Bloomberg Big Law: WW+E “Remakes Old Model” of Trial Firms

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Feature article explores benefits of WW+E’s unique billing model and commitment to diversity

WASHINGTON – Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz “is restructuring how legal work is done,” writes Stephanie Russell-Kraft in a June 7 Bloomberg Big Law profile of the firm, by forging a new model that eschews the billable hour, empowers younger lawyers, and emphasizes diversity.

Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz was founded in early 2016 by a group of partners, including Beth Wilkinson and Alexandra Walsh, formerly of Paul Weiss, and Sean Eskovitz, formerly of Munger Tolles & Olson. Since then, the firm has grown to almost 50 attorneys and has won several high-profile cases, garnering the firm recognition from Chambers & Partners, Benchmark, and Law360.

When creating the firm, WW+E’s Founding Partners prioritized eliminating the billable hour. Doing so, Russell-Kraft notes, means “lawyers feel less pressure to monitor how they’re spending each minute of the day, and clients feel more comfortable having associates in the room for high-level meetings because they aren’t paying extra for it.” This innovative model empowers younger attorneys to participate in meetings and trials they otherwise might never get to attend.

Other facets of this new model, which is meant “to address issues in the legal industry like gender disparity and a lack of training opportunities for young associates,” include not following a lock-step promotion model, “joining high-profile cases in partnership with Big Law firms,” and promoting women and diversity within the firm.

The Bloomberg profile comes on the heels of Law360’s 2018 Glass Ceiling report naming WW+E as a leading law firm for female attorneys. Law360 recognized WW+E for its strong female leadership, including two female name partners, and for achieving gender parity among the firm’s attorneys.

The profile also follows a string of recent high-profile trial victories for the WW+E team, including a complete victory for the NCAA in a lawsuit brought by former USC assistant football coach Todd McNair and a win in the second state-court bellwether trial over the blood-thinner Xarelto. These latest developments, which did not involve any of the firm’s named partners, confirm that WW+E is indeed developing the next generation of trial lawyers.