Wilkson Stekloff Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson was recognized among the National Law Journal’s 2023 Trailblazers for General Litigation. This prestigious award spotlights individuals who have moved the needle in the legal industry.
Beth has served as lead counsel in over 50 jury trials, including numerous bet-the-company, multibillion-dollar cases, earning an unrivaled record of victories in federal and state courts throughout the country. The National Law Journal’s award recognizes Beth’s fresh and pragmatic approach to complex antitrust litigation.
“Often, and especially in antitrust matters, parties believe that the economist with the most complicated model will win. We have taken a different approach,” Beth told the National Law Journal. “Rather than get bogged down in technical minutiae or economic jargon, we have worked to explain market realities in an accessible, commonsense manner that resonates with the factfinder and reinforces our core themes.”
Beth was lead trial counsel for Microsoft in the FTC’s challenge to the company’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision — the second-largest merger in history and the biggest involving a technology company. Securing a groundbreaking victory for Microsoft, Wilkinson Stekloff defeated the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the transaction after a five-day bench trial that began less than two weeks after the FTC filed its federal court complaint. Beth directed all aspects of litigation strategy from the time the acquisition was announced in January 2022, positioning the case for a federal court victory on an unprecedented timetable. As a result of her work on the case, the American Lawyernamed Beth “Litigator of the Week” and described Wilkinson Stekloff as “the legal equivalent of an elite special ops unit.”
Beth has a long record of success handling high-profile antitrust cases for clients who want to litigate with an eye toward trial rather than settlement. In 2021, she served as lead trial counsel for Altria Group, Inc. in an administrative trial related to the FTC’s antitrust challenge to Altria’s $12.8 billion minority investment in JUUL Labs. A February 2022 ruling by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell dismissed the FTC’s case in its entirety. And in June 2023, the FTC dismissed its complaint against Altria as not in the public interest.
In discussing her work on the Microsoft and Altria matters, Beth emphasized the firm’s ability to handle any trial, regardless of the subject matter or complexity. “I hope these results will reinforce that message,” she added.