2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Culture, culture, culture.”
“Flexibility to work from home.”
“100-hour pro bono cap towards billable requirement.”
“Not enough transparency from leadership about partnership prospects.”
About Winston & Strawn LLP
From its 19th century Chicago roots, Winston & Strawn has grown to a global law firm of nearly 1,000 attorneys across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Winston is particularly known for its work in IP, labor and employment, renewable energy, sports law, and white collar.
Diversifying with the Times
The firm that became Winston & Strawn opened its doors in the Windy City in 1853 under the leadership of Harvard grad Fredrick Hampden Winston, who played a vital role in Chicago’s emergence as a powerful business and financial center. Winston would leave the practice in the hands of his son Frederick Seymour Winston in 1885 to become the American Minister to Persia under Grover Cleveland. Silas Strawn joined the firm in 1892 and practiced there for the next 53 years, including 40 as managing partner.
The late 20th century saw the firm balloon from double to triple digits. And in recent years, the firm has relied on lateral hires—including a group of litigators from former Dewey & LeBoeuf in NYC and strategic lateral partner hires in Dallas—to continue its growth.
Cornerstone Practices and Clients
Winston practices across a range of sectors, including financial services, technology/media/telecom, health and life sciences, energy, and consumer products. Winston’s robust client roster includes Abbott Labs, Cisco, Dell, Motorola, TreeHouse Foods, and several top private equity firms.
Winston 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 numerous antitrust cartel investigations and litigations around the world, including defeat of a major consumer price-fixing class action. 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. NFL Players Association go-to litigator Jeffrey Kessler has earned notoriety for the firm (and ire from the NFL) for his representation of players such as Tom Brady, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Ezekiel Elliott in high-profile arbitration hearings.
Winston isn’t focused only on bringing in all-star attorneys; it also is committed to bringing in top talent to promote professional development and wellness. With talent strategy expert Sue Manch at the helm, the firm has put together a talent team that includes a career coach, diversity and inclusion professional, and professional trainer. The firm offers multiple outlets for attorneys to develop professionally and personally, including Winston University training programs, the Winston for Good Corporate Social Responsibility program, Diversity & Inclusion affinity groups for Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ, and women attorneys, and Winston Wellness initiatives focused on attorney mental health.
News & Awards
Chairman Tom Fitzgerald recently told The American Lawyer that Winston is poised to hit the $1 billion in revenue mark in 2019. In addition to growing its client base in key market sectors, the firm is back on the lateral recruiting trail that brought more than 100 new partners to Winston in 2017-2018. Already this year, the firm has made key lateral moves in Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC.
Winston Partner Tom Melsheimer’s broad courtroom experience—the basis of his 2018 book On the Jury Trial—helped Dr. William Daniel “Nick” Nicholson win the sole acquittal in a $40 million health care fraud trial that netted guilty verdicts against seven other defendants. Melsheimer told Law360 that the Winston team focused on making sure the jury did not lump “Doctor Nick” with the other defendants tangled in the trial’s web. The Am Law Litigation Daily also took note of this impressive win.
Winston Appellate Chair Linda Coberly has been getting a lot of attention for her role in efforts to achieve ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, including commentary for CNN, a profile in Crain’s Chicago Business, and a spot on the Campus ERA Day panel featuring actress Patricia Arquette. Working with activists and Winston lawyers, Linda helped bring about Illinois’ historic ratification of the ERA and continues to advocate nationally as chair of the ERA Coalition’s Legal Task Force.
Winston house band Jimmy’s Brother was profiled in the Daily Journal after serving up the winning performance at the Law Rocks San Francisco competition for the third year running. The band “three-peated” as both overall champion and judges’ award winner, raising nearly $27,000 for charity. Jimmy’s Brother, which includes attorneys from both coasts, has been invited to play at the Law Rocks 10th anniversary show in London.
- Won a $1 billion jury verdict for Monsanto in a biotech patent trial, the sixth-largest patent verdict of all time.
- Won three-time denial of class certification for Panasonic in In re Lithium Ion Batteries, a massive MDL claiming $1.7 billion in damages.
- Represented The Wicks Group of Companies in its sale of a majority stake in portfolio company Gladson, a leading content platform, to The Jordan Company following Gladson’s sequential acquisitions of FSENet+, Webcollage, and Nutritionix.
- Represented fixed and floating rate note purchasers and bank lenders in the $850 million financing for the construction of the 49ers’ Santa Clara football stadium.
- Benchmark Litigation: Six partners named to “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America” 2019 (firm tied for 1st place for total number of attorneys included), and seven partners named to “Top 250 Women in Litigation” 2018
- The Deal: No. 10 in Private Equity and No. 32 in M&A in 2018 year-end rankings
- The American Lawyer Summer Associate Survey: Chicago and Los Angeles offices ranked No. 1 in 2016, 2017, and 2018
- Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF): Named a “Gold Standard Firm” for 2018
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation: Named a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” for 11 years in a row (2008-2019)
35 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 558-5600
Firm Chairman: Thomas P. Fitzgerald
Hiring Committee Chairs: Bill O’Neil
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
750 - 1K
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: $3,653/week
Summer Associate Offers:
61 out of 61 (2Ls) (2019)
No. of Summer Associates:
77 total (61 2Ls; 16 1Ls) (2019)
Lisa A. McLafferty
Director of Attorney Recruiting & Development
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Silicon Valley, CA
Appellate & Critical Motions
Complex Commercial Litigation
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Energy & Environmental
Labor & Employment
Maritime & Admiralty
White Collar, Regulatory Defense & Investigations
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.