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Unprecedented risk, innovation & opportunity

Perkins Coie Large, well-established law firms rarely take chances, especially big, innovative ones. So two of the chances Perkins Coie took in the past 27 years stand out like blazing beams from a lighthouse on a dark and stormy night. One involved making business attorney Bob Giles

big part of which is balancing personalities and

’74 the finance partner in 1984, and then two

egos. “I have a pretty thick skin,” said Giles. “And

years later promoting him to managing partner.

I listen to varying opinions and perspectives and

The appointment made then-36-year-old Giles

make a decision in the best interest of the firm.”

the youngest managing partner at a major law firm. And while the position of managing partner is usually short term, Giles — who had originally planned to earn an M.B.A. instead of a law degree — found he enjoyed the practice of running the firm, and Perkins repeatedly renewed his contract. In fact, Perkins issued Giles a one-year contract for 19 years, then decided to increase his job security by switching to a four-year contract.

earlier and involved the firm’s rapid growth in the mid-1970s. “When I joined the firm in 1974, we only had one office and that was Seattle,” Giles said. “The first office outside of Seattle was Anchorage in 1977, and then D.C. in 1979.” Giles holds a copy of the Perkins history book written to commemorate the firm’s 100th anniversary this year. “If you go back to the history of the firm, for

“I’m now in my second four-year term,”

the first 50 to 60 years, four clients represented

laughed Giles.

60 percent of our work. And that was Boeing,

It’s fair to ask why, as most lawyers don’t exactly stand in line for the job of managing partner, a


Perkins’ other chance to take a risk had come

incorporated by Perkins in 1916; Puget Power, originally Stone and Webster — our longest active client — we’ve represented them for our entire

UW Law Alumni Magazine, Fall 2012  

UW Law Alumni Magazine, Fall 2012

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