Jenner & Block's 100 Year Story

History by the Decades

For more than a century, Jenner & Block has been one of the most respected and successful law firms in the United States. Since our founding in 1914, a dynamic team of extraordinary lawyers has established a legacy of achievement, public service and reverence for the law that continues to define our firm today.  This section highlights our prominent leaders and accomplishments over the years, and provides examples of our landmark litigation successes and record-setting transactions that continue to inspire the practice of law here today.  We take great pride in this rich history and remain committed to honoring it now and in the future.

The Beginning

The firm that would become Jenner & Block was formed in 1914 as Newman, Poppenhusen & Stern, a traditional corporate business firm founded by a group of lawyers who had been practicing law at other well-established Chicago firms. Jacob Newman, Conrad Poppenhusen and Henry Stern each had served prominent Chicago business clients and substantial individual clients, whose legal work they brought with them to their new firm. They primarily represented banks, investment bankers and mortgage houses, as well as industrial corporations. Each of these lawyers brought special talents and abilities to the new firm. None of them, however, could have envisioned the prominence the firm would come to achieve in the years that followed.


The firm’s principal litigator in the early years was Edward R. Johnston. The “Chief” emerged as a nationally known trial attorney as early as the 1920s, achieving success in many important cases for the firm's clients. He was the country’s most prominent antitrust lawyer of the time, forming and first chairing the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association. The Chief lived to age 97, inspiring many lawyers as late as the mid 1970s.

The Chief’s most notable early victory before the United States Supreme Court came in the landmark 1925 case of Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association v. U.S. He successfully defended against the Department of Justice’s vigorous attack that the exchange of information by trade association members was an antitrust violation. As a result of this victory, the firm attracted many other association clients and began its long history of service to clients in this field.

With the deaths of founding partners Jacob Newman and Henry Stern in late 1928, the firm needed new lawyers of their stature to help serve its growing client base. They were to find one such leader in Judge Floyd Thompson.


With no formal education after high school, Floyd E. Thompson was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1911. In 1919, at age 32, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Illinois and later served as Chief Justice of that court. After resigning in 1928 to become the Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois and being defeated in the Hoover landslide, he became a partner with the firm.

Judge Thompson was an extremely talented trial lawyer who attracted many prominent clients.  Chicago utility czar Samuel Insull retained the firm to represent him in 1934 when the federal government charged him with fraud and violations of the Bankruptcy Act. Judge Thompson successfully defended Mr. Insull in three federal and state court trials.

The practice of the firm changed as a result of the Great Depression. Many of the firm’s clients suffered financial reversals, causing the business and litigation practice to concentrate on the financial crisis of the time. Our lawyers handled many reorganizations and recapitalizations and represented creditors, bondholder committees and the like.


At the end of the Depression and World War II, a thriving business practice re-emerged at the firm through the efforts of such extremely talented and dedicated lawyers as name partners Frederick Mayer and Max Bloomstein. Mr. Bloomstein, who represented real estate syndicates and corporations involved in creating shopping centers, led the creation of the firm’s corporate, tax and real estate practices.

At the same time, the firm’s legendary prowess in litigation continued with a now-famous case.

In 1949, Preston Tucker, developer of the revolutionary Tucker car, was charged in Chicago with fraud and violations of Federal Securities Laws. Judge Thompson stepped in as the defense attorney for Floyd Cerf, the broker who handled the stock issue for the Tucker Corporation.  While the car company of the “Tin Goose” would not recover in the end, Mr. Tucker and the others were vindicated on all charges.

At the time that Judge Thompson and Edward R. Johnston achieved national prominence, Albert E. Jenner, Jr. was graduating from law school. He, too, would achieve national recognition.                                                      


Albert E. Jenner, Jr. attended the University of Illinois and its Law School, where he received his LL.B. in 1930.  He joined the firm in 1935 as an associate and became a name partner in 1955.

Mr. Jenner’s career spanned more than 50 years. He appeared before the United States Supreme Court in many cases including: Witherspoon v. Illinois; Mills v. Electric Auto-Lite; Reliance Electric Co. v. Emerson Electric Co.; Gonzales v. Automatic Employees Credit Union; and Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese for the United States of America and Canada v. Milivojevich.

