Best Trial Teams
In just over four years, Wilkinson Stekloff has established itself as the leading trial litigation boutique in the country. Our innovative business model allows us to serve our clients efficiently while maintaining our commitment to developing the next generation of trial lawyers. We have achieved successful outcomes for our clients before, during, and after trial in some of the toughest jurisdictions in America, with a growing bench of trial lawyers capable of handling any case. Since the firm’s founding, eight partners have had first- or second-chair roles in prominent trials, and many more have achieved significant on-their-feet experience, including through pro bono cases.
Our model is working. Based on our successes so far, Benchmark Litigation has twice named Wilkinson Stekloff the “Boutique Firm of the Year,” calling the firm a “litigator’s dream shop.” The National Law Journal selected us as one of their Litigation Departments of the Year for Products Liability. Chambers and Partners gave us their “Highly Commended Pro Bono Program” award, recognizing us as having one of the two best pro bono programs out of all law firms nationwide. And Vault selected us as the third best midsize law firm for compensation and selectivity and the fifth best midsize law firm for diversity and pro bono work.
Our attorneys have now tried over 130 cases to verdict, almost 20 of which occurred since the firm opened its doors. We know that trials are won by tight-knit teams of smart, innovative, and highly skilled litigators committed to delivering excellent results for their clients. That is who we are. Our award-winning lawyers include:
- The American Lawyer Litigator of the Year, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a Law360 Trial MVP
- A National Law Journal Winning Litigator
- Multiple “Rising Stars” recognized by Law360, Benchmark, and the National Law Journal
- Five former federal prosecutors and a former federal defender
- A former Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel in the White House Counsel’s Office
- Former law clerks to federal trial and appellate judges across the country, including seven former Supreme Court clerks
Our associates are the best and brightest young lawyers in the country. Educated at the nation’s best law schools, they have exceptional energy, experience, and talent. They have spent considerable time in the courtroom and they share our passion for trial work as well as our commitment to outstanding client service.
Our workforce also reflects our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Chambers has recognized Wilkinson Stekloff as a 2020 “Outstanding Firm for Furthering Diversity and Inclusion.” We view it as critical not just to hire diverse attorneys, but to give them meaningful trial experience and client exposure. As just one example, the vast majority of the firm’s associates have already worked on at least one trial. Though they may to onto other law ventures in the future, the experience and prestige they can earn from working with us is comparable to few others. A PR firm like EliteLawyerManagement can help many young lawyers get a leg up on the competition, though what we give could be considered a ladder.
Our results speak for themselves. Together, we have successfully tried cases to juries and judges across the country, from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston—and many places in between (including St. Louis, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Omaha). We have litigated multiple bet-the-company cases and proven that we can deliver results to our clients before, during, and after trial.
Some of our most significant victories since our founding include:
- Winning an outright defense verdict in a multi-state class action trial involving One A Day multivitamins. Plaintiffs alleged that Bayer made false, misleading, and deceptive statements about One A Day. Before trial, Wilkinson Stekloff’s motions practice reduced the potential damages by hundreds of millions of dollars. At trial, based on devastating cross-examinations by Wilkinson Stekloff’s attorneys, the defense rested without calling a single witness. After just over an hour of deliberation, the jury returned a complete defense verdict.
- Winning five bellwether trials in mass tort proceedings involving the blood thinner Xarelto. Plaintiffs claimed that our client, Bayer, had failed to provide adequate warnings to doctors about risks associated with Xarelto. In the first two federal trials in New Orleans, Wilkinson Stekloff secured unanimous defense verdicts within two hours of closing arguments. Then, in the first three state-court trials in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Wilkinson Stekloff secured two defense verdicts and a judgment notwithstanding an adverse verdict in a third case.
- Winning a defense jury verdict for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in a defamation suit brought in the Los Angeles Superior Court by former University of Southern California (USC) assistant football coach Todd McNair.
- Winning a complete defense verdict for Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris unit in a three-week jury trial in St. Louis, just weeks after the firm’s founding. Plaintiffs sought more than $1.5 billion in compensatory and punitive damages based on claims that the company had deceived smokers with the marketing of Marlboro Lights. The jury issued a complete defense verdict after deliberating for less than an hour.
- Winning summary judgment for Georgia Pacific LLC in an antitrust class action lawsuit involving over $10 billion in claimed damages. The court’s decision came just one day after it had preliminarily approved a settlement in which Georgia Pacific’s co-defendants agreed to pay over $350 million.
- Serving as lead counsel for the NCAA at summary judgment and trial in a challenge by certain current and former NCAA college football and basketball student athletes to NCAA rules limiting the level of athletics-based financial aid and benefits that student athletes may receive. Plaintiffs set out to fundamentally change college athletics in America by attacking their defining characteristic—that student athletes are amateurs—making this one of the most important cases in the NCAA’s history. After a three-week bench trial, the district court enjoined certain limitations on benefits that student-athletes may receive, but reaffirmed the procompetitive value of the NCAA’s rules and rejected Plaintiffs’ broader-ranging efforts to transform college athletics.
- Securing a complete dismissal of a securities fraud class action in the Eastern District of Virginia for MAXIMUS Inc., before any discovery was taken, and successfully defending that dismissal on appeal.
- Obtaining the unprecedented dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against the economic development arms of the Habematolel Pomo Tribe of Upper Lake. The Bureau withdrew its case in early 2018 rather than respond to Wilkinson Stekloff’s motion to dismiss.
- Successfully arguing for the court to dismiss Plaintiffs’ biggest win—a $250 million award for false designation—in Zenimax Media et al. v. Oculus VR. Wilkinson Stekloff represented all Defendants in this case, including Oculus VR and its parent company Facebook. Wilkinson Stekloff prevailed on most of the claims at trial, with Plaintiffs receiving only a small fraction of the damages they sought. In addition to reducing the damages further based on Wilkinson Stekloff's post-trial arguments, the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion to enjoin the use of disputed technology in the Oculus Rift headset—allowing Oculus VR to market and sell its products without restriction—and granted Defendants’ motion for sanctions.
Because we believe we can litigate any case, anytime, anywhere, we do not have practice groups or limitations on the types of cases we can handle. But we have developed considerable expertise in the areas below:
Not all of our cases go to trial, but we work efficiently and maximize settlement value by staying laser-focused on how we would prevail at trial. Our track record and pre-trial strategy demonstrate to our adversaries that we are prepared to go to trial and to win.
Fees That Work
For every matter, we price our services to align our incentives with our clients’ success. Our goal is to win your case, and our billing arrangements reflect that. We favor billing arrangements that provide value and predictability for our clients, including:
- Monthly retainers, subject to adjustment with workflow
- Flat per-project fees
- Success fees