It’s been a quarter century since Wiley Rein opened its doors, and name partner Richard Wiley is still the face of the firm. Last night he stood just inside the entrance for the firm’s 25th anniversary celebration, hosted in the dimly lit lobby of Wiley’s K Street offices. He jovially shook hands and introduced his wife, daughter, and son-in-law to the guests. And perhaps the 74-year-old was a little caught up in the moment when he proclaimed, “I’m planning on really enjoying the 50th [anniversary] reception with all my friends.”
The firm has come a long way since Wiley, fellow name partner Bert Rein, and 37 other lawyers left Kirkland & Ellis to open their own Washington shop in 1983. Wiley Rein has since grown to more than 275 lawyers, and reported gross revenue of $181.5 million in this year’s D.C. 20, Legal Times’ annual ranking of Washington’s top-grossing law firms. (Wiley proudly notes that his firm is the youngest of the top 20.)
Wiley Rein has handled some of the highest-profile communications work available, including counseling Sirius Satellite Radio in its recent merger with XM Satellite Radio Holdings, and representing NTP against BlackBerry in a patent dispute that generated a $245 million contingent fee for the firm in 2006.
Lawyers from other D.C.-native firms, such as Covington & Burling and Arent Fox, also gathered to fete Wiley’s milestone. Wiley name partner-turned-White House counsel Fred Fielding circulated among the crowd. (Fielding joined the firm in 1987, but left last year for the White House.)
Like Dick Wiley, Bert Rein is also confident about the future of his firm. Asked whether the firm will be around for another 25 years, Rein says, “We don’t even think about that anymore.”