Mr. Jenner also handled substantial corporate matters as a result of his long association with Henry Crown and his various business interests, including General Dynamics.

In addition to his unquestioned ability as a trial and corporate lawyer and his ability to attract clients, Mr. Jenner also served the public and the Bar. Among many other honors and commissions, he:

  • Served as reporter and draftsman for the Illinois Civil Practice Act (1931-1934).
  • Became the youngest president, at age 40, of the Illinois State Bar Association.
  • Became the eighth president of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
  • Served as senior counsel to the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
  • Served as a member of the Presidential National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.
  • Served on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Evidence and for the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.


Samuel W. Block received his A.B. degree from Yale University and his LL.B. degree from Harvard Law School.  He joined the firm upon his graduation from law school, became a partner in 1948, and a name partner in 1964. Mr. Block was an extremely effective lawyer with extensive antitrust and securities expertise. He headed the firm’s transaction practice and supervised the handling of many large estates and trusts.

Mr. Block was an excellent advocate both in litigated matters and on behalf of corporate clients.  At the time of his death in 1970, he had gained prominence in take-over matters, many years before leading New York law firms understood the practice. Mr. Block represented numerous companies in take-over matters, including Northwest Industries, Flying Tiger and Gulf & Western.

Among the many litigation victories the firm experienced in the course of the decade, Bert Jenner was most proud of its representation of William Witherspoon, who had been condemned to death for killing a Chicago police officer.  Mr. Jenner, the son of a Chicago policeman but an ardent opponent of the death penalty, argued in the Supreme Court that the death sentence of Mr. Witherspoon was invalid.  Aided by the creative, diligent work of partners Jerold S. Solovy and Thomas P. Sullivan, Mr. Jenner won a landmark victory, as the Court ruled that the jury was indeed tainted with members in favor of the death penalty due to the manner in which the members were selected.


Mr. Jenner was appointed chief special counsel to the minority of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in its inquiry regarding the impeachment of President Nixon.

A strong advocate of civil and constitutional rights, Mr. Jenner spent many years in opposition to the actions of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  The firm filed a First Amendment challenge to HUAC after it attacked the firm's client Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, a prominent Chicago heart researcher.  As a result of the Stamler case, HUAC was abolished in 1975.


In yet another landmark case, the firm represented MCI in MCI v. AT&T, which led to the break-up of the monopoly Bell System across the country.

In September 1982, Jenner & Block established an office in Washington, DC.

In 1983, Partner Jerold S. Solovy helped set an important precedent regarding commercial speech in the United States Supreme Court decision in Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp.  On behalf of his client, Youngs Drugs, Mr. Solovy successfully argued that the 1865 Comstock Act, which was enacted to prevent manufacturers of contraceptive devices from sending unsolicited advertisements through the mail, was an unconstitutional restriction of commercial speech.

Pursuant to his pro bono appointment as a special assistant attorney general in People v. Kohrig, Mr. Solovy successfully argued that the Illinois Supreme Court should uphold the state’s seat belt law, marking the first time that any state Supreme Court had so ruled on a similar state law.  His extensive civic activities in the 1980s also included heading the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County, following the federal probe Operation Greylord, which helped institute needed reform in the Cook County court system.

The decade also marked the return of two Jenner & Block partners who each served for four years as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois: Thomas P. Sullivan rejoined the firm in 1981, and Anton R. Valukas returned in 1989.


In an important First Amendment case before the United States Supreme Court, partner Bruce J. Ennis, Jr., who served as the managing partner of the firm’s D.C. office from October 1995 to May 1997, led the firm’s successful challenge on behalf of the American Library Association and other clients to an act that would have made it a crime to provide “indecent” material to minors over the Internet. Mr. Ennis argued in Reno v. ACLU that the law would infringe the First Amendment rights of adults across the country, and the Justices agreed in a landmark, 9-0 decision that established the First Amendment rights of speech over the Internet.

In another nationally significant First Amendment case led by Mr. Ennis, the firm represented ABC in its successful appeal to the Fourth Circuit of a judgment in favor of Food Lion, involving the use of concealed cameras to record alleged food handling abuses by the grocery chain.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Food Lion’s fraud claim was legally insupportable, thereby reducing the damages awarded by a jury to the nominal sum of $3 and providing a major victory for the news media.

