Winston & Strawn

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Winston & Strawn LLP
Winston & Strawn LLP
Headquarters Leo Burnett Building
Chicago, Illinois
United States
No. of offices 18 total, 9 international
No. of attorneys 900 (2009)
No. of employees approximately 2,000 total
Key people Dan K. Webb (Co-Chairman)
Jeffrey L. Kessler (Co-Chairman)
Thomas P. Fitzgerald (Managing Partner)
James R. Thompson (Senior Chairman)
Revenue $1 billion +
Date founded 1853
Founder Frederick H. Winston
Company type Limited liability partnership

Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with more than 850 attorneys among 18 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1853, it is the oldest law firm in the city of Chicago.


Winston & Strawn LLP was founded in Chicago in 1853 by Frederick H. Winston, who was joined by the firm's other name partner, Silas H. Strawn, in 1894.

In the past two decades, a series of mergers, office openings, and lateral hires has resulted in a global law firm spanning 15 offices across the United States, Europe and Asia. Throughout its history, Winston & Strawn has handled many significant, high-profile matters for its clients, including its organizing the Union Stockyard and Transit Company in 1894; challenging the War Powers Act in 1944 on behalf of department store Montgomery Ward; and representing the Atlanta Braves baseball franchise in 1966 litigation involving its relocation from Milwaukee to Atlanta. More recently:

  • Representing Luxottica Group S.p.A. in myriad acquisitions, including its $1.6 billion hostile takeover of U.S. Shoe Corporation, owner of LensCrafters, in 1995 and its recent $2 billion acquisition of Oakley[2]
  • Assisting Barr Laboratories to invalidate a key patent on Prozac in a case Fortune magazine calls "the mother of all patent challenges"[3]
  • Achieving a decisive victory for Microsoft Corporation in the remedy phase of its battle against federal and state antitrust claims[4]

Pro Bono and Community Service[edit]

Winston & Strawn was one of the first large law firms in the country to adopt a written pro bono policy in 1991, to become a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge,[7] to establish a well-funded charitable foundation, and to hire a full-time Director of Public Interest Law.

The firm's Pro Bono Policy was revised in 2004 to incorporate Winston's 150th anniversary Pro Bono Pledge to devote at least 35 hours per lawyer to pro bono work each year. Winston has provided representation in matters involving community economic development, criminal defense, First Amendment/free speech, contested guardianship, landlord/tenant, not-for-profit corporate organization, political asylum, post-conviction relief in death penalty cases, and public assistance.[8]

Among other things, the firm has devoted hundreds of hours helping the Innocence Project, a nationally-recognized advocacy organization that seeks to exonerate persons convicted of criminal offenses based on DNA evidence. The firm's collaboration with the Project has been immensely successful, involving hundreds of attorneys, paralegals, IT staff, summer associates, and others at the firm, so that more than 200 persons who were wrongfully convicted have now been exonerated.

In 2008, the firm led the Chicago Bar Foundation's ground-breaking "Campaign for Justice," which was a city-wide effort to raise more than $1 million to support the city's 250 public interest lawyers and the 40 legal aid organizations they work for.

Winston & Strawn provides financial support to civic and charitable organizations through the Winston & Strawn Foundation.


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