Sedgwick has come a long way from its modest beginnings as a two-attorney law firm to our current status as an international trial firm with 15 offices, dozens of practice areas, and approximately 370 attorneys worldwide.
The firm that would become Sedgwick LLP was founded in 1933 in San Francisco and continued to grow through the 1930s and 1940s, expanding its service offerings and solidifying its reputation as a trial and litigation firm. The 1950s represented the emergence of the first multi-plaintiff consumer litigation. Sedgwick was chosen to represent Cutter Laboratories in the polio vaccine lawsuits that filled the courtrooms during most of the 1950s. The firm name Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold was adopted in 1959 and shortened to Sedgwick LLP in 2011.
During the 1960s and ’70s, multiplaintiff litigation led to mass tort litigation involving class actions, and multidistrict and market share litigation. Sedgwick was repeatedly selected as lead counsel to represent local, regional and national interests in these cases. In 1979, we opened our Los Angeles office in order to serve an expanding Southern California client base.
The 1980s saw rapid expansion of our firm, fueled by that decade's economic boom and an increasingly complex business and legal environment. New practice areas were added to complement our traditional general litigation practice, including: product liability, toxic tort, drug and medical device litigation; construction; environmental; employment; entertainment; healthcare; insurance and reinsurance; intellectual property law; and corporate and transaction practices.
In February 1985, our New York office was opened to serve clients in the areas of fidelity and surety law and pharmaceutical product liability litigation. As corporate markets became increasingly global in nature, we opened an office in London in 1985. In 1988, our firm expanded its Southern California presence with a new office in Orange County. We rounded out a decade of growth by opening an office in Chicago in December 1989.
Our office in Newark, New Jersey, opened in January 2001 to provide complex class action and mass tort litigation services for industrial, chemical and pharmaceutical clients. Our second office expansion in 2001 was marked by our entry into the Dallas market.
In 2006, we increased our presence in Texas by opening offices in Austin and Houston to serve our media, entertainment and sports clients. Both offices have since added attorneys with extensive experience in both commercial, mass tort and environmental resources litigation.
Our Fort Lauderdale office opened in 2009. The attorneys in that office extended the firms existing product liability, intellectual property, commercial, media and class action capabilities into the Southeast.
2011 saw the expansion of our firm into the Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic regions with the opening of our Seattle and Washington D.C. offices. Sedgwick's Seattle attorneys focus on product liability, insurance and commercial litigation with an emphasis on matters related to aviation, consumer products and toxic torts. Our D.C. attorneys have extensive experience in complex litigation with an emphasis on product liability, environmental, commercial tort and regulatory matters.
Our most recent expansion has been the addition of a second South Florida location. In 2013, we opened our Miami office, which focuses primarily on complex personal injury defense cases and commercial litigation.
Sedgwick’s geographic platform and broad-based practice areas allow us to serve our clients nationally and worldwide.