Winston & Strawn LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “Friendliness of the partners”
  • “Client contact as a junior associate”
  • “Feels like a small firm”

Downers

  • “2,000 hours requirement”
  • “Lack of transparency in promotions and partnership”
  • “Billable hours”

About Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn has an enviable 160+ year track record. The global law firm is comprised of 16 offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia, with a robust client roster that includes, Abbott Labs, Dell, JPMorgan Chase, Panasonic, and Verizon.

Diversifying with the Times

Winston & Strawn opened its doors in 1853 under the leadership of Harvard grad Fredrick Hampden Winston (Silas Strawn came aboard in 1892). A Beltway insider, Winston instilled in the firm's culture a proclivity to attract political heavyweights: aside from former Veep Walter Mondale, former Illinois Governor James Thompson, and ex-U.S. Attorney Dan Webb have walked Winston's halls.

Among the cases that defined the firm's evolution include devising a plan for Chicago & North Western Railroad to sell air rights to Marshall Field & Company (without losing title to the land itself), a deal that resulted in the construction of the tallest building in the world in 1930, and challenging the War Powers Act in 1944 on behalf of department store Montgomery Ward, whose plants had been seized to assist the U.S. war effort.

While Winston maintains its strong roots in the windy city as a Chicago litigation powerhouse with Webb at the helm, its diversification through lateral acquisitions and U.S. and international office openings has solidified the global presence envisioned by Thompson. The 2012 addition of a large team of litigators led by Jeffrey Kessler and others from the former Dewey & LeBoeuf has been a significant shot in the arm for the firm's New York office and a wellspring of high-profile client work across the firm. Kessler and Webb were elected Winston co-executive chairmen in November 2015.

Bringing the A-Game

NFL Players Association go-to litigator Jeffrey Kessler continues to earn notoriety for the firm (and ire from the NFL) for his representation of players such as Tom Brady, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson in high-profile arbitration hearings. As a natural extension of the firm's sports litigation practice, Winston launched one of the country's first college sports practices in October 2013, and it soon after made national headlines by filing an antitrust suit on behalf of college football and basketball players against the NCAA, challenging its long-standing policies on amateurism. The firm's multifaceted sports practice has also handled the financing for the 49ers' Levi's stadium, the acquisition out of bankruptcy of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the negotiation of endorsement deals for numerous athletes. The practice recently was named Law360's "Sports Group of the Year."

Growing at Home and Abroad

The firm has recently grown through extensive lateral hiring.  In February 2017 Winston brought in a group of lateral partners from eight different firms to open a new Dallas office, which was described in the press as a "seismic shift" in Dallas legal circles. The founding partners in this office have long served as advisors to Fortune 500 companies, private equity funds, and billionaires, including Mark Cuban. Top technology trial lawyer Kathi Vidal recently joined the firm from Fish & Richardson, becoming the Silicon Valley office's new managing partner. And on the international front, several groups of corporate attorneys joined Winston from Pillsbury in 2016, launching a new office in Dubai and adding a total of 36 attorneys among the firm's US and UK offices. In 2013 Winston opened a Brussels office focused on European Union (EU) merger control, international and national cartels, state aid, trade/sanctions, free movement and all other aspects of EU competition law.

Cornerstone Clients

Winston & Strawn has long been identified with several prominent corporate brands, and the firm represents a range of Fortune 100 companies in diverse transactions and litigation. Its work for Panasonic includes a track record of success in defending against numerous antitrust cartel investigations and litigation around the world. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Discover, Wells Fargo and other big financial institutions regularly tap Winston to handle a host of matters ranging from large corporate financings, to litigation and class actions, to investigations and regulatory matters. Abbott Laboratories has depended on the firm since the early 1990s, most notably in the defense of major product liability claims and antitrust and other significant litigation over the years. Winston has a thriving practice representing food and beverage industry companies as well. The firm recently was named Law360's "Food & Beverage Group of the Year" for its representation of such companies as Diamond Foods and Jim Beam in consumer "mislabeling" class actions, and TreeHouse Foods in corporate deals.

