- Pro Bono#1
“Genuine commitment to pro bono work”
“The culture is welcoming”
“Excellent, brilliant colleagues”
“Ambiguity surrounding billable-hours requirement”
From its Windy City roots, Jenner & Block has grown to a firm of more than 500 lawyers in offices in Chicago; London; Los Angeles; New York; and Washington, DC. The client roster is a blend of established corporate institutions—including General Dynamics, General Electric, and General Motors—and trendy players in the worlds of business, the arts and entertainment, and technology.
Windy City Roots
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, the firm 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 for powerhouse litigation.
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. Later, 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 the controversial minority counsel to the House Judiciary Committee investigating whether to impeach President Nixon over Watergate. When the Republicans ousted him for his apparently pro-impeachment stance, the Democrats named him assistant majority counsel.
With more than 400 litigators and dispute lawyers, the firm has leading international litigation and arbitration practices. The firm has made a name for itself handling high-profile investigations, including an internal investigation and report for General Motors Company about events leading up to ignition switch recalls. Jenner also obtained a non-prosecution agreement for United Airlines following accusations that certain executives initiated a United flight route at the demand of, and in order to personally benefit, the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York. Other recent litigation wins include a $940 million jury verdict on behalf of Epic Systems Corporation in a trade secrets case, a $13 million-plus jury verdict in a dispute over John Steinbeck copyrights, and a win on behalf of Northwestern University and its retirement plan that saved the university potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. Jenner’s appellate team is responsible for victories at appellate courts of all levels on a variety of issues and has recorded more than 100 arguments before the US Supreme Court, including a landmark win for LGBT-rights in Lawrence v. Texas.
While the firm is most known for its litigation prowess, Jenner’s corporate department is no slouch either. The firm’s reputation continues in the transactional area with recent high-profile deals including General Dynamics $9.6 billion acquisition of CSRA, Lonza Group AG’s $5.5 billion acquisition of Capsugel S.A., and U.S Food’s $1.175 billion initial public offering. The practice is oriented around M&A but covers an array of complex transactions and counsels for a wide range of clients, from large public companies, to middle-market and emerging companies, closely held family businesses, and private equity and other funds and investors.
IN THE NEWS
Jenner & Block is participating in the second phase of a program designed to close the gap in leadership roles for women and minorities in large law firms. Under the Mansfield Rule, law firms pledge that women and minorities will make up at least 30 percent of candidates for any leadership or governance position. The second phase of the program—Mansfield 2.0—expands the initiative to include LGBT lawyers. In addition, participating firms will measure the participation of underrepresented lawyers in client pitch meetings and make their appointment and election processes transparent to all lawyers in the firm.
Jenner & Block won its fourth case before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2017-2018 term with a victory in Sveen v. Melin. It was also the seventh Court win for Partner Adam G. Unikowsky, who argued the case on behalf of petitioners Ashely and Antone Sveen. The dispute concerned “revocation-upon-divorce” statutes and whether the Constitution’s Contracts Clause permits such statutes to be applied to life insurance policies that were purchased before the statutes were passed. On behalf of the Sveens, Mr. Unikowsky successfully argued that that the statutes can be applied retroactively.
Jenner & Block won a victory for Northwestern University when a judge dismissed with prejudice a proposed class action that accused the university of mismanaging workers’ retirement savings. The plaintiffs asserted six counts for breach of fiduciary duty and one count for failure to monitor fiduciaries. Regarding their complaint that the range of investment options was too broad and that the fees charged by some funds were too high, Judge Jorge L. Alonso wrote: “Once again, the Court cannot conclude that these allegations add up to a breach of fiduciary duty.”
April 2018 and June 2017
For the fifth consecutive year, Jenner & Block in April 2018 was named to The National Law Journal’s “Pro Bono Hot List.” The firm was one of only seven law firms across the United States selected for this recognition. In June 2017, the firm was recognized as the No. 1 law firm in the country for pro bono service by The American Lawyer magazine. That marked the eighth time the firm achieved the top spot in The American Lawyer’s annual survey of pro bono commitment among Big Law firms.
Jenner & Block obtained a victory for Princeton University, one of its students, and Microsoft Corporation when U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled that the federal government’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful. As a result, the government will be required to accept new DACA applications and issue renewals unless the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can provide a valid rationale for ending the program or win an appeal within 90 days.
Jenner & Block launched a FinTech industry group, expanding the firm’s strong reputation in advising clients on complex financial services and consumer-related matters. Anchored by a team of experienced former government officials, prosecutors, and in-house counsel, the practice focuses on advising FinTech companies and businesses that rely on financial technology to navigate challenges in this increasingly complex area of commerce.
Jenner & Block is known for its ability to secure major litigation victories for clients from the trial level through the United States Supreme Court; for its sophisticated corporate transactional practice; and for its unyielding commitment to public service. Clients from around the world trust Jenner & Block with their most complex and challenging matters.
Our mission is to exceed our clients’ expectations every day by providing the highest caliber legal counsel and advice; to contribute to the legal profession; to maintain our long tradition of public and community service; and to provide an unrivaled environment for superior talent. Located in Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC, our more than 500 lawyers offer substantial experience across a broad range of legal areas. Throughout our more than a century of service, we have grown because of our dedication and unwavering commitment to our clients, to the bar, to our people and to public service. Leading independent outlets have recognized us as an elite law firm and among the top-tier firms most committed to pro bono service throughout the profession. The firm was named to the 2016 American Lawyer A-List, which recognizes the 20 top-performing AmLaw 200 firms across the United States based on financials, pro bono, diversity and associate satisfaction/quality of life metrics. This was the sixth time the firm has been on the A-List since it was created by AmLaw in 2003.
353 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: (312) 222-9350
Employer Type: Private
Managing Partner: Terrence J. Truax
Hiring Attorney: Charlotte L. Wager
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 500
1st year: $190,000
Summer associate: $3,653.85/week
39 out of 39 (2Ls) (2018)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Appellate and Supreme Court Practice
Aviation and Aerospace
Communications, Internet & Technology
Complex Commercial Litigation
Content, Media & Entertainment
Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
Environmental and Workplace Health & Safety Law
Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation
Insurance Recovery and Counseling
Investigations, Compliance and Defense
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patent Litigation and Counseling
Privacy and Information Governance
Restructuring and Bankruptcy
Securities Litigation and Enforcement