Five Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Included in 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America

Lawdragon has named five Wilkinson Stekloff partners to its 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America. The 500 honorees were selected through submissions, journalistic research, and input from editorial advisors. The annual distinction covers the best of the best in all practice areas.   The Wilkinson Stekloff 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers are Beth Wilkinson, Brian Stekloff, Rakesh Kilaru, James Rosenthal, and Kosta Stojilkovic.

Wilkinson Stekloff Secures Dismissal of FTC Antitrust Complaint Against Altria Group 

Wilkinson Stekloff served as lead trial counsel for Altria Group, Inc. in an adversarial administrative proceeding before the FTC. The FTC alleged that Altria and JUUL Labs, Inc. (JLI) violated the antitrust laws through Altria’s purchase of a minority interest in JLI and was seeking to require Altria to divest.    On February 24, 2022, a ruling by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell dismissed in their entirety claims by the FTC that Altria and JLI violated antitrust laws through Altria’s $12.8 billion purchase of a 35% interest in JLI. The FTC sought to require Altria to divest its interest in JLI in a three-week-long adversarial administrative proceeding last summer. At trial, Beth Wilkinson handled opening statements and examined multiple high-profile witnesses, including Altria’s current and former CEO, Altria’s general counsel, and both sides’ economic experts. Moira Penza led the presentation of the scientific evidence and examined Altria’s scientists. The Wilkinson Stekloff trial team also …

2021 Year In Review

WASHINGTON — In 2021, despite ongoing pandemic-related delays and challenges, the Wilkinson Stekloff team continued to litigate with the intensity and success that has cemented our reputation as the leading trial boutique in the country. In a year where trials remained scarce, WS tried two high-profile cases in 2021:  WS served as lead trial counsel for Altria Group, Inc. in an adversarial administrative proceeding before the FTC. The FTC alleged that Altria and JLI violated antitrust laws through Altria’s purchase of a minority interest in JLI. At trial, Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson handled opening statements and examined multiple high-profile witnesses, including Altria’s current and former CEO, Altria’s general counsel, and both sides’ economic experts. WS Partner Moira Penza examined Altria’s scientists, and WS Partner James Rosenthal played a central role in strategy and legal briefing. After a single day of deliberation in October 2021, a jury delivered the first-ever verdict for Monsanto in litigation over whether the herbicide Roundup causes …

Wilkinson Stekloff Welcomes New Class of Associates

Wilkinson Stekloff is pleased to announce the addition of eight associates. The new class is the largest and most diverse in the firm’s history.  “Cases are won by teams who share different perspectives but are united by a common commitment to excellence. We are proud to have recruited some of the best and brightest young lawyers to form the largest and most diverse class Wilkinson Stekloff has had the privilege of welcoming since our founding in 2016,” said Beth Wilkinson, founding partner, Wilkinson Stekloff.  “We are excited to have this talented group join our team,” added Wilkinson Stekloff Founding Partner Brian Stekloff. “Our attorneys appear in front of jury pools that represent all of America and our lawyers need to reflect that. It is critical for us to hire diverse attorneys and give them meaningful trial experience and client exposure.” The WS team reflects the firm’s ongoing commitment to talent …

Wilkinson Stekloff Delivers Pre-Trial Win for Medtronic and Covidien in Hernia Mesh Litigation

A U.S. District Court Judge handed down a decisive victory for Medtronic and Covidien in litigation arising from claims that one of their hernia mesh products has design and manufacturing defects, and that the company provided inadequate warnings about the risks of the hernia mesh. Wilkinson Stekloff Founding Partner Brian Stekloff led the victory in Northrup v. Covidien (C.D. Cal.) by obtaining key admissions from Plaintiff’s expert that were quoted extensively in the Court’s opinion dismissing the case. Brian Stekloff also led oral argument before Judge Dean Pregerson on Defendants’ motions to exclude the opinions of Plaintiff’s expert and for summary judgment. Judge Pregerson agreed with Defendants’ arguments, and, on November 24, ruled that all of Plaintiff’s expert’s opinions were inadmissible under Daubert and that Plaintiff’s claims could not proceed in the absence of admissible expert support. Judge Pregerson dismissed the case in its entirety. Northrup v. Covidien had been set to go to trial …

Wilkinson Stekloff Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson Recognized as 2021 Power Player by Sports Business Journal

Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson has been recognized as a 2021 Power Player by Sports Business Journal. Beth has been lead counsel in over 50 jury trials, including numerous bet-the-company, multibillion-dollar cases. Her work on high-stakes, headline-making sports matters is particularly well known . Beth has handled some of the most significant litigation shaping professional and college sports today, including serving as lead trial counsel for the NCAA in antitrust lawsuits brought by current and former student-athletes challenging NCAA rules limiting the compensation student-athletes may receive. In addition, Beth was lead counsel for the NFL, its 32 member teams, and NFL Enterprises in a putative class action lawsuit challenging the NFL’s multibillion-dollar exclusive distributorship arrangement with DIRECTV for Sunday Ticket and the business arrangements whereby the NFL teams collectively license the broadcast rights to NFL Games. 

Benchmark Litigation Selects Beth Wilkinson for Its 2021 Top 10 Women in Litigation List

Washington, D.C. — Wilkinson Stekloff Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson has been chosen for Benchmark Litigation’s elite group of the 10 leading women litigators who stand out from its iconic Top 250 Women in Litigation 2021 List. Beth has served as lead counsel in over 50 jury trials, including numerous bet-the company, multibillion-dollar cases, and established an unrivaled record of victories in federal and state courts throughout the country. In just the last year, Beth has served as lead trial counsel for Altria in a major administrative trial, successfully represented Judge Emmet Sullivan in mandamus proceedings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit arising out of his handling of the criminal case involving former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and directed the defense of multiple other high-profile litigations, including on behalf of Altria, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, USA, and the NFL. Beth’s peerless dedication to excellence has won her the …

Wilkinson Stekloff Honored as ‘Highly Commended’ for Annual Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chambers and Partners selected Wilkinson Stekloff as Highly Commended for Diversity and Inclusion at its annual Diversity and Inclusion Awards: North America 2021.  The firm is one of two nationwide, large and small, singled out for success in diversity and inclusion.   Chambers shortlisted Wilkinson Stekloff in 2020 as an outstanding firm for diversity and inclusion, but gave it an even higher honor this year.  In highlighting Wilkinson Stekloff, Chambers took note of client commentary that the firm’s commitment “is borne out in the diversity of lawyers from top to bottom,” who are all “active participants in developing and executing our legal strategy.”  “We couldn’t be prouder to receive this award, given that the firm was founded to develop and promote the next generation of diverse trial lawyers,” said Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson. “While there is still much more work to be done, we will continue to move …

Wilkinson Stekloff Partner Rakesh Kilaru Named Law360 Rising Star for Sports and Betting

Washington, D.C. – Wilkinson Stekloff Partner Rakesh Kilaru was named one of Law360’s 2021 Rising Stars–a lawyer under the age of 40 whose legal accomplishments “transcend his age.”  Rakesh was selected out of more than 1,400 attorneys across the United States and is one of five recognized for exemplary work in the sports and betting industries.  This latest award builds off Wilkinson Stekloff’s recent recognition as one of Law360’s Sports and Betting Groups of the year in 2020. In an interview with Law360, Kilaru discussed his involvement in every one of the firm’s sports litigation matters so far, representing the NCAA and the NFL.  Rakesh noted the importance of focusing at all times on how “to sway the judge or jury,” while also keeping “in the back of your head how that will play on appeal.”  Speaking about the skills he tries to bring to his clients, Rakesh added, “I’m …

Wilkinson Stekloff Recognized in Several Categories for Latest Rankings by Chambers and Partners

Washington, D.C. – Chambers and Partners, an independent research company that ranks the nation’s top law firms, highlighted Wilkinson Stekloff as the top litigation boutique in DC and as a products liability powerhouse.  Chambers also recognized the firm’s two name partners, Beth Wilkinson and Brian Stekloff, for their excellence. Chambers utilizes a tiered “band” system to recognize firms. Wilkinson Stekloff was honored within Band 3 for “Products Liability and Mass Torts Nationwide” (the only DC boutique firm recognized) and within Band 3 for “Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite in DC” (one of just two DC boutiques recognized).  Chambers described the firm as an “impressive litigation boutique, noted for its expert handling of complex, bet-the-company cases for leading corporate clients across a wide range of sectors,” particularly in pharmaceutical, antitrust, trade secrets, and consumer class action cases.  Commentators described lauded Wilkinson Stekloff’s “fantastic trial lawyers,” calling it a “fabulous firm” with …