November 18, 2009

Jenner & Block Chairman Anton R. Valukas has been named Chicago Lawyer magazine’s 2009 Person of the Year.

In the cover-story profile on Mr. Valukas, the magazine recognizes his decades-long record of being a tireless advocate for his clients, both corporate and pro bono, and for his unwavering devotion to the highest ideals of the legal profession.  Chicago Lawyer hailed him as a “powerhouse in the legal community” and as someone who is a “born leader who leads by way of example.” 

The article chronicles Mr. Valukas’ career, from serving as assistant director of the National Defender Project which established legal aid programs across the country, to serving as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, to his career in private practice at Jenner & Block handling complex commercial litigation and white collar defense matters.

Referencing his active legal practice, the magazine notes that in early 2009, Mr. Valukas was appointed as the Examiner in the Lehman Brothers Holdings bankruptcy, reputed to be the largest such case in U.S. history.  The magazine also notes his recent work serving as lead trial counsel for American Airlines in litigation surrounding the November 2001 crash of Flight #587.  It also references Mr. Valukas white collar defense and investigations work, including serving as lead counsel for General Motors in a recent SEC investigation and settlement.

Chicago Lawyer also details Mr. Valukas’ special commitment to pro bono and public service, including his leadership of the Firm’s volunteer efforts and support of Fairfield Academy, a public school in Chicago where a majority of the students are at or below the poverty line, and his work over several decades mentoring three individuals from Chicago’s Cabrini Green public housing projects.

Mr. Valukas “does things for the sake of doing good,” Fairfield Principal Else Rubio told Chicago Lawyer.  “He will never draw attention to himself of any of the things he does.”

The feature also references his role as the inaugural chair of the Chicago Bar Foundation’s successful “Investing in Justice” Campaign to support the work and supplement the salaries of Chicago’s 250 legal aid attorneys.  In discussing the Mr. Valukas’ leadership of the campaign, Chicago Bar Foundation Executive Director Bob Glaves told the magazine that, “we needed someone with a lot of stature and credibility on all fronts, as a leader in a firm, a lawyer, someone walks the walk on these issues.”

In profiling Mr. Valukas, Chicago Lawyer received comments from his peers at other large law firms, judges and leaders in community organizations.  Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke told the magazine that “Tony is a living hero whom we should all emulate.  Tony has always lived by a strong code of ethics, and he has spent his career advancing the values of honesty, integrity, and justice for the good of all.”

Mr. Valukas is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is a member of Jenner & Block’s seven-member governing Policy Committee.  He graduated from Lawrence University in 1965, and Northwestern University School of Law in 1968.

Mr. Valukas is the third Jenner & Block partner to be recognized by Chicago Lawyer as a “Person of the Year.”  In 2007, Chairman Emeritus Jerold S. Solovy was recognized by the magazine.  In 2004, Partner Thomas P. Sullivan was recognized by Chicago Lawyer. 

Please click here to view Chicago Lawyer’s profile of Mr. Valukas.