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Originally established in Portland, Oregon over one hundred years ago, Stoel Rives, LLP has a distinguished history that meshes with the development of the American West and the culture of the Great Northwest. A great deal of their practice grew up around the natural resources of their home region: environmental, timber, mining, land use, construction and Native American tribal rights. They are leaders in renewable energy law and have built a respected reputation handling litigation, intellectual property, and labor and employment. Stoel Rives has grown to cover many other areas of commerce and business including banking, estates, health care, agribusiness, food and beverage, liability, renewable energy and technology. According to TerraLex®, an international affiliate, Stoel Rives also defends clients in white-collar criminal cases.
Other Practice Areas
Environment, energy and green technology are the leading areas of practice, and include many ancillary areas such as trademarks, manufacturing and resource management. Stoel Rives attorneys have been ranked high by the National Law Review, Chambers and Partners, US News & World Report and other professional organizations for successfully growing this client base. There are eight separate practice areas, in addition to environmental marketing, food and the financial industry, constituting over thirty areas of group practice. A new associate or lateral attorney is pro-actively transitioned into their niche within one of the practice areas.
Litigation is a very strong practice area for the firm, involving cases with the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Agriculture and the FCC - a list that is by no means complete. Stoel Rives attorneys played major roles in administrative and public law, antitrust, appellate, fraud, class action, corporate securities, franchises, insurance, patent infringement and professional liability.
Stoel Rives is a sponsor of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. This organization meets annually, with presentations centering on oil, gas and mineral industries the main focus. This year's Vail, Colorado institute in mid-July has attracted over 500 registrants.
Top Attorneys and Top Clients
The practice has grown to encompass 391 attorneys - upwards of 100 of them are partners - and as of 2010 Stoel Rives employed a total staff of 856 in twelve offices across seven states and the District of Columbia. Serving entrepreneurial start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, Stoel Rives commits to values that embrace integrity and diversity in all its forms. The work is guided by studiously compiling the most comprehensive knowledge base in their practice spheres and building respectful and lasting relationships with their clients. Top companies continue to retain Stoel Rives including eBay, Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, the oil giants Chevron and Shell, and state and local governments.
Stoel Rives is known for publishing the "Law of" Series; legal handbooks outlining energy and beverage law. They are downloadable free from their website. Some have run into multiple editions and include specific alternate energy topics like wind, algae, biofuels, geothermal and building green. Law surrounding the production and distribution of wine in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington also receives a thorough treatment in the series. On the intellectual property side, Stoel Rives has produced patent reports since the mid-2000s for California, Utah, Oregon and Washington. One of their most recent tracts outlines Washington's Initiative 502, reform of the state's marijuana laws. Stoel Rives attorneys have contributed timely articles to the Environmental Law Reporter, Alaska Business Monthly and Idaho Business Review. Stoel Rives also has a Green Resource page on their website linking their own and others' articles on trends in green manufacturing, labeling and law.
Stoel Rives has been a leader in adjudicating whether "green" environmental claims are exaggerated or falsely certified. JC Johnson removed Windex's green seal and settled a suit before the Federal Trade Commission became involved. JC Johnson's "Greenlist" label was the result of an internal process not vetted by outside third parties. California and Wisconsin plaintiffs in the 2011 case charged the company with misleading consumers by strongly implying the product had been proven environmentally safe. Though never officially brought to trial, and not represented by Stoel Rives, the firm's attorney, Joseph Eckhardt, penned an article about the settlement.
Stoel Rives has represented Shell Oil in a case involving trespassing and monkey wrenching by the environmental advocate, Greenpeace, on Shell's ocean-going vessels. In the spring 2012 action, Shell managers expressed pleasure with Stoel Rives' work when the U.S. District Judge in Anchorage issued a temporary restraining order March 1st.
The case of Ramirez-Rangel v. Kitsap County was handled by a team of Stoel Rives attorneys from the Seattle office. In the fall of 2013, they were able to sway the judge that persons could not be held by local law enforcement pending the establishment of immigration status. The judge ruled that officers "do not have the authority to enforce federal immigration law nor prolong a detention." In the pro bono case, Stoel Rives associates expressed their gratification for the judge's clarity on the issue.
Stoel Rives lineage began in 1907 as the firm Davies, Biggs, Strayer, Stoel and Boley. These were railroad lawyers for the most part, who had a stake in the burgeoning growth of this city on the Willamette River. In the Northwest the firm opened offices in Washington State in Seattle and Vancouver. The firm is the oldest law practice in Portland, and indeed in Oregon, having been present during much of Portland's colorful history after the city's incorporation in 1851. The Rives name came in a merger in 1979 with another Portland firm, Rives, Bonyhadi and Smith, which can also trace its founding to the early days of the 20th century. Stoel Rives began expanding to other states with the acquisition of the Seattle firm, Jones, Grey and Bayley (founded 1912). Boise and Salt Lake City soon followed in the early 90's, and in 2001, Stoel Rives began looking toward California. With the acquisition of the California practice of Washburn, Briscoe & McCarthy, they simultaneously established offices in San Francisco, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. In 2006 their San Diego office opened, and was recently expanded in 2012 to accommodate growth. Minneapolis came along in 2007, followed by an Anchorage branch opening in 2008. Most recently, in 2013, they established a presence in Washington, D.C.
