Managing Partner: James Rosenthal
Number of partners: 11 Number of lawyers: 40
Languages: English, Spanish
In just over four years, Wilkinson Walsh has established itself as the preeminent trial boutique in DC. The firm has tried over a dozen cases to verdict across the country, winning the vast majority of them. In a three-month span in 2019, Wilkinson Walsh tried three high-stakes, high-pressure trials in different subject areas, in which different partners served as lead trial counsel and eight partners in total had stand-up roles. These results would be astonishing for Wilkinson Walsh’s Big Law competitors. But they are even more impressive for a 40-lawyer boutique.
Wilkinson Walsh’s unique business model, unparalleled collection of trial attorneys, and demonstrated trial excellence have made it the go-to trial firm for heavy-hitters in a wide range of industries, including Allergan, Bayer, Facebook, FedEx, Georgia Pacific, Medtronic, Monsanto, the NCAA, the NFL, Pfizer, and Philip Morris USA. Unlike some of its peer firms, Wilkinson Walsh has multiple go-to first-chair trial lawyers and a deep roster of experienced talent waiting in the wings.
The firm’s success is not just limited to high-stakes trials. Wilkinson Walsh has also secured dismissals for clients in cases where discovery has not yet started, summary judgment wins in cases where virtually all other codefendants decided to settle, and favorable resolutions on the eve of trial. In addition to bet-the-company cases, Wilkinson Walsh has handled almost 50 separate pro bono matters since its founding in 2016, with over 90% of the firm’s attorneys devoting significant time to those matters and the firm’s brightest young talent winning trials in leadership roles. As a trial boutique, the firm prides itself on providing pro bono representation to clients facing trials, which can be particularly confusing or intimidating to individuals unfamiliar with the legal system. But the range of its pro bono litigation practice is unmatched, covering appeals, class actions, and strategic counseling. Recognizing these efforts, Chambers & Partners recently shortlisted the firm for its 2019 “Pro Bono Program of the Year” award, and Vault consistently ranks the firm as one of the five midsize law firms for pro bono, noting that 'the firm is all in, offering tremendous support for attorneys taking on such matters.'
Wilkinson Walsh has achieved these successes through an innovative model that breaks from the Big Law mold. Eschewing the billable hour, Wilkinson Walsh promotes alternative fee structures keyed to achieving success for clients. Clients welcome the certainty provided by Wilkinson Walsh’s fixed fees, the quality of work ensured by the firm’s commitment to right-sized teams, and the exposure to a broad array of attorneys ready to do whatever it takes to achieve positive results.
Also critical to the firm’s model is its focus on recruiting the best talent and getting them into the courtroom. The firm has added lawyers from the country’s premier large firms, DOJ, the White House, and federal clerkships, including seven former Supreme Court clerks. The firm's workforce reflects its ongoing commitment to diversity; for example, the firm is a majority women-owned firm, and half of the firm’s attorneys (including its two name partners and five of its eleven partners) are women. Most importantly, the firm is not just committed to hiring diverse attorneys, but to giving them meaningful trial experience. Twenty-one of the firm’s twenty-six associates have already worked on at least one trial.
This recipe is working. The firm has continued to receive accolades from Chambers, Vault, and Law360 for its successes in delivering results to its clients while deepening its diverse bench of go-to litigators. Most importantly, Benchmark Litigation has twice named Wilkinson Walsh 'Boutique Firm of the Year,' calling the firm a 'litigator’s dream shop,' and provided numerous individual recognitions for its attorneys, including 'Trial Lawyer of the Year' (for Beth Wilkinson), 'Future Stars' (for Tamarra Matthews Johnson and Rakesh Kilaru), Top 250 Women in Litigation (for Beth Wilkinson and Alex Walsh) and the '40 & Under Hot List' (for Rakesh Kilaru and Kosta Stojilkovic).
The bottom line is that when clients need go-to trial counsel for their biggest and hardest cases, there is one firm that continually appears at the top of their list. Wilkinson Walsh’s client list and results are the envy of many of its larger competitors—but are all the more impressive as the product of a 40-lawyer firm that is entering its fifth year. Pound for pound and person for person, Wilkinson Walsh is a litigation juggernaut that is hitting full stride.