Embarking on its second century of service,
the firm now known as Jenner & Block was founded in 1914 as
Newman, Poppenhusen & Stern by a trio of lawyers with big-name
Chicago firm pedigrees. In its early years, the firm advised the
city's banks, mortgage houses and blue-collar corporations. Once
the 1920s roared around, however, Jenner & Block took on a
decidedly more high-profile identity as litigator Edward Johnston
developed into one of the nation's foremost antitrust attorneys.
With a victory in the landmark 1925 U.S. Supreme Court case of
Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association v. United States,
in which he dismantled the Justice Department's argument that the
exchange of information by trade association members constituted a
violation of antitrust law, Johnston cemented the firm's reputation
in that practice area.
Johnston proved to be the first of a string of
legal stars who propelled the firm through the heart of the 20th
century. Judge Floyd Thompson, a former Illinois Supreme Court
chief justice, brought big-name clients to the firm, just as the
Great Depression's onset forced the firm to shift its focus from
transactions and litigation to such countercyclical practices as
restructuring (sound familiar?). Later, firm partner Albert Jenner
ascended to the nameplate, securing his legacy thanks in large part
to an enduring friendship with enterprising industrialist Henry
Crown. Jenner, an antitrust and securities specialist at heart,
later drew attention for his dogged criticism of the House
Committee on Un-American Activities; the firm challenged the body's
actions after it persecuted a client in a case that ultimately led
to the committee's dissolution. Jenner was also a controversial
member of the House Judiciary Committee investigating whether to
impeach President Nixon over Watergate. The Republicans ousted him
for his apparently pro-impeachment stance.
Jenner & Block again grabbed headlines in
the 1980s, when it represented MCI in its lawsuit against
AT&T-the firm's victory contributed to the forced breakup of
the monopolistic Bell System and the subsequent spin-off of the
so-called "Baby Bells." Somewhere in all that document review and
courtroom sparring, Jenner & Block lawyers opened shop in the
nation's capital. The firm greeted the 21st Century by reorganizing
as an LLC (although it is now an LLP), placing management decisions
in the hands of a now 11-member policy committee.
Jenner & Block continued to grow. In 2004,
the firm coaxed a group of patent litigators away from IP trial
boutique Roper & Quigg in a move that preceded the
establishment of a Manhattan office in 2005, designed to bolster
its litigation and transactional services to global players. In
2009, during the nation's recession, the firm opened its fourth
office, this one in Los Angeles. In April 2015, Jenner & Block
opened an office in London, its first international office and one
that solidified the firm's already global reach.
In May 2014, partner Terrence J. Truax, who
was a co-chair of the firm's Patent Litigation and Counseling
Practice, took over the managing partner reins from Susan Levy when
she joined Northern Trust Corporation to serve as its executive
vice president and general counsel.
Susan had been the first woman managing
partner in the firm's history, and one of the few female managing
partners in the AmLaw 100. Terry has played a key role in
the development of the firm's Japan Practice and has won accolades
for his substantial pro bono indigent criminal defense work, in
keeping with the firm's core-value emphasis on pro bono and public
Jenner & Block has embraced change as of
late, to echo a line from an even more famous Chicagoan. The client
roster is a blend of old-timey corporate institutions, including
General Dynamics, General Electric and General Motors, and trendy
players in the business world, such as recording companies and
artists, video game industry clients and other copyright holders.
The firm also has made a name for itself handling high-profile
investigations; it was particularly in the spotlight a few years
ago when it represented its chairman, Anton Valukas, in his role as
court-appointed examiner in the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy. In 2014,
the firm was hired by the New Jersey legislature to investigate the
so-called "Bridgegate" scandal that embroiled leadership in Gov.
Chris Christie's administration.
As Jenner & Block began its second century
of service in 2015, it pushed its front door beyond the United
States and opened an office in central London. The office provides
the firm with a strategic foothold in one of the financial capitals
of the world and enables it to better serve clients with
international needs. At the outset, the London office focused
on litigation; regulatory investigations, enforcement and
white collar crime; and international arbitration. Ultimately, the
office will also handle clients' transactional needs.
Joseph P. Gromacki,
chair of the firmwide Corporate Practice, and partners Mercedes M.
Hill and E. Lynn Grayson led the firm team that represented Archer
Daniels Midland in two major transactions: the US$1.3 billion sale
of its cocoa business to Singapore-based Olam International Limited
and the US$440 million sale of its global chocolate business to
Cargill. For his work on the transactions, The American
Lawyer named Mr. Gromacki a 2015 "Dealmaker of the
Year." An article in Inside Counsel spotlighted Ms.
Hill and Ms. Grayson for their key roles in the deals.
The Human Rights Campaign once again included
Jenner & Block in its list of "Best Places to Work for LGBT
Equality" in 2014. This was the 10th consecutive year that
the firm achieved a 100 percent rating on the HRC's Corporate
Equality Index, which measures policies, practices and diversity
efforts relating to LGBT workers. In 2005, Jenner & Block
was the first Chicago-headquartered law firm-and only the fourth
law firm nationwide-to receive the HRC 100 percent
In 2014, The American Lawyer magazine
again ranked Jenner & Block as the No. 1 firm in the country
for pro bono service-the fifth time the firm had done so in the
previous seven years and the sixth time overall. The firm has
been among the leading 10 pro bono programs nationwide every year
since the AmLaw survey began in 1990. The 2014 top
ranking was achieved through a combination of logging 175 average
pro bono hours per attorney and having 87 percent of our attorneys
contribute more than 20 hours to pro bono matters.
Terrence J. Truax was elected managing
partner, effective May 1, 2014. Mr. Truax joined Jenner &
Block as an associate in 1988 and was promoted to partner in 1997.
A former co-chair of the firm's Patent Litigation and
Counseling Practice, he has represented clients from around the
world in a variety of IP, antitrust and other complex commercial
litigation matters and has played a key role in the development of
Jenner & Block's Japan Practice. Mr. Truax succeeded
Susan C. Levy, when she joined Northern Trust Corporation to serve
as its as executive vice president and general
The firm helped secure a U.S. Supreme Court
victory for television broadcast clients in a high-profile
copyright infringement case against online streaming service Aereo,
Inc. The Court ruled that Aereo's retransmission of copyrighted
over-the-air programming without broadcaster authorization violates
copyright law. For their work on Aereo, partners Richard
Stone and Amy Gallegos received California Lawyer's
prestigious CLAY award; Variety named Gallegos, Stone and
partner Julie Shepard to its 2015 list of top entertainment
lawyers; and the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily
Journal also noted the case in naming Gallegos, Stone and
partner Andrew Thomas among 2015's "Top IP Litigators."