Among many other corporate acquisitions, mergers, spin-offs and divestitures, Jenner & Block represented its long-time client General Dynamics in acquiring important new subsidiaries including Bath Iron Works, NASSCO and Gulfstream Aerospace. In addition, the firm represented Tenneco Inc. in its six-year, $25 billion corporate restructuring which ultimately resulted in the creation of several separate public companies, including Case Corporation, Newport News Shipbuilding Inc., Pactiv Corporation, Tenneco Automotive Inc. and Packaging Corporation of America.

In this decade, Jenner & Block continued its steadfast commitment to providing assistance to those in critical need.  Jenner & Block became the first Chicago-based law firm to win the prestigious Pro Bono Publico Award from the American Bar Association in 1995, and the firm was recognized as the number one law firm in the country for pro bono service by The American Lawyer magazine in 1999 in its annual “Pro Bono Honor Roll.”

In May 1997, Partner Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. was appointed co-managing partner of the firm’s D.C. office.  At the time, Mr. Verrilli, a highly regarded appellate advocate, was co-chair of the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice.  He became the sole managing partner of the D.C. office in January 2000 and served in this capacity until the end of 2002.  In 2009, Mr. Verrilli left the firm to become associate deputy attorney general of the United States.  He was then appointed deputy counsel to the president and, in 2011, was named solicitor general of the United States.


In 2000, the firm became a limited liability corporation, elected a seven-member Policy Committee headed by then-Chairman Jerold S. Solovy and appointed Robert L. Graham, chair of the firm’s Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Practice, as its managing partner.

For its client General Electric Credit Corporation (GECC), the firm won a $181 million judgment after a jury trial against DirecTV, Hughes Electronics and General Motors Corp., in a breach of contract lawsuit. The award in GECC v. DirecTV was the largest jury award in the State of Connecticut’s history.

In addition, the firm successfully represented the Boston-based Kennedy Family in Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Kennedy by obtaining a declaratory judgment against the mortgage-holding insurance company’s claim that $53 million in prepayment penalties were owed to it in connection with the sale of Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart.

The firm also represented General Dynamics and many other clients in a variety of acquisitions including General Dynamics’ $1 billion purchase of three information systems divisions from GTE and its $825 million acquisition of Motorola’s Integrated Information Systems Group, now known as General Dynamics Decision Systems.


In 2001, we obtained a tremendous victory when an arbitrator ordered that Snap-on Inc. pay SPX $44 million, resolving a patent and business dispute concerning automotive engine diagnostic machines that had lasted more than 10 years. For Paramount Pictures, the firm obtained dismissal of a defamation suit against our client in connection with its release of the popular movie Hardball.

While many large law firms cut back significantly on their commitment to public service, Jenner & Block made the decision to leave our acclaimed commitment to pro bono work intact.  As a result, The American Lawyer magazine and the National Law Journal have consistently ranked the firm's pro bono program as one of the nation's very best.


In 2002, Jenner & Block commenced an ongoing relationship with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association as the Premier Sponsor of the organization’s annual CLE Expo, which brings together talented minority and women attorneys to discuss important substantive legal issues.

Throughout 2002, we improved our service to our corporate clientele by expanding our practices and enhancing our capabilities and by adding trial, transactional and business services lawyers prominent in their fields.  We were included among the top 20 law firms nationwide in the prestigious annual National Law Journal survey, “Who Defends Corporate America,” and were recognized by the Chicago Tribune as having a “a remarkable run” with six cases before the High Court during the 2002 term.


Paul M. Smith became managing partner of the firm’s D.C. office in January 2003, and served in this position through December 2005.  Mr. Smith, who is chair of the Firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice and co-chair of the Media and First Amendment Practices, continues to serve on the Policy Committee.

In 2003, the firm helped clients close several multibillion-dollar mergers and corporate financings, including what was believed at the time to be the largest corporate issuance of securities in history. Our Litigation Practice was also characteristically active, securing client victories in courts and arbitrations in the U.S. and abroad in cases with billions of dollars at stake. Our attorneys argued seven cases before the United States Supreme Court including Lawrence v. Texas, a landmark civil rights decision widely considered the most important gay rights decision in a generation; FCC v. NextWave, in which the Court returned billions of dollars worth of wireless phone spectrum licenses to our client; and Wiggins v. Smith, which reaffirmed the importance of the right to counsel in capital cases and helped to establish meaningful standards for defense counsel’s performance.

