Most Highly Regarded Firms: Illinois 2008 – Competition

Our research indicates that Illinois is not short of high-quality antitrust lawyers with multiple firms having built up exceptionally strong teams in the state.

Such is the desire for top-tier antitrust counsel that a number of firms have entered the chapter thanks to high-profile lateral hires in the past 18 months. In total, 29 lawyers from 16 firms make the grade this year. The individuals on the following pages counsel and litigate on behalf of an extremely diverse client base and can be called upon to advise on matters relating to the laws concerning cartels, monopolisation and mergers. We have also chosen to profile a number of lawyers who work on the plaintiff's side, whether in the context of class actions or on behalf of companies seeking redress for anti-competitive behaviour. It is also evident that the skills of the professionals we identify here are required not just within the state but also on the national and often international stage.

There have been multiple moves since the previous edition with a number of lateral hires including Robert Robertson's high-profile return to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a trial attorney. Mayer Brown LLP, however, has maintained a consistent presence from one edition to the next with four leading lights once again appearing in the chapter. The firm boasts a broad-based competition practice that is strong on both sides of the Atlantic. The firm ranks 19th in the GCR 20, an analysis of the world's leading competition law practices conducted by our sister publication Global Competition Review. Lee Abrams continues to perform well in our findings, with one prominent corporate counsel labelling him "one of the bedrock guys for antitrust in Illinois" ,while a competitor remarked, "Lee is one of the deans of the Illinois antitrust Bar". Abrams's litigation credentials were consistently recommended in the antitrust and franchise sectors and his expertise also extends to counselling. Representative clients include General Motors, Ford, Eastman Kodak, Sears Roebuck and the United States Golf Association to name but a few. The "very strong" Andrew Marovitz comes recommended by a variety of sources on both the domestic and international scene. Marovitz is one of five practice leaders in the firm's worldwide litigation group and among other matters represented BASF in one of the largest price-fixing cases ever filed - In re Vitamin Antitrust Litigation. The "terrific" Mark McLaughlin once again puts in a strong performance and his "very solid" reputation leads to recommendations from clients and peers alike. Highlights include counselling telecoms group Dobson Communications on its acquisition by AT&T. Robert Finke is another "first-rate" individual practising at Mayer Brown's Chicago office. "I have done a lot of work with him and he's one of the very best" , said one leading competitor. Finke's antitrust counselling is held to be particularly noteworthy.

Sidley Austin LLP is also ever-present in our latest research. The firm has a strong international network of offices and in the US key clients include First Data Corporation, Johnson & Johnson and AT&T - for whom the firm obtained antitrust and regulatory approvals for its acquisition of BellSouth. John Treece is, according to sources, the "cream of the crop of the Chicago antitrust Bar" and his performance in our findings backs this up. The "exceptionally smart" Treece has worked for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft and AstraZeneca - whom he is currently representing in the high-profile "product hopping" or "product life-cycle" case. Tom Ryan along with Treece, coordinates the firm's global antitrust and competition practice. Ryan was another consistent performer in our research, with superlatives such as "outstanding", "first-rate" and "top-tier" used in conjunction with his name. Both his litigation and counselling work were brought to the attention of researchers with one respondent to the survey recalling the "excellent job" Ryan performed while the two were on a case together. Jack Bierig completes the trio with a raft of recommendations from clients and peers. Bierig is said to be particularly strong for health-care and IP-related matters, and representative clients include the American Medical Association, the College of American Pathologists and the American Dental Association.

Baker & McKenzie also features prominently in the GCR 20, taking 12th place in the annual survey. With 268 antitrust specialists across its network of international offices, the firm boasts the world's second-largest antitrust practice. Recent highlights for its US group include representing Pilgrim's Pride in its hostile acquisition of Gold Kist. They also represented Hospira on its US$2 billion of Mayne Pharma, the generic drug supplier. The Chicago office maintains a strong position in this year's chapter with three highly rated individuals making the cut. According to sources, "the firm was strengthened significantly when Busey and Campbell joined" from Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP and this is reflected in the nominations they received. Roxane Busey, a former chair of the ABA's antitrust section, comes recommended as "excellent for health care" and is said to be "very experienced" and an "excellent speaker and counsellor". Thomas Campbell is similarly well regarded and is "very well known" on the antitrust scene according to sources. Campbell comes recommended as "an experienced antitrust litigator and counsellor" and, like Busey, is particularly active in the health-care sector. William Linklater is a past president of the Chicago Bar Association and a member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). Rivals rate him as "one of the finest criminal antitrust lawyers in the state, if not the country".

