Riley founded and chairs DWT’s national restaurant industry practice group and is considered a leading business and legal force in the United States restaurant industry. He represents many of the nation’s most recognized brands and culinary talent and has significant experience with financing transactions of all types, including private equity, family office, and high net worth individuals. He is also known nationally for his development acumen and connections and assists many concepts with navigating traditional and non-traditional development strategies, including franchises, joint ventures, licenses, and management agreements.
He leads approximately 60 professionals on DWT’s restaurant team, which he specifically formed due to his many years as a restaurant employee, manager, and owner in Los Angeles prior to entering the practice of law. He collaborates extensively with restaurant leaders and elected officials around the United States on forward-thinking food policy initiatives.
As the creator and driving force behind the not-for-profit and invitation-only Restaurant High business, leadership, and advocacy summit, Riley galvanizes industry leaders through a day of education, networking, and fun with many of the most influential minds in the business.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Riley is leading multiple efforts to protect the restaurant industry, restaurant owners and restaurant employees. He and his team work behind the scenes on critical federal, state, and local restaurant relief legislation drafting and advocacy. In addition, he co-founded the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund ("RERF") with his long-time client Chef Guy Fieri and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ("NRAEF"), which to date has raised more than $23m and provided over 40,000 grants to impacted restaurant employees. In connection with these efforts, he created and co-produced the Nacho Average Showdown, a livestreamed nacho team competition between Fieri and Bill Murray and their sons, Homer and Hunter. Food Network star Carla Hall emceed the show with Terry Crews and Shaquille O'Neal as judges. In September 2020, Riley was recognized by the National Law Journal as a 2020 Crisis Leadership Trailblazer for his work on behalf of restaurants during the pandemic.
DWT Restaurant Team Services Led by Riley:
Private equity, finance (including private and public securities and commercial finance), franchising, real estate, employment, labor, benefits, intellectual property, marketing and advertising, tax, immigration, liquor, food safety, food products litigation, business litigation, estate and succession planning.
Admitted to Practice
J.D., Lewis & Clark Law School, 2003, cum laude
B.F.A., Filmic Writing, University of Southern California, 1993
Memberships & Affiliations
- Creator, Restaurant High
- The Kitchen Community Learning Gardens Program
- Guy Fieri’s Cooking with Kids Foundation
- Coach, CYO Track & Field
- Recognized as a Trailblazer in "Crisis Leadership" by the National Law Journal, 2020
- Named as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Corporate/M&A (Oregon) by Chambers USA, 2020; Named a "Recognised Practitioner" in Corporate/M&A (Oregon), 2016-2019
- Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Leisure and Hospitality Law by Best Lawyers, 2019-present
- Received the "H. Stewart Tremaine Award for Exemplary Team Work," Davis Wright Tremaine, 2015
- Listed on "The Power List: Reader Picks," by Nation’s Restaurant News, 2015-2016, 2018
- Selected to "Oregon Rising Stars" in Business/Corporate/Franchising, Thomson Reuters, 2009, 2013