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It took time to select a quality partner. But in 1890, Bicknell, a Republican, teamed with Walter Trask, a Democratic litigator, thus launching the unbroken chain of partnership that today is Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Also launched was a set of unique firm attributes. Those included selecting only quality lawyers; balancing ideas across the political spectrum; and providing powerful resources in both transactional and litigation-related legal services. More than a century later, these attributes still define today’s Gibson Dunn.
In 1897 Judge James Gibson joined the firm, thus instituting another Gibson Dunn tradition – hiring lawyers who make an impact in their communities. In 1903, in a move that created the largest firm in Los Angeles, Bicknell, Trask and Gibson merged their practice with that of former Los Angeles City Attorney William Dunn and former Assistant City Attorney Albert Crutcher. Carried out at the behest of a client in order to create a “full-service” firm, the combination was called an “experiment” in the local press. It has worked ever since. Nearly 100 years later, the press would dub the firm “The Rescue Squad” for its response and service to clients in legal need. Another article remarked that it remains easier to get into the CIA than to become a lawyer at Gibson Dunn.
The firm grew as the region grew, into both Northern and Southern California, and both nationally and internationally. By the 1970s, Gibson Dunn had offices in London and Paris. Shortly thereafter, the firm took the bold step of launching its practice in the nation’s capital and New York. Since 2000, the firm has further expanded in Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia. As John Bicknell might say, the firm has “built up a business,” based on those attributes of quality, balance and impact and on an unrelenting mission of achieving success for clients – a mission shared today by more than 1,300 lawyers worldwide.
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