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SEPTEMBER 3, 2020 – When the industry that he has served for decades came up against unprecedented hardship this year, Riley Lagesen, head of the national restaurant industry practice group at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, sprang into action.

  • He joined his longtime client, the celebrity chef Guy Fieri, to launch the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which has raised more than $23 million and provided grants to over 40,000 impacted employees.
  • He raised further awareness and support for the industry by creating and co-producing the Nacho Average Showdown, starring Fieri, Bill Murray, Carla Hall, Terry Crews, and Shaquille O'Neal, which aired May 15 via the Food Network on Facebook Live.
  • He co-chaired a restaurant opening group for Los Angeles, the city where he first fell in love with the restaurant business as an employee and owner.

For these efforts and more, Lagesen was recognized as a Trailblazer in "Crisis Leadership" by the National Law Journal. He and the other Trailblazers were profiled in a special section of the NLJ that published this week.

Based in Portland, Lagesen has built one of the preeminent restaurant law practices in the country, with a high-profile roster of clients and a team of over 70 attorneys. As the COVID crisis persists, Lagesen continues to help lead federal, state, and local legislative efforts on matters of greatest importance to restaurants. He's currently leading a new initiative to bring food justice to Black communities across the U.S.

About Davis Wright Tremaine
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is a national law firm with more than 550 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit