Stoel Rives grew up with some of the Northwest's earliest railroads and electric utility companies. Having gone through many name changes over the years, the current firm is the product of a 1979 merger of two important Portland firms-Davies, Biggs, Strayer, Stoel and Boley and Rives, Bonyhadi and Smith-the 1987 joinder with the Seattle firm Jones, Grey and Bayley-the firm's expansion to Boise and Salt Lake City in the 1990's and the 2001 combination with the California-based firm, Washburn, Briscoe and McCarthy. Today the firm has more than 375 lawyers and commands a major presence among western law firms.
Davies, Biggs, Strayer, Stoel and Boley
The firm of Davies, Biggs, Strayer, Stoel and Boley traces its roots back to 1883, the year the Northwest's first transcontinental railroad was completed with Portland its terminus. That year Charles H. Carey began a long career of practicing law in Portland and represented the Northern Pacific Railroad as its Oregon counsel. Carey, who later penned the still popular General History of Oregon, formed a partnership with James B. Kerr in 1907.
In 1905, Kerr came west from St. Paul, Minnesota, to represent the Northern Pacific Railroad when it joined with the Great Northern Railroad to construct the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad (SP&S) line along the north bank of the Columbia River, providing both railroads access from Spokane to Portland. Kerr went on to become one of the great land lawyers in the region and continued to handle the Northern Pacific's tangled land and grant problems. Thomas B. Stoel joined the Davies firm in 1937. He became a nationally recognized corporate and tax lawyer.
Rives, Bonyhadi and Smith
The firm of Rives, Bonyhadi and Smith grew from the partnership of Laing and Gray, formed in 1935. John A Laing came west from New York in 1910 to represent Electric Bond & Share, which had acquired several small electric utilities in the Northwest. When these companies were merged into the predecessor of Pacific Power & Light (PP&L), Laing served as vice president and general counsel and was joined by Henry Gray as part of the house counsel office. In 1935, Laing and Gray formed an independent law firm but continued to represent PP&L while building a broader client base. The firm also has represented Northwest Natural Gas since the 1950s.
When PP&L's first rate case was initiated in 1958, the firm engaged George Rives to handle the matter, he did so successfully and was invited to join the firm in 1963. Rives brought with him a belief that the venture should further broaden its client base and reduce its dependence on PP&L. During the next 15 years its representation expanded into business litigation, corporate representation and antitrust work.
Jones, Grey and Bayley
Jones, Grey and Bayley was the outgrowth of a law practice established by Ira H. Bronson, one of the most prominent and capable lawyers in Seattle during the first quarter of the 1900s.
In 1889, after graduating from Harvard Law School, Bronson moved to Seattle and practiced law in various associations. In 1912, he formed a partnership with H.B. Jones, son of U.S. Senator Wesley Jones. The resulting firm went through several name changes through the years, eventually becoming known as Jones & Grey in the early 1950s.
In 1966, the Seattle firm led by Frank S. Bayley, Jr. merged with Jones & Grey, and in 1975 the firm name became Jones, Grey and Bayley. By 1987 (the year the firm merged with Stoel Rives), Jones, Grey and Bayley had established a strong business practice in banking, electronics and general corporate representation.
In 1991, the firm opened an office in Boise, Idaho, and in 1992 it expanded to Salt Lake City, Utah. The Boise office has grown steadily to include 25 attorneys.The Salt Lake office more than doubled in size in 1998 with the addition of 18 attorneys and has since grown to include more than 70 attorneys representing a variety of practice groups.
Washburn, Briscoe & McCarthy
Washburn, Briscoe & McCarthy was founded in Aug 1978 by three partners from Landells, Ripley & Diamond and was initially known as Washburn, Kemp & Wagenseil. They became Washburn & Kemp when Harris Wagenseil left private practice to pursue other interests. In 1986, Kemp left the firm to pursue a solo practice in product liability. That year the firm incorporated as Washburn, Briscoe & McCarthy and narrowed its focus to environmental, energy and natural resources law and litigation. The firm expanded from its San Francisco office with the opening of the Sacramento office in the mid-1980s and a Tahoe City office in 2000.