’s commitment to the city and the revitalized Lower Manhattan business district.

2013

In March, Partner Seth Waxman delivers his 65th oral argument to the US Supreme Court in the Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter case. This places Waxman within an elite group of top-tier attorneys who have argued before the Court. At the time, only three other lawyers currently in practice have delivered more arguments in the Supreme Court.

In June, the US Supreme Court issues two long-awaited decisions affecting the legality of same-sex marriage, and WilmerHale plays a significant role in both cases. In United States v. Windsor, the Court strikes down the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, and its opinion tracks arguments made in an amicus brief filed by WilmerHale. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which the Court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, WilmerHale filed a brief on behalf of more than 100 prominent Republicans.

Also in June, WilmerHale celebrates the 15th anniversary of its Youth and Education Initiative, a philanthropy model that brings attorneys and staff together to offer financial support, pro bono legal representation, volunteer service and in-kind donations to a group of nonprofit partners. Over the course of 15 years, the initiative contributes nearly $5 million in cash donations and millions more in pro bono legal services, and directly serves more than 1,200 youth.