With litigation as its largest practice group,
Chicago-headquartered Schiff Hardin has grown into a national law
firm that counsels local, regional, national and international
Navigating the Windy City
Founded in 1864 as Hitchcock & Dupee when the Windy City was
just a little breezy town, Schiff Hardin has undergone 21 name
changes before landing at its current moniker. In 2014 the firm is
proudly celebrating its 150th
anniversary. It grew with Chicago-in 1872 the firm
worked with the city to install steam-powered cable cars to replace
horse-drawn carts, later securing Chicago Transit Authority as one
of its clients. By the roaring twenties, Schiff Hardin had
developed corporate and financial practices for energy and public
utility companies in the area.
In 1974 the firm moved into Chicago's Sears Tower (now known as
Willis Tower), and three years later branched out by opening an
office in Washington, DC. In the 1980s and 90s the firm was at the
forefront of new developments in trademark and trade secrets law,
and in 1991 the firm opened an office in New York City as a gateway
to international clients. In 2003, the firm entered the Southeast
U.S. by opening an office in Atlanta. In 2007, Schiff Hardin merged
with a San Francisco-based firm to open an office in California,
and in 2012 the firm added an office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Schiff Hardin in 2013 significantly expanded its East Coast
offices by combining with two local boutique law firms-one in New
York City and one in Washington, DC.
Today, litigation is Schiff Hardin's largest practice group,
with concentrations that include toxic tort, insurance class
actions and reinsurance disputes. And with clients like Newell
Rubbermaid Inc. and Dorel Industries Inc., Schiff Hardin has also
negotiated some weighty mergers and acquisitions. But not all of
its cases have such corporate gravitas: the firm represented Warner
Brothers Studio in May 2011 when it was sued by Mike Tyson's tattoo
artist after the boxer's face tattoo was replicated without
permission in The Hangover Part II.
Sports in the Heartland
Still headquartered in Chicago, the firm is knee deep in Midwest
sports law. Schiff Hardin represents the NCAA and the Chicago
Bears. The firm served as the Bears' counsel for the financing and
governmental relations worked involved in the renovation of Soldier
Overturning Wrongful Convictions and Leading in
Schiff Hardin's managing partner, Ronald Safer, worked for ten
years in Chicago's United States Attorney's Office, home to the
legal team that successfully prosecuted a very prominent street
gang. Safer also lent his legal expertise to Northwestern Law's
Center on Wrongful Convictions when he helmed a pro bono team that
freed Julie Rea Harper, a mother wrongfully convicted of murdering
her 10-year-old son. He and a Schiff Hardin team also spearheaded a
similar effort in Indiana for Kristine Bunch, who served 16 years
in prison for a wrongful conviction in the death of her young son.
In 2012, thanks to Safer and the Schiff Hardin team, the Court
dismissed charges against Bunch and she was released from prison.
In addition, Safer spearheaded the firm's attempt to improve its
diversity track record and was most successful in doing so, as
evidenced by awards including the prestigious 2012 Thomas L. Sager
Award for the Midwest Region.