Goodwin LLP (known as Goodwin) is the 35th wealthiest American law firm, consisting of more than 900 lawyers with offices in Boston, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Goodwin focuses on complex transactional work and high-stakes litigation in matters involving financial institutions, intellectual property, private equity, real estate capital markets, securities litigation/white collar defense, and technology/life sciences.
In 1912, lawyers and former Harvard classmates Robert Goodwin and Joseph Procter ran into each other on the street, and decided to start their own law firm. On July 1, 1912, Goodwin & Procter opened its offices at 84 State Street in Boston, with the partners undertaking a general practice of law.
In the winter of 1912, Robert Goodwin and Amos Taylor represented Marjorie Newell Robb against the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company for the sum of $110,400 resulting from the April 15, 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic.
In 1913, with business booming, the first associate was hired by the firm: Harris H. Gilman, a Harvard Law School graduate who signed on at $15 a week. A year later, Joe Procter was approached by his friend and former classmate Arthur Ballantine, who inquired whether Joe’s previous offer to join the firm still stood. It did, and two years after the firm’s founding, the to-be named partner of New York-based Dewey Ballantine joined the firm. For four years it operated as Goodwin, Procter & Ballantine. World War I began unfolding, and by 1916 the war was directly affecting the firm. Goodwin accepted a commission into the Massachusetts National Guard, and Arthur Ballantine was called up and asked to serve in the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Legal Department in Washington, D.C.
By 1917, only Procter and two associates remained to handle business. Samuel Hoar V was one of two litigators hired to help out. Six months later he too was called up for service. It wouldn’t be until 1919 that everyone would rejoin the firm. Soon after, Ballantine departed and Fred Tarbell Field, a well-respected tax lawyer who was a friend of Procter’s and a colleague of Ballantine’s at the Revenue Bureau, signed on, and the firm was then known as Goodwin, Procter, Field & Hoar. In early 1929, Fred Tarbell Field was appointed a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (and would later become its Chief Justice), and the firm was renamed Goodwin, Procter & Hoar – a name it would retain for the next 72 years.
In 1998, Regina Pisa became the first woman to be named Chairman and Managing Partner of an AmLaw 100 firm. Under Pisa’s leadership, Goodwin grew from 300 lawyers primarily in Boston to more than 900 lawyers serving clients from eight locations in the United States, Europe and Asia.
In 2004, the firm merged with the Washington, D.C.-based litigation and regulatory mid-sized firm Shea & Gardner. The following year over 60 attorneys from Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault joined Goodwin Law as Testa Hurwitz dissolved. More recently, Goodwin added a number of lawyers from Heller Ehrman.
Goodwin first established its West Coast presence in 2006, opening offices in Los Angeles (Century City) and San Francisco. It expanded in 2007 with a second office in Downtown L.A. and San Diego, and launched its Silicon Valley presence later that year. In 2013, Goodwin announced the closure of its San Diego branch. By 2016, the firm had 160 attorneys in its California offices.
In 2015, Goodwin announced the opening of an office in Frankfurt, Germany with a group of real estate capital markets and private equity lawyers.
In April 2016, Goodwin announced the opening of its third European office in Paris, France with a top-ranked team of six private equity and M&A lawyers. Goodwin's Chairman David Hashmall noted in an interview with The American Lawyer that the opening of the Paris office aligned with the firm's "purpose-driven growth" approach.
In 2010, Goodwin launched Founders Workbench, a first-of-its-kind open source legal advisory resource designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the legal and organizational challenges faced by startups and emerging businesses, with free start-up document creation capability. In March 2013, Goodwin launched an updated version of Founders Workbench, which now included legal documents for establishing Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and introduced new web mobile apps for managing finances and understanding relevant legal and business terms. The site has been recognized by the Legal Marketing Association, InformationWeek, and CIO.