The firm also prepared an amicus brief on behalf of 65 major companies in the U.S. Supreme Court cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, which challenged the University of Michigan’s affirmative action admission policies.  In a historic 5-4 decision, the Court expressly relied upon Jenner & Block’s brief in upholding the University of Michigan Law School’s admissions program.

The American Lawyer magazine included Jenner & Block in its inaugural “A-List” of 20 “first-tier” law firms, based on client quality and satisfaction, pro bono service, associate satisfaction and commitment to diversity.  Meanwhile, Corporate Counsel magazine's closely watched survey of “Who Represents Corporate America” revealed that our firm ranked in the Top 5 of law firms with clients who indicated that they were getting great service and great results.


We significantly expanded our intellectual property capabilities in 2004 with the addition of attorneys who previously practiced as Roper & Quigg, a prominent intellectual property trial boutique.  We closed numerous corporate deals and financings that helped our clients compete in an ever-expanding global marketplace, and played a significant role in helping several troubled companies emerge from bankruptcy stronger than ever.  Early in 2004, GSI, Inc. announced that Jenner & Block ranked in the top 20 of law firms in the nation based on total value of merger and acquisition transactions handled in 2003.

The firm and our attorneys were honored to be singled out by professional bar groups and the media for our work on behalf of our clients. Corporate Counsel magazine's 2004 “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies” survey indicated that Jenner & Block was among the top 20 law firms most mentioned by corporate America as primary litigation counsel.  For the second year in a row, Jenner & Block was the only Chicago-headquartered law firm to makeThe American Lawyer's “A-List” of 20 “top tier” law firms.

Jenner & Block received the 2004 John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award from the Illinois State Bar Association, a great affirmation of our dedication and commitment to pro bono advocacy.  The firm’s pro bono successes in 2004 included a nationally watched Baltimore housing discrimination trial victory earned on behalf of thousands of public housing residents in that city.  In his 50th year of service to the bar, partner Thomas P. Sullivan was honored with the American Judicature Society’s “Justice Award.”


In 2005, Gregory S. Gallopoulos was named the firm’s managing partner. The firm experienced an unmatched record of success in high-stakes commercial litigation and continued our significant representation of clients in transactions and other business services. Acting as co-lead counsel, our attorneys obtained the largest known jury verdict in a securities fraud case – approximately $1.6 billion – in Coleman (Parent) Holdings, Inc. v. Morgan Stanley. Jenner & Block attorneys also spearheaded anti-piracy litigation efforts on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, and won a unanimous decision on behalf of the entire entertainment industry in MGM Studios v. Grokster, the most-watched commercial case of the Supreme Court’s Term. Teams of Jenner & Block attorneys demonstrated their unique grasp on constitutional, international and military law in numerous U.S. Supreme Court briefs in “enemy combatant” cases, as well as in the representation of David Hicks and several other Guantanamo detainees in habeas corpus proceedings.

BTI Consulting Group conducted interviews with 329 corporate counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and cited Jenner & Block as a premier “Bet the Company” law firm.  Jenner & Block was named the D.C. Bar’s 2005 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year for its commitment to serving the low-income community of the District of Columbia.

The firm continued to represent General Dynamics in significant strategic acquisitions as well as other corporate clients in a broad range of M&A, securities, restructuring, finance and other transactions. We represented the Chicago Board of Trade in its execution of an innovative and complex demutualization and restructuring into a for-profit company, resulting in a public offering of securities to the Board of Trade members in April of 2005. In October of 2005, we represented the Chicago Board of Trade holding company in a very successful initial public offering of approximately $200 million of its common stock to the investing public.

Our Bankruptcy, Workout and Corporate Reorganization practice was involved in several high-profile bankruptcy and reorganizations matters for companies such as United Airlines, McDermott Inc., Protocol Services, Jernberg Industries and AmeriHost Inn Founder, Arlington Hospitality.  A team of bankruptcy lawyers led the post-bankruptcy sale of Archibald Candy Corporation, which was selected as the “Transaction of the Year,” by The Chicago Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association.

