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San Francisco-based Washburn, Briscoe & McCarthy, a 34-attorney firm specializing in energy, environment and natural resources work, is merging with Portland, Ore.-based Stoel Rives. Effective Oct. 1, the combined firm will have 370 attorneys in 10 offices. For the first year of operations the California offices will be identified as “Stoel Rives LLP, a Combination with Washburn, Briscoe & McCarthy” and thereafter go under the Stoel Rives name. The deal comes one year after Washburn’s plans to merge with former San Francisco law firm Landels, Ripley & Diamond fell through. After six partners left Landels, Washburn squashed the deal and Landels subsequently went out of business. The deal with Stoel will expand Washburn’s practice areas and capabilities, while giving Stoel a presence in California. The merger will not result in any layoffs. “Everything will remain intact,” said Washburn Managing Partner Sandi Nichols, who will continue to manage the firm’s California offices. Nichols said Washburn had been looking for a partner in the Northwest because the region offers significant work in its core practice areas. “Stoel is in our field, has excellent clients and brings to bear a greater depth and breadth of experience than a small firm like us can offer,” Nichols said. She added that while Washburn can attract attorneys at the partner level, “it’s not to the degree we need to serve our clients.” Nichols will continue to serve as managing partner of the California offices. Washburn was founded in 1978 by Edgar Washburn and two other partners from Landels. Its practice areas include energy/project finance, natural resources, real estate and land use law and litigation. Washburn’s clients include Calpine Corp., Pacific Lumber Co., Tosco Corp. and the state of Alaska. Washburn had gross revenue of approximately $12 million last year. Stoel had gross revenue of $107.5 million in 2000, ranking it 137th on the list of top-grossing U.S. law firms compiled by Recorder and law.com affiliate The American Lawyer. Profits per partner were approximately $325,000. One of the largest firms in the Northwest, Stoel Rives has roots going back to 1883. While it has gone under several names, it took on its current formulation following the 1979 merger of two Portland firms. A full-service outfit, the firm’s primary practice areas are corporate securities/finance and energy. Its clients include Enron Corp., Micron Technology Inc., Nike Inc., and PacifiCorp Power Marketing. Stoel Rives has offices in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Boise, Idaho; Washington, D.C.; and Vancouver, Wash. It will acquire Washburn’s offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno and Tahoe City, Calif. The firm established a toehold in the Lake Tahoe, Calif., region last year through an alliance with the Hoffman Law Offices of Tahoe City. That office focuses on real estate. “It’s hard to be a legitimate West Coast firm without an office in California,” said Stoel’s firmwide managing partner, Stephen Kenyon. Looking to expand into the region, the firm considered other firms but ultimately picked Washburn. “The practice fit is great and the culture is extremely compatible,” Kenyon said. Nichols also emphasized the compatibility between the two firms. She said several large, well-known firms in San Francisco and on the East Coast had approached Washburn about a possible merger. “They were not a good fit in core competence or culture,” Nichols said.

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