Hawley Troxell will now have an expanded presence in Coeur d’Alene and a new presence in Spokane and Yakima as approximately 30 attorneys from Witherspoon Kelley are joining the firm. The move, announced in mid-November, is intended to expand and enhance services for clients in Idaho and across the Northwest.
“We like the fact that (the move) brings together a footprint that covers additional geographic areas but also a team of lawyers that is deep and broad. By teaming with them, we will have the depth in our corporate banking and real estate groups that really will be unmatched,” Tom Mortell, co-managing partner at Hawley Troxell, told the Idaho Business Review. “They’re outstanding lawyers. We’ve known them for years. They’re really, in our minds, some of the very best lawyers in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.”
Both firms have had some common clients over the years, such as Kootenai Health, Mortell explained.
“We see an ability to coordinate that work and to do it together, more efficiently than we could have as separate firms,” he added. “The other thing that really struck us from the beginning…we could tell that our cultures and our firms were compatible, that we shared many common values, that they were outstanding attorneys and we enjoyed being around them.”
Some of these attorneys from Witherspoon Kelley will bring additional expertise to Hawley Troxell’s already broad range of legal areas. For instance, Witherspoon Kelley attorneys in Yakima have special skill sets in agriculture and water.
Bringing on these new attorneys means “the size of deals we can do are going to be increased,” as Mortell explained. With 30 new attorneys, Hawley Troxell now has about 100 attorneys.
“We are going to have a deeper bench to be able to do more large deals at the same time,” he added.
When asked if the possibility of hiring more attorneys for the new office locations is being considered, Mortell said, “We think there’s a need for that and we plan to aggressively hire for especially Coeur d’Alene and Spokane. And we think the combined firm is going to attract strong candidates.”
The move is similar to one made in 2017, when attorneys from the second-largest firm in Idaho, Moffatt Thomas, joined Hawley Troxell.
Looking ahead, Mortell said, “The central focus of this has been about our clients and our lawyers, especially our young lawyers. We want to preserve the heritage and the tradition that we have as a firm, including the firms that have had their lawyers come and join us. We want to have a stable place for the next generation of lawyers to have an outstanding legal career.”
“Those in my generation…have benefited from the great work that the founders of Hawley Troxell Ennis and Hawley (did). We want to provide that for the young lawyers that have come after us,” Mortell added. “We feel like we’re well positioned to do that.”
And while the offices in Spokane and Yakima might be new, the dedication both firms have to their communities will not be new.
“We will have the benefit of the great relationships these attorneys have with their clients,” Mortell said. “And they’re very deeply connected to their community in all three locations, just as we are in the locations that we’re in.”
When asked what philanthropic opportunities there might be for Hawley Troxell in these new areas, Mortell said, “We have been very active in our community, serving on boards, nonprofit boards…We know that our colleagues in Coeur d’Alene, Spokane and Yakima have similar reputations for doing that. I think we are going to look at some (possible) joint efforts. We’ll bring ideas about things that we do, and they’ll bring ideas about things that they’ve traditionally done.”
One example that comes to Mortell’s mind is government affairs and legislative topics the attorneys joining Hawley Troxell have been involved in.
“There’s a lot of complementary areas there, where we can not only serve clients but also contribute to the political dialogue in a way that hopefully improves and makes it more civil and more compatible with the values we all share,” he said.
Mortell also said that Hawley Troxell has been very intentional in its growth over the past seven years, and now, with this group of attorneys from Witherspoon Kelley joining Hawley Troxell, the firm has “an outstanding opportunity to grow and strengthen our position in a market that is seeing increasing pressure from large national and international firms that want to come to places like Boise and Spokane.”
“So, being a stronger, larger firm, we can better protect ourselves against some of those market forces and better withstand some of those competitive factors,” Mortell said. “We really like that we’re a local firm; we now have strong, local presences in seven locations. We like where we are and we’re going to look for the right opportunities to continue to grow.”