In October 2005, Jenner & Block opened an office in New York at 919 Third Avenue to enhance the delivery of the firm’s full service litigation and transactional capabilities to our existing and future global clients.


In 2006, Thomas J. Perrelli became managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and continued in that capacity until 2009, when he left private practice to become associate United States attorney general, the third-ranking official in the U.S. Department of Justice.  He returned to the firm as a partner in 2012.

Our litigators secured significant victories in 2006 on behalf of the world’s leading entertainment companies and associations, literally defining the rules of the road for revenue generation in the digital realm. We fought for the intellectual property rights of Universal Music Group and the Recording Industry Association of America, the latter leading to a $115 million recovery for recording companies around the world, which is believed to be the largest copyright infringement settlement in history.

Our Corporate Practice was engaged by leading companies such as General Motors Corporation, J.P. Morgan Securities and Alcan Inc. for strategic business transactions and SEC matters.  For longstanding client General Dynamics, our M&A attorneys closed the $2.2 billion acquisition of Anteon International Corporation.  In addition, teams of attorneys from our Bankruptcy, Workout and Corporate Reorganization; Corporate Finance; Mergers and Acquisitions; Real Estate; and Tax Practices worked closely together on complex financings and restructurings for Brown Jordan International and the portfolio companies of KPS Special Situations Fund.

Jenner & Block was named one of the legal industry’s “Power Elite” in a 2006 survey of in-house counsel conducted by the BTI Consulting Group. For the third time in four years, the firm was named to The American Lawyer’s “A-List” of 20 “first-tier” law firms.  In addition, the firm’s Litigation Department was recognized as among the country’s best in The American Lawyer’s biennial “Litigation Department of the Year” issue.

The Pro Bono Institute honored us with the John H. Pickering Award for our “unswerving commitment to pro bono service,” and the Public Interest Law Initiative presented us with the Pro Bono Initiative Award for our “unprecedented pro bono work in the community.”

Our attorneys continued to dedicate time to pro bono matters, which included the representation of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, helping public housing residents who were victims of Hurricane Katrina to return to their homes, and assisting UNIDROIT, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, in drafting a model law on leasing. For this work, the firm became the first corporate body in history that the Institute has honored as a “Corporate Correspondent.”


In 2007, Jenner & Block continued to achieve successes for clients in multibillion-dollar business disputes, False Claims Act claims, intellectual property matters and white collar defense.  Our clients’ transactional successes were highlighted by GM’s $5.6 billion sale of Allison Transmission. In addition, multiple practice groups worked seamlessly to pursue recoveries for the Adelphia Recovery Trust and the trustee of the Sentinel Management Group.

Our commitment to continuously reevaluate our services in the context of the environments in which our clients operate was exemplified by the 2007 launch of our Climate and Clean Technology Law Practice, which takes a multidisciplinary approach to issues related to climate change, green technology and sustainability. Also, we were joined by partners who previously practiced at the antitrust and complex litigation boutique of Freeman, Freeman & Salzman, as well as a number of other accomplished lawyers who enhanced key practice areas in the firm.

Jenner & Block attorneys dedicated more than 78,000 hours in 2007 to pro bono representation, a record for our firm. We also took the lead in helping the Chicago Bar Foundation raise more than $905,000 to supplement the salaries of Chicago-area legal aid attorneys through the inaugural “Investing in Justice Campaign,” chaired by Anton R. Valukas.

The firm was again named one of the legal industry’s “Power Elite” in 2007 in a survey of in-house counsel conducted by the BTI Consulting Group. We received the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s “Gold Standard,” which recognizes progressive benefits and programs that help employees lower the risk of cancer, and were honored with Equality Illinois’ 2007 Business Leadership Award in recognition of the firm’s “substantial contributions to securing or protecting equal rights for LGBT people in Illinois."

In their 53rd year of practicing law, partners Jerold S. Solovy and Thomas P. Sullivan were honored with The American Lawyer magazine’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award honored the attorneys’ extensive legal, intellectual and social contributions to the profession of law, as well as their tireless efforts to improve the manner in which our legal system protects and advances individuals’ civil rights, civil liberties and human rights.

