Washington Promotions show focus in Litigation and International Law

January 18, 2012 The latest round of law firm promotions in Washington reveal that the region’s largest firms are focusing on litigation — particularly intellectual property — and international practices, indicating those are the areas firms see the greatest potential for growth.

Eight of the District’s 10 largest firms have announced attorney promotions for 2012, making up 77 new partners and counsel. Of these promotions, 32 — or 40 per cent — are litigators, with more than a third of those specializing in intellectual property. Nine new partners and counsels are part of international trade, government investigations, regulatory and arbitration practices. Another four focus on government contracting.

“Litigation has been on the rise in large part because of what’s been going on in the economy,” said Ellen Dwyer, managing partner of Crowell & Moring, which promoted 17 Washington lawyers to partner and counsel. “In the government contracts side of our practice, there’s much more litigation going on between clients fighting over scarce federal dollars. We’ve seen an increase in that space ... We see a lot of [lawsuits involving] a contractor who hasn’t been awarded the contract litigate the question of whether the award was appropriate or not.”

The push to grow globally also remains a top priority for many Washington firms.

“You see that in international arbitration, international trade, including customs and related work, that’s been a growth area for the firm,” Dwyer said. “In other core areas like government contracts or corporate and transactional work, we’re doing increasingly amounts of work in the Middle East.”

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