Robert Robertson recently left Kirkland & Ellis LLP to return to the US FTC as a trial attorney. Despite the loss of such a high-profile figure to the public sector, the firm maintains an excellent reputation in the field with respondents to our survey noting, "the firm is very strong in the area" and "all the folks at Kirkland are excellent". James Mutchnik comes recommended as an "experienced criminal antitrust attorney" and he is a prolific author and orator on the subject. Andrew Langan is another K&E partner "at the very top of the profession". Rated by sources as a "fantastic litigator", he emerges as one of the most nominated individuals in the state. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP boasts two vastly experienced practitioners on the following pages - Robert Joseph and Alan Silberman. "Both excellent lawyers", they have built up a formidable reputation in the field. Joseph has more than 35 years' experience litigating and counselling on antitrust, trade and franchising matters and emerges as one of the most respected names in the area. A former chair of the ABA's section of antitrust law his work on In re Corrugated Containers Antitrust Litigation was noted on more than one occasion with one prominent source remarking "he is someone I really enjoy working with." Silberman chairs the firm's national antitrust, marketing practice, franchise and distribution group with one respondent to our survey noting, "you can't go wrong with him." Silberman has also chaired the ABA's section of antitrust law and his work in the insurance sector was noted. He is also national counsel to BASF in In re Prescription Drug Antitrust Litigation and the related state court actions pending throughout the US.

Joel Chefitz joined McDermott Will & Emery LLP from Howrey LLP in January 2007 and heads the Chicago office's securities litigation practice group. An "intense and talented" litigator, he is said to be "first-rate for antitrust and securities". Representative clients include Wyeth, TWA, Chicago Bulls and the state of Illinois to name but a few. Partner David Marx heads the firm's Chicago antitrust and competition group and "does a great job for his clients". His work in the health-care sector is said to be particularly noteworthy. Winston & Strawn LLP is another firm boasting a strong duo in the final chapter. Duane Kelley is a fellow of the ACTL and a "fantastic trial lawyer" according to sources. His work as lead trial counsel in the FTC challenge of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare's merger with Highland Park Hospital was mentioned to researchers on a number of occasions. Mark McCareins is rated as an "outstanding business litigator with a strong antitrust subspeciality". McCareins is the current vice chair of the advocacy committee of the ABA antitrust section, and representative clients include Abbott Laboratories, Monsanto, Smurfit-Stone Container and Western Union, to name but a few.

Eimer Stahl Klevorn & Solberg LLP was founded in July 2000 and offers clients high levels of expertise when it comes to complex commercial litigation and counselling. Nathan Eimer, one of four founding partners, is "extremely strong" and "an excellent trial lawyer" according to rivals. He focuses his practice on complex litigation and antitrust, including criminal investigations and proceedings. Eimer is currently lead counsel in a multi-district litigation attempting to hold a number of companies liable under the Sherman Act for the activities of OPEC. Fellow founding partner Andrew Klevorn comes rated as "excellent" and, like Eimer, previously practised at Sidley Austin LLP. Highlights include representing Kimberly-Clark Corporation in its successful defence of a class-action suit alleging price fixing in the sale of commercial tissue products.

Freeborn & Peters LLP is a new entry this year thanks to the strong showing of Jeffery Cross and David Gustman in the research. Cross works extensively with Canadian companies and represented Falconbridge in the Department of Justice investigation into its proposed merger with Inco. He has also worked on matters relating to the linen, acid, nickel, oil, petroleum and pharmaceutical sectors and one corporate respondent to our survey recommended him as "an excellent litigator and counsellor". Gustman chairs the firm's executive committee and highlights include acting as lead counsel for one of the defendants in In re Sulfuric Acid Antitrust Litigation. Sources also recommend him for Hart-Scott-Rodino work.

Michael Sennett joined the Chicago office of Jones Day from Bell Boyd & Lloyd LLP in October 2007, leading one rival to note "the firm's antitrust capabilities in Chicago were significantly strengthened thanks to his hire." Sennett boasts a "significant practice" and counsels clients on transactions and investigations before the DoJ, FTC and state attorneys general and in antitrust litigation matters. Rated as "a leader in the profession", he was praised by one corporate source as a "very good guy and a law professor on the side". Jenner & Block LLP's antitrust capabilities were enhanced when Lee Freeman joined from the antitrust and complex litigation boutique Freeman, Freeman & Salzman. Freeman co-chairs the firm's antitrust and trade regulation practice and is known as "an excellent plaintiff lawyer". He is also active on the defence side. Michael Freed left Much Shelist Freed Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein PC in January 2007 to found class-action firm Freed Kanner London & Millen. Freed undertakes "mostly plaintiff work and knows his stuff", according to one leading local corporate source. Paul Slater co-founded Sperling & Slater in 1976 and is primarily known for his plaintiff work, although he does undertake defence cases. He is hailed as a "very talented" and "exceptionally smart" lawyer. William Hannay at Schiff Hardin LLP was praised as a "very fine antitrust lawyer for both litigation and transactions". Hannay's work at the intersection between regulation and antitrust was noted, and the start of 2008 has seen him counselling clients on distribution networks. Representative clients come from industries such as health care, public utilities, printing, steel, pumps, sports teams and steel drums. Stephen Landes at Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon LLP is a new entry this year and one corporate source noted, "he's an excellent lawyer and did a great job for us." Landes was consistently recommended and counsels clients on antitrust compliance issues, criminal investigations and issues that arise post-acquisition. Scott Mendel chairs the antitrust and trade regulation department at Bell Boyd & Lloyd LLP and appears in the publication for the first time this year. Clients come from the construction, manufacturing, gas and health-care sectors, among others, and he also represented a major health-care company in a nationwide class action.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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