May 18, 2015

Jenner & Block Partner Catherine L. Steege was selected as one of 75 of the nation’s most accomplished female lawyers in the profession today as part of The National Law Journal’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers” feature. 

In making their selections,NLJ editors evaluated hundreds of nominations submitted from around the country by law firms, corporations, nonprofit organizations and law schools.  They ultimately chose these top women lawyers based on several criteria, including:

  • Development of successful practices, especially new areas of law or practices typically dominated by men;
  • Attainment of professional leadership roles;
  • Performance in significant cases, including those that resulted in key, often precedent-setting rulings, victories at trial and significant settlements;
  • Influence and stature in the public sector, including high-level government work;
  • Representation of the underserved or indigent;Demonstrated efforts to improve diversity in the profession.

As co-chair of the firm’s Bankruptcy Litigation Practice, Ms. Steege has shown leadership in each of these areas.  In 2014, she presented oral arguments before the US Supreme Court in Wellness International Network v. Sharif, a case that could clarify the powers of nearly 1,000 federal bankruptcy court judges and one that stems from a 2011 Supreme Court decision involving late Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith.  Ms. Steege was again at the high court when she assisted with the briefing in Law v. Siegel, a case in which the Supreme Court, in a 9-0 decision, ruled for her pro bono client in a decision that addressed the equitable powers of the bankruptcy courts.

Ms. Steege also successfully represented the American Airlines’ Section 1114 Retiree Committee in fending off an attempt by the airline’s parent company, AMR Corp., to terminate more than $1.3 billion in health and life insurance benefits for nearly 47,000 retirees.  Also in 2014, she represented Emerald Casino Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee Frances F. Gecker, prevailing after a three-month federal trial and winning $272 million in damages for the client.