IN THE NEWS

Ongoing
Group Mentality

Winston and star sports litigator Jeffrey Kessler continue to play a key role in precedent-setting cases for athletes up and down the bench like the wage discrimination case filed by the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team and the landmark antitrust suit over student-athlete grant-in-aids. And while "Deflategate" ultimately resulted in Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension, Winston's earlier win for the NFL Players Association in this case of alleged ball deflation will benefit all players going forward. "It's very much a group mentality in terms of what we're trying to achieve in many of these player cases," Kessler recently told Lawdragon.

May 2017
All About the People

Winston is among the first BigLaw firms to create a Chief Talent Officer role, which was recently filled by nationally recognized talent strategy expert Sue Manch. She wrote the book (several, actually) on recruiting, mentoring, retaining top legal talent, and training for professional and leadership development. She will oversee all aspects of the firm's talent development structure. In describing her new job to Bloomberg Big Law Business, Sue said "I help align the firm's business strategy - the things it wants to do with its talent, the way it recruits, the way it trains, develops and retains its very best people."

April 2017
Cross-Border Collaborators

Attorneys in Winston's New York, Chicago, San Francisco, DC, London, Paris, and Hong Kong offices formed a global, cross-practice team to help consumer goods packaging company Silgan Holdings (NASDAQ:SLGN) ink its $1.025 billion acquisition of the dispensing systems business of WestRock Company (NYSE:WRK). The target business operates 13 plants in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia that supply triggers, pumps, sprayers, and dispensing closure solutions to major branded consumer goods product companies in the home, health, and beauty markets.

February 2017
Let it Go! Let it Go!

A Southern District of New York judge told Party City shareholders to "let it go," dismissing their securities class action against Winston clients Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley. The shareholders sued the lead underwriters of Party City Holdco's $427 million IPO claiming that the registration statement and prospectus understated the company's dependence on sales of Walt Disney's "Frozen" film merchandise. In dismissing the complaint, with prejudice, the judge ruled that plaintiffs failed to establish any connection between brand comp sales and Party City's aggregate business.

Dallas Dream Team

Winston's opening of a Dallas office with 21 founding partners from eight different firms has been described in the press as a "seismic shift" in Dallas legal circles. This unique approach brought together a "dream team" of attorneys who have long served as strategic business and legal advisors to Fortune 500 companies, private equity funds, and billionaires, including Mark Cuban, in one of the nation's fastest-growing commercial hubs. According to a Dallas attorney not involved with the office, "This is the equivalent of starting a firm with an Olympic all-star team."

August 2016
Big W for Low T

Winston secured a big win for Actavis Laboratories (now Teva Pharmaceuticals) after a nine-day patent infringement trial in the Southern District of Indiana. This complete victory, which received widespread media attention, paves the way for Teva to launch the first generic version of Eli Lilly's Axiron® drug used to treat conditions associated with low testosterone ("low T"). In its ruling, the court credited many of the admissions extracted by the Winston team on cross-examination from plaintiffs' own experts.

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Winston & Strawn LLP

35 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 558-5600

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Firm Chairman: Thomas P. Fitzgerald
  • Hiring Committee Co-Chairs: Suzanne Jaffe Bloom and Bill O’Neil
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 880

  • Base Salary
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    7th year: $300,000
    8th year+: $315,000
    Summer associate: $3,461/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    64 out of 64 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust/Competition • Appellate & Critical Motions • Corporate & Financial • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation • Energy • Environmental • Government Regulations & Regulatory Affairs • Health Care • Intellectual Property • International Arbitration • Labor & Employment • Litigation • Maritime & Admiralty • Real Estate • Restructuring & Insolvency • Tax • Trusts & Estates

Major Office Locations

  • Charlotte, NC • Chicago, IL • Dallas, TX • Houston, TX • Los Angeles, CA • New York, NY • San Francisco, CA • Silicon Valley • Washington, DC • Brussels • Dubai • Hong Kong • London • Moscow • Paris • Shanghai