McDermott Celebrates 40 Years of Excellence in Boston

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International law firm McDermott Will & Emery first opened its doors in Boston on October 1, 1981.

This year marks 40 years of excellence in our dedication to the legal practice in Boston and adopting our core values—innovation, teamwork, diversity, serving the community and #AlwaysBetter—as part of our everyday work.

Harvey Freishtat, founding partner of the Boston office and former Firm chair, reminisced: “What I liked most about being part of the McDermott team in Boston, particularly in those initial years, was a feeling that we were building something very special—with the help of a very large firm—and that we were all in it together. Every voice mattered, each of us mattered, and that’s what I think gave us the very special flavor and culture to be able to grow as well as we did.”

The Boston office’s culture has often been attributed to Harvey’s leadership, laying a foundation that fosters inclusivity, growth and great success.

Today, Boston is led by Office Managing Partner Ed Zacharias. “At McDermott, we celebrate hard work and excellence; we emphasize happiness and encourage a rich, full life in- and outside the office. It’s all part of our #AlwaysBetter mantra, as we strive to bring our best to our clients and to each other every day,” Ed said. “At our core, the fundamental values that were in place when I started 15 years ago still remain, and I think that’s why people stay.”

Since opening, McDermott has been through three office moves and grown significantly in size. In January 2020, the Boston office relocated to 200 Clarendon Street, the former John Hancock Tower. This location spans Floors 57 and 58 with unobstructed views throughout, reflecting our vibrant, high-energy and transparent culture while also supporting evolving needs and a flexible work environment.

Firm practice groups represented in Boston include Healthcare, Intellectual Property (IP Litigation and IP and Patent Trademark Services), Litigation (White-Collar & Securities and Trial), Regulatory (Privacy & Cybersecurity and Alcohol and Distribution), Tax (Employee Benefits + Executive Compensation, State & Local Tax and US & International Tax) and Transactions (Corporate and Energy).

Our Boston lawyers are some of the leading practitioners in their respective fields. In Chambers USA’s 2021 rankings, 11 Boston-based partners were recognized and notably six partners were ranked Band 1. McDermott is the only firm to have an elite ranking for its healthcare practice, again earning Band 1 in USA – Nationwide Healthcare. Also top-ranked is our white-collar practice (Band 1) in Massachusetts.

Pro Bono

McDermott’s Boston office has been at the forefront of the Firm’s robust pro bono initiatives. Through 134,000 pro bono hours, we have provided legal counsel, support and funds to many local and national organizations, including:

  • American Heart Association
  • Greater Boston Food Bank
  • Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)
  • Milagros para Niños
  • Political Asylum Immigration Representation Program
  • Silver Linings Mentoring
  • Youth Villages

In August, the Boston office received GBLS’ Associates Drive Innovator Award for its creative fundraising strategies in the 2021 Drive, having raised over $11,000 for domestic violence survivors.

McDermott Rise, a program launched in 2020 that provides free legal services to 20 entrepreneurs of color each year, was born out of an idea by a Boston-based associate. To date, the total member value of the McDermott Rise program has exceeded $14 million.

“The Boston team is all in, and you feel that—from our staff professionals to our partners. Being part of a team that is really empowered to do their best work makes everyone want to show up and give it their all every day,” Linda Mangini, chief of administration, said.

About McDermott


McDermott Will & Emery partners with leaders around the world to fuel missions, knock down barriers and shape markets. Our team works seamlessly across practices and industries to deliver highly effective—and often unexpected—solutions that propel success. More than 1,200 lawyers strong, we bring our personal passion and legal prowess to bear in every matter for our clients and the people they serve.

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