SEATTLE, WASH. (JAN. 21, 2015) – Seven attorneys joined Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (DWT) today as members of the firm’s government contracting, litigation and construction practices. Six of these attorneys came from the Seattle office of Dorsey & Whitney and they are: partners Lisa Marchese, Traeger Machetanz, James E. Howard, and Jonathan A. DeMella, and associates Nathan Rouse, and Kate Kennedy. Christine V. Williams, who most recently served as vice president and general counsel of the Bering Straits Native Corporation, has also joined DWT as a partner. Each of the partners will spend a significant amount of time working out of DWT’s Seattle and Anchorage offices, with Williams officially based in Anchorage and all the others in Seattle.
Jeff Gray, who became DWT’s managing partner on Jan. 1, said the addition of this group directly supports the firm’s recently updated strategic plan. “We are committed to adding great lawyers to build on what we do best, and following our recent expansion in the New York office in the tax-exempt organizations and employment/labor practices, these additions take us to a new level in three core areas of our firm.”
“I’m excited to bring our team together with DWT and for us to be able to work closely with Christine Williams. Government contracting is a highly regulated and complex area of law,” said Marchese. “DWT understands this and offers a wealth of complementary and supporting practice areas across the West and East Coasts and in Alaska. We look forward to continuing to build the firm’s position in these markets and beyond.”
“It is not often such an outstanding group of attorneys is looking for a new home, and we are thrilled to have them on board,” said Rob Maguire, chair of DWT’s commercial litigation practice. “They bring many years of experience in guiding clients through the complex regulatory structure that controls the government contracting process, litigating significant contract disputes, and representing Alaska Native Corporations and their subsidiaries located throughout the United States. This group’s capabilities will provide great value to our many clients who work with government entities and increase our strong construction and commercial litigation depth.”
Lisa Marchese is one of the Northwest’s leading commercial litigators. She has tried to verdict over 100 jury trials in both state and federal courts. While at Dorsey, she was the head of its Seattle and Anchorage Trial Departments. She brings to DWT more than 27 years of litigation expertise, which includes trying complex cases involving construction claims, government contracts, commercial disputes, and product liability matters. She also has extensive experience before Boards of Contract Appeals, arbitration panels, federal and state government boards, and other tribunals throughout the United States.
Marchese is listed as one of America’s Leading Business Lawyers by Chambers USA (Litigation: General Commercial), listed in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation and Construction Law, and was named one of the Top 50 Washington Women Super Lawyers. She is on the Board of Directors for the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Association. She is also active with the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest. Lisa earned her B.A. degree summa cum laude from Catholic University of America, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was on the Law Review.
Traeger Machetanz has deep experience in construction and government contracts litigation in Alaska and throughout the United States, frequently appearing in courts, boards of contract appeal, agency hearings and arbitrations. He also advises owners, general contractors, and subcontractors on bidding, contract negotiation and formation, government compliance, and dispute resolution, and has given numerous speeches to trade groups on these topics. He is listed by Best Lawyers in America and as a Washington Super Lawyer. He received his B.A. from Willamette University and his J.D. from the University of Washington. Prior to joining DWT, he was a partner at the Dorsey & Whitney and Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker firms in Seattle and Anchorage.
James E. Howard has an extensive background in complex commercial litigation with a focus on class actions, contract matters, franchise matters, government litigation, and securities. He joined Dorsey & Whitney in 2005 as an associate and became a partner in 2008. Prior to that, he was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (2002-2005). Before Skadden, he was a trial attorney in the Attorney General’s Honors Program, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and a law clerk for the late Cornelia G. Kennedy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Howard was recognized as a "Future Star" by Benchmark Litigation for 2015 and is listed as a Washington Super Lawyer. He received his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his J.D., summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School, where he was also Executive Editor of the Notre Dame Law Review.
Jonathan A. DeMella focuses his practice on government contracts counseling and litigation, including performance disputes, bid protests before the GAO and FAA, size and status protests before the SBA, civil fraud under the False Claims Act, procurement ethics, mandatory disclosure, and compliance with SBA laws and regulations, including those specific to Alaska Native entities.
DeMella also conducts complex internal investigations, corporate compliance reviews, and in-house training programs for clients across the United States. He was a partner at Dorsey for the past year, and before that a partner at Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP, first joining that firm in 2006. He was an associate in the government contracts counseling & litigation group of the Washington, D.C. office of Sidley Austin (1999-2005). He also clerked for the Hon. Christine O.C. Miller, U.S. Court of Federal Claims. DeMella just completed a term on the board of governors for the Board of Contract Appeals Bar Association, and continues to serve as secretary for the National Contract Management Association, Puget Sound Chapter. He has a dual B.A. in philosophy and political science from the University of Connecticut, and a J.D. cum laude from American University, Washington College of Law. He also participated in the American University Law Review.
Before joining the Bering Straits Native Corporation as vice president and general counsel last year, Christine V. Williams was a partner at Perkins Coie LLP in Anchorage (2009-2014) and an attorney at Patton Boggs LLP in Anchorage (2005-2009). At both firms, she practiced with the government contracting and/or construction groups. Williams is widely recognized for her expertise in government contracting and speaks nationally several times a year on the subject. She also counsels companies on the procurement and administration of government contracts across all agencies. She has especially deep experience in the SBA and Section 8(a) programs. This breadth and depth of experience has served her clients well, including her Alaskan Native Corporation clients, who perform on government contracts throughout the U.S. and globally for a variety of agencies.
Born and raised in Alaska, Williams is a past president of the Anchorage Association of Women Lawyers and continues to serve on that board. She was appointed by the Alaska Supreme Court to serve on the Court’s Fairness, Diversity, and Equality Committee. She is also an adjunct instructor teaching a master’s level class on government contracting at Alaska Pacific University as part of its Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program. She earned her B.A. from the University of Alaska and her J.D. from Santa Clara University.