Davis Wright Tremaine bolsters financial services offering with boutique tie-up

Merger with McGonigle sees Seattle firm double financial services headcount and add offices in Richmond and Chicago

Bradford Harin, Elizabeth Lan Davis and Scott MacCormack

AmLaw 100 firm Davis Wright Tremaine is to merge with financial services boutique law firm McGonigle in a move that will double the size of its banking and financial services practice and add two bases to its national platform. 

The merger, which goes into effect 1 July, will give Seattle-based Davis Wright an office in Chicago, its first in the Midwest, and another in Richmond, Virginia. 

Davis Wright said that joining forces would enable the two firms to offer a wider range of services to financial services clients as the sector continues to draw increased attention from regulators. 

McGonigle has 44 lawyers across five offices in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago and Richmond. The combination means Davis Wright will gain 22 lawyers in DC, 15 in New York, four in Richmond and three in Chicago, the firm said. The group will join Davis Wright’s 550-lawyer platform and bring its banking and financial services practice headcount up to 70. 

Davis Wright managing partner Scott MacCormack characterised the merger as a “landmark moment” for the firm. 

“This powerful combination balances our national footprint and positions us to become the law firm of choice on the most consequential financial services matters,” he said. 

Founded in 2010, McGonigle is known for its regulatory counselling and enforcement defence work with investment banks, broker-dealers, hedge funds and blockchain companies, among others. It merged with securities law firm Krebsbach & Snyder in 2012, a move that added eight lawyers to its flagship securities team. 

Once finalised, the merger will see McGonigle’s chair, Elizabeth Lan Davis, join Davis Wright partner Bradford Hardin as co-chair of the firm’s banking, financial services and security practice. 

Davis said the two firms presented an “ideal fit” given that McGonigle’s focus on white collar and enforcement work complemented Davis Wright’s national litigation and corporate platform. 

“We also will complement Davis Wright's consumer finance and fintech practice with experience in a range of areas, from broker-dealer to investment management to digital assets,” Davis added. 

According to research published by Fairfax Associates in October, US law firm merger activity fell back to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 despite a bounce-back in Q3 when eight mergers went live, including Holland & Knight’s tie up with Dallas-based energy specialist Thompson & Knight.

Comparable moves to Davis Wright’s made by US firms this year include Kramer Levin’s tie-up with local Washington DC litigation boutique Robbins Russel Englert Orseck & Untereiner, which went live in March. The move added 24 lawyers to Kramer Levin’s litigation and appellate practice and brought its office count up to four. 


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