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Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

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Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
WilmerHale logo.jpg
Headquarters Washington (D.C.)
Number of Offices 12
Number of attorneys 1,059
Number of employees 2,500
Established 1962
Annual Revenue $1,076 million
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr Pay Scale
(all numbers in thousands of dollars)
First year salary180
Second year salary190
Third year salary210
Fourth year salary235
Fifth year salary260
Sixth year salary280
Seventh year salary
Eighth year salary
Ninth year salary
Tenth year salary

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (known as Wilmer Hale) is an American law firm with 12 offices across the United States, Europe and Asia. It was created 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.[1][2]


Hale and Dorr, 1918–2004

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 and mutually profitable relationship with nearby Harvard Law School, alma mater of more than a fifth of Wilmer Hale's current lawyers, and home of the Wilmer Hale Legal Services Center.[3]

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.[4]

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, 1962–2004

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.

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 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.

Combined firm, 2004–present

The two firms merged to form Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in 2004.[1][2]

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.[1] 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.[5]


Wilmer Hale has ranked in the top 20 in the popular Vault "prestige" ranking of the top hundred American law firms and on the American Lawyer "A-List" of the nation's twenty leading law firms based on revenue per lawyer, pro bono work, associate satisfaction, and diversity.[6] According to the British magazine Legal Week, the firm ranked 14th among American law firms in terms of total revenue in 2006.[7]


A Civil Action

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.[8] 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, Massachusetts.

Enron and WorldCom reports

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.[9]

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.[10]

Other notable and controversial clients

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.[11]

Since 2005, Wilmer Hale has represented Senator William Frist in regard to an SEC insider trading investigation.[12]

Wilmer Hale 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 Wilmer Hale 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.[13]

Pro bono

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

Guantanamo controversy

Main Article: Guantanamo Bay attorneys

A team of Wilmer Hale 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.[14]

In 2006, attorney Melissa Hoffer, then part of the team with Wilmer Hale, delivered a speech in Caen, France, critical of U.S. detainee policy.[15] Other WilmerHale lawyers participating in the case include Stephen Oleskey,[16] and Rob Kirsch.[17]

In January 2007, Cully Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, criticized Wilmer Hale 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.[18] In a Wall Street Journal editorial criticizing Stimson, Harvard Law School professor (and former United States Solicitor General under President Reagan) Charles Fried wrote: Template:Cquote

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.[19]

Attorneys and lawyers

Notable attorneys and lawyers, past and present:

Template:Col-begin Template:Col-break Hale and Dorr

Template:Col-break Wilmer Cutler & Pickering

Template:Col-break Wilmer Hale



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2  WilmerHale moving support staff to OhioThe Washington Post  (May 3, 2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1  Wilmer Cutler Joins Forces With Hale and DorrNew York Law Journal  (April 20, 2004)
  3. WilmerHale Legal Services Center,
  4. The Boston Globe, "Hale and Dorr launches "Silver Bridge Advisors", September 29, 2008
  5. Dayton - Business Services Center, Offices
  6. Recognition, About
  7.  Top 50 US Firms 2006Wall Street Journal
  8. Dead link May 7, 2013
  9. Dead link May 7, 3013 Houston Chronicle
  10.  WorldCom report: Sullivan masterminded fraudAccountancy Age  (June 10, 2003)
  11.  Suing Hitler's Willing Business Partners: American Justice and Holocaust MoralityJewish Political Studies Review  (Fall 2004)
  12. Dead link NBC News as of May 8, 2013
  13. Ackerman, Andrew SEC Probes Departure of PepsiCo’s Former Top LawyerWall Street Journal  (2017-09-27)
  14. Torture in Guantánamo, (April 20, 2006)
  15. La leçon de Guantanamo,
  16.  Top Pentagon Official Calls for Boycott of Law Firms Representing Guantanamo PrisonersDemocracy Now!  (January 17, 2007)
  17. "The folks who brought us Brainwashing and ECT try to clean up: Psychologists, Guantanamo and Torture" article by Stephen Soldz on Counterpunch August 1, 2006, accessed May 8, 2013
  18. "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
  19. "Supreme Court Rules that Guantanamo Detainees Have Constitutional Right to Habeas Corpus" Wilmer Hale press release, June 12, 2008, retrieved on June 13, 2008

External links