In September 2007, Mr. Solovy became chairman emeritus and Anton R. Valukas became chairman. A former United States Attorney, Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and longtime partner at Jenner & Block, Mr. Valukas specializes in major civil and white collar criminal litigation.


In February 2008, partner Richard F. Ziegler became managing partner of the firm’s New York office. Mr. Ziegler, who concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation and government enforcement matters, previously led a department of more than 150 lawyers as senior vice president, legal affairs and general counsel of 3M Company.

In June, Jenner & Block's Washington, D.C. office was relocated to a 175,000-square-foot-office building at 1099 New York Avenue, N.W., one of Washington’s most prominent intersections.

The American Lawyer magazine recognized Jenner & Block as the top law firm in the country for pro bono service in its 2008 “Pro Bono Honor Roll.” The recognition highlights the firm’s unwavering commitment to our community and underscores the remarkable depth and diversity of our pro bono program.

In addition, Jenner & Block was named a 2008 Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers Best Law Firm for Women by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, a national consulting firm advising attorneys and legal employers on work/life balance. Jenner & Block also received the Human Rights Campaign's 2008 Corporate Equality Award in recognition of the firm's long-standing tradition of supporting LGBT civil rights.

In June 2008, Susan C. Levy was appointed managing partner.


The year 2009 began with the appointment of Mr. Valukas to serve as the examiner in the bankruptcy proceedings of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, and the firm was engaged to represent him in the massive task.  One hundred and thirty Jenner & Block attorneys, 30 paralegals and 70 contract attorneys spent a year examining 350 billion pages’ worth of emails, documents and reports and interviewing more than 250 witnesses. Later in 2009, Mr. Valukas was named Chicago Lawyer magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

In April 2009, Jenner & Block opened an office in downtown Los Angeles landmark Liberty Tower at 633 West 5th StreetWith Rick Richmond as the L.A. managing partner, the West Coast location continues our strategic growth and enhances our ability to deliver the firm’s full service litigation and transactional capabilities to existing and future global clients, particularly those who are Asia-based.

That same month, Michael B. DeSanctis became managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office.  Mr. DeSanctis is a highly regarded litigator who has been with Jenner & Block for his entire professional career.  He represents clients in the music, television and other entertainment industry sectors, leading telecom companies, and other commercial clients.

The firm was recognized for the second year in a row as the number one law firm in the country for pro bono service by The American Lawyer magazine.  We were also recognized by The National Law Journal in its 2009 “Appellate Hot List,” for a “stellar record in appellate advocacy” and being involved in the “most important appeals of the year.”  In a 2009 pro bono asylum matter, a third-year Jenner & Block associate, in her first oral argument before any court, won a landmark ruling for her client from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also in 2009, the firm served as lead M&A counsel to General Motors in the sale of substantially all of its assets to the new GM Company in connection with its Chapter 11 reorganization.  The firm’s guidance was a key factor in the success of the “Section 363” sale, which was critical to the creation of the new GM and the survival of the auto manufacturer.

Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, a national consulting firm advising attorneys and legal employers on work/life balance, named Jenner & Block a Best Law Firm for Women for the second year in the row. The firm also received a 100 percent rating for the fifth year in a row in the Human Rights Campaign’s “Corporate Equality Index” survey.

Finally, 2009 concluded with the move of the Chicago Office from its 35-year location to new 1.1 million-square-foot space in a LEED certified office tower at 353 N. Clark Street.


The year 2010 began with attention again focused on the Lehman Bankruptcy matter. The 2,200 page Examiner’s Report, prepared by Chairman Anton R. Valukas as Examiner and  team of firm lawyers who represented him, was released to the public in March, creating a frenzy of media attention. The report’s detailed revelations about questionable Lehman corporate governance procedures and accounting practices and lax government oversight led to Congressional hearings and influenced the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act and new Securities Exchange Commission and Financial Accounting Standards Board rules.  The American Lawyer named Mr. Valukas its 2010 “Newsmaker of the Year.”

Also, in 2010, the firm was, for the third year in a row, named the number one law firm in the country for pro bono service in The American Lawyer’s annual pro bono rankings. The ranking was, in part, based on our attorneys providing more than 69,000 hours of pro bono service in 2009 in a wide range of matters, from helping fledgling non-profits to representing the needy in courts across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court.  Our pro bono program was also recognized in Law360’s inaugural series on the country’s “Top Pro Bono Firms.”