In keeping with its philosophy of good citizenship, Stoel Rives founded and sponsors the annual Innovation Awards in Utah and Idaho to recognize local companies using cutting-edge technologies and practices. Their offices have extensive recycling programs, and offer staff transportation alternatives like mass transit subsidies to their employees and hybrid cars and bicycles for company errands. Getting around Portland by bicycle has been popular for years.
Stoel Rives has many notables among its alumni. Rives Kistler, who was at Stoel Rives from 1983 to 1987, was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2003. The Georgetown University Law Center graduate (1981) also worked at the Oregon Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General and clerked for Supreme Court Justice, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. early in his career.
Susan P. Graber, a Wellesley College graduate, made partner at Stoel Rives in 1981. She is currently a Judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. At Yale in the early 70's she was a classmate of Hillary Rodham and Bill Clinton.
Hardy Myers, Oregon Attorney General for three terms from 1997 to 2008, was at Stoel Rives for a long tenure; thirty-one years beginning in 1965. Upon embarking on his political career, he was first elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1974, later serving as Speaker of the House from 1979 to 1984.
Stoel Rives Summer Program for law students is described as "real, relevant, and challenging." The Summer Program in the Portland office accepts about a dozen law students through an application process each year. The program is designed to give them a real taste of what to expect out of a legal career. In addition to the feedback that attorneys provide in connection with the summer associates' legal work, each student is matched with an associate mentor and a partner coach. Significantly, this summer program can become a critical component of the final hiring process. Immersion in Stoel Rives culture and the realities of a law practice provide law students with a chance to meet high expectations. Summer associates are held to a high standard, performing work that is real, relevant, and challenging. Working alongside some of the best lawyers in their fields, summer associates receive work assignments drawn from ongoing legal matters. The students are brought in to activities outside the office as well, participating in hearings, closings, depositions, trials, in-house continuing law education (CLEs) and training programs.
TerraLex® is an international organization working to network across state boundaries to provide seamless legal services to global clients. Stoel Rives has been a member representing TerraLex® in Oregon, Idaho and Washington. The network includes 160 independent firms serving 100 countries. Membership is by invitation only. TerraLex's North American representative practices in the Seattle office of Stoel Rives.
Stoel Rives is the recipient of a bevy of awards. The independent BTI Consulting Group has ranked them repeatedly in the Top Thirty Client Service Law Firms for best client relations. The 2014 U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" racked up twenty-nine national tier rankings in various practice areas. Other national rankings from Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business® and Best Lawyers in America® combine to list 253 Stoel Rives lawyers for honors as the best in their region, and Best Lawyers in America® chose twenty-five Stoel Rives attorneys as Lawyers of the Year. All of these are recent honors awarded in 2014.
The professional organization, Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), have awarded Stoel Rives the Gold Standard Certification for three consecutive years; 2011, 2012 and 2013. The WILEF certification recognizes firms in which women are prominent in leadership positions and make top earnings.
Five Stoel Rives offices received the 2012 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for integrating flexible workplace policies and practices.
In the News
More awards came Stoel Rives way with the announcement that Joan Snyder, a partner in Portland, has received the 2014 Women in Law Award by Lawyer Monthly, a website and magazine with a global audience. Ms. Snyder is one of only fifty women recognized in the U.S. in this first-time recognition of women who have a wide influence in their regions, or sphere of practice. She practices in the Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources group and has defended natural resource damage claims.
Jonathan M. Cohen made a name for himself nationwide as legal expert in the area of commercial real estate, and has now joined the firm as a partner in the Real Estate and Construction Practice Group in the Portland office. Mr. Cohen brings twenty-five years of experience practicing in New York and Florida markets. He will take a wide view at Stoel Rives: lease transactions, multi-use development, partnerships, franchises and development agreements make up the short list of his areas of expertise.
New leadership in the Sacramento Stoel Rives office sees shifts for Melissa A. Jones, Timothy M. Taylor and Michael M. Mills. Ms. Jones, a partner, assumes the Office Managing Partner (OMP) for the four Stoel Rives California Offices. Mr. Taylor, whom she replaces, will move into helming the firm's diversity initiatives beginning in August. As of July 1st, Mr. Mills became Chair of the firm's Oil, Gas, Pipelines and Mining industry team.
Salt Lake Partner Catherine Parrish Lake continues to bolster Stoel Rives' community involvement with the announcement that she has been appointed to the prestigious Advisory Board of the Salt Lake County Center for the Arts. The arts center owns and operates several of Utah's premier entertainment venues, including Abravanel Hall, The Capitol Theatre and the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Ms. Lake works in the firm's Technology and Intellectual Property Group, contributing to publications and presenting to local organizations.
The Bottom Line
In terms of environmental and community involvement, Stoel Rives' reach in the Pacific Northwest is simply unrivaled. Their attorneys serve as officers and board members of environmental and community-based service organizations. They have volunteered legal services for Habitat for Humanity, the US Army Reserves and the Campaign for Equal Justice. Pro bono work is among their core values, asking all partners and associates to "invest" in helping low income clients as a matter of policy. As one of the longest-lived and certainly the largest law firm in Oregon, they have made a conscious effort to elevate their reputation and their community. The firm's outreach is not confined to their home state. Stoel Rives has championed food drives in San Francisco, aided a non-profit homeless youth shelter in Salt Lake City, and scored a victory when they represented Idaho inmates suing for improved conditions. Throughout their regions and practice, Stoel Rives represents and embraces communities wherever they make their home.
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