The firm was named to the National Law Journal’sAppellate Hot List” for the second year in a row.  In addition, our Appellate and Supreme Court Practice chair, Paul M. Smith, received the prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities in recognition of his “substantial and long-term contributions to the furtherance of civil rights, civil liberties, or human rights in the United States."

In May 2010, Jenner & Block was named “2010 U.S. Copyright Firm of the Year” and “Copyright Firm of the Year -- West” by Managing Intellectual Property.  Co-chairs of the firm’s Creative Content Practice, Andrew H. Bart and Steven B. Fabrizio accepted the honor at MIP’s North American Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC.

The year 2010 was also another remarkable one for our transactional practices, as the firm played a key role as lead issuer’s counsel to General Motors in its $23.1 billion initial public offering – the largest IPO in global history. Our large and multidisciplinary team ably represented GM in this high-stakes effort at the pinnacle of corporate finance that resulted in the return of the iconic automaker to public trading on Wall Street.  For his role in leading the team that guided GM through its 2009 “Section 363” sale and the 2010 IPO, Corporate Department Chair Joseph P. Gromacki was chosen 2010 “Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer.


Sadly, 2011 began with the death of Jerold Solovy. He personified Jenner & Block’s tradition of vigorous representation of death row inmates and pro bono clients, as well as business clients in multi-billion dollar bet-the-company litigation. 

A record number of Jenner & Block partners and practices were recognized by Chambers USA and Legal 500 in their 2011 editions, and several partners and practices were singled out by each publication as being the best nationwide.  Our Content, Media and Entertainment, Environmental, Media and First Amendment and White Collar Defense and Investigations Practices were also ranked at “Band 1,” Chambers’ highest level of recommendation.

The firm was again honored by Managing Intellectual Property as the top “Copyright Firm of the Year,” and named a “Top Pro Bono Firm” by Law360.  The Firm’s Environmental Law Blog, which was launched in 2010, was selected by LexisNexis as a Top Environmental Law and Climate Change Community Blog for 2011.

We also continued a string of litigation successes, winning significant and sometimes groundbreaking victories for clients at both trial and appellate levels, including in the Supreme Court, as in the landmark First Amendment case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, et al.

Looking Ahead

As we look to the future, Jenner & Block attorneys will work to build on our success, using our capabilities, our knowledge and our perseverance to help our clients reach their goals, meet their challenges and fulfill their aspirations. 

To that end, we will continue to invest in the development of our attorneys, because doing so enriches our relationships with our clients and enhances our results for our clients. We will continue to hone our skills and advance our professional knowledge by publishing and teaching, because doing so helps ensure that we remain at the forefront of legal thought. And we will continue our commitment to our clients, to the legal profession, to the organized bar, and to the community, because doing so serves and honors our values, culture and tradition.

John C. Tucker, Joan M. Hall, Michael Rovell, Thomas P. Sullivan and Jerold S. Solovy

A former judge on the Illinois Supreme Court, Floyd E. Thompson joined the firm in 1928 after a failed run for Illinois governor and became a name partner in 1929.

Jerold S. Solovy with oil painting of dancer Ruth Page, a pioneering ballerina and choreographer


In 2000, Partner Thomas P. Sullivan and Sen. Paul Simon, right, co-chaired the Governor's Commission on Capital Punishment to examine the administration of the death penalty in Illinois. 

Joan Hall

Pioneering Partner Joan M. Hall counted several "firsts" in her career, including first female chair of the firm's Hiring Committee.


Partner Robert L Graham, managing partner of the firm from 2000-2004, and Chairman Anton R. Valukas.

Paul Smith

Former parter Paul M. Smith speaks to the media after his successful argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.

Sullivan and Solovy 80th B-Day

Partner Thomas P. Sullivan and Jerold S. Solovy, the firm's late chairman emeritus, both joined the firm in the 1950s.

S. Levy

 Susan C. Levy became the firm's managing partner in 2008.


Chairman Anton R. Valukas


From left: Partners Brian R. Boch, Joseph P. Gromacki and William L. Tolbert, Jr.