Sidley Austin LLP is an American multinational law firm with approximately 2,300 lawyers in 21 offices worldwide. It was established in 1866 and its headquarters is at One South Dearborn in Chicago's Loop.[1] Among its alumni are former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.[8]

Sidley Austin LLP
HeadquartersOne South Dearborn
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.[1]
No. of offices21 Worldwide [2]
No. of attorneys2,300[3]
Major practice areasGeneral practice
RevenueIncrease 2.795 billion USD (2021)[4]
Date founded1866[5][6]
FounderNorman Williams[7]
John Leverett Thompson[7]
Company typeLimited liability partnership

History edit

Headquarters of Sidley Austin at One South Dearborn

Origins in Chicago edit

In 1866, Norman Williams and John L. Thompson founded the law firm of Williams & Thompson in Chicago, Illinois. William Pratt Sidley, who had joined the firm in 1892, was added to the firm's name in 1900 when it was renamed Holt, Wheeler & Sidley. Edwin C. Austin joined the firm in 1914.[9]

Among the firm's first clients were the Pullman Company, the manufacturer of specialty sleeping railway cars, as well as Western Electric and Illinois Steel.[9]

Towards a national firm edit

In 1963, former postmaster general J. Edward Day left the administration of President John F. Kennedy to establish the firm's Washington, D.C. office.[10] Initial clients included the Advertising Mail Marketing Association.[11] The DC office later represented the American Medical Association, American Bar Association and the International Minerals & Chemical Corporation. The firm developed strengths in antitrust and the representation of clients in front of the Federal Trade Commission.

Expansion and consolidation edit

In 1972, the firm merged with the 50 lawyers of Chicago firm Leibman, Williams, Bennett, Baird & Minow. Additional offices were then established in London, Los Angeles, Singapore and New York. Following the merger, Washington D.C. partner Day resigned and later sued the firm, In a 1974 lawsuit, Day alleged that the merger represented a "breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, conspiracy, wrongful dissolution or ouster of co-partner and breach of partnership agreement." The suit was later dismissed with prejudice.[12]

In 2001, the firm merged with Brown & Wood, a New York-based law firm established in 1914 with 400 attorneys and additional domestic offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles and overseas branches in London, Beijing and Hong Kong (where it practiced English law in addition to U.S. law). Brown & Wood was known for its securities, structured finance and securitization practices. Brown & Wood had offices in the World Trade Center on floors 54 and 56-59.[13]

Appellate practice group edit

In 1985, U.S. Solicitor General Rex E. Lee founded Sidley Austin's Appellate Practice Group to represent clients in all appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeals, and state appellate and supreme courts. Following Lee's death, the group was led by Carter Phillips, who has argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any lawyer in private practice.[14]

Involvement in the savings and loan crisis edit

Sidley & Austin was among several law firms caught up in the Savings & Loan Crisis and paid $7.5 million to settle legal malpractice claims stemming from its representation of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. Such legal work was profiled in the book by Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith, No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America.

In 2007, Sidley Austin agreed to pay $39 million as part of a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service. The settlement allowed the firm to avoid criminal charges of alleged fraudulent tax shelter activities.[15] The previous year, Sidley and KPMG agreed to pay $54 million to investors who bought the shelters.[16]

Rankings and recognition edit

Sidley Austin is the eleventh-largest U.S.-based corporate law firm, with approximately 2,000 lawyers[3] and annual revenues of approximately three billion dollars. The firm is one of the highest-paying companies in the U.S.[17] (with a base salary of $225,000 for first year associates and $435,000 for eighth year associates; equity partners saw a profit per partner of more than $3.0 million in 2020).[18][19] Sidley maintains offices in 21 cities worldwide, with the most recent addition being Miami in 2022.

Sidley has received the most First-Tier National Rankings a total of eight times since the inception of the U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms Survey in 2010.[20] [21] The 2020 U.S. News Survey also named Sidley as the "Law Firm of the Year" in FDA Law and Securities Litigation.[22] As of 2019, it was the eighth largest law firm in the world (and sixth in the US) by revenue.[23]

The firm frequently appears at the top of various industry rankings. In 2020, the BTI Consulting Group named Sidley to its BTI Client Service A-Team—one of only three law firms to rank in BTI's Client Service Top 30 for 19 consecutive years.[24] The firm earned the top spot in Asset-Backed Alert's 2019 league tables for most active underwriter counsel in U.S. asset- and mortgage-backed securitization transactions.[25] Other honors include the American Bar Association's 2019 Champions for Disability Inclusion in the Legal Profession Award,[26] conferred in recognition of the firm's measurable progress in recruiting, retaining, and advancing to leadership lawyers with disabilities, and being named a 2019 "Litigation Department of the Year" finalist by The American Lawyer.[27]

The firm is distinguished for its securities practice[28] and its international trade practice,[28] both of which have consistently ranked first in the respective specialty rankings of Chambers and Partners. The trade group represents the Airbus/European Communities side in the ongoing WTO dispute with Boeing/US. The group was named a 2019 International Trade Group of the Year by Law360[29] and has been honored as "Law Firm of the Year" in Trade & Customs by Who's Who Legal for 15 consecutive years.[30] Its appellate and US Supreme Court practice is also particularly well known and has been featured in USA Today, BusinessWeek, the American Lawyer, the Legal Times, and the National Law Journal.[28]

In 2020, Sidley was named "Firm of the Year" in Capital Markets (Overseas); Corporate Compliance; Healthcare, Pharma and Life Sciences; and Real Estate and REIT by China Business Law Journal.[31] In 2018, Sidley was named Competition & Regulatory Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards in London.[32]

Pro bono work edit

Sidley Austin partner George Fatheree worked pro bono on behalf of the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce[33] to execute the return of beachfront land which had been seized by Los Angeles authorities in the 1920s.[34] The couple had lost the property, known as Bruce's Beach, when the state claimed it for public use and sold it to private investors.[35] It was officially restored to the couple's great grandsons, Marcus and Derrick Bruce, on July 20, 2022. The effort involved more than 1,000 hours of pro bono work.[36]

Associates and alumni edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Chicago". Sidley Austin. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  2. ^ "Sidley Austin LLP".
  3. ^ a b "Sidley Austin LLP". U.S. News & World Report.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from Austin LLP the original on August 27, 2021. Retrieved August 27, 2021. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ February 09, Roy Strom |; International, 2018 at 02:46 PM | The original version of this story was published on. "Sidley Tops $2 Billion as Profits, Revenue Rise Again". Retrieved July 17, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Dalton, Brian (July 27, 2017). "The Loop Elite: The Go-To Firms Of Chicago". Above the Law. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "Top Law Firm Rankings: Vault Law 100". Firsthand. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  8. ^ a b "Sidley & Austin". Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  9. ^ a b "Chicago Tribune 27 Jul 1963, page 19". Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  10. ^ Jr, Robert Mcg Thomas (November 1, 1996). "J. Edward Day, 82, Postmaster Who Brought In the ZIP Code". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  11. ^ "Day v. Sidley Austin, 394 F. Supp. 986 | Casetext Search + Citator". Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  12. ^ Schwartz, John (July 5, 2002). "In Re 9/11: Law Firm Moves On, Still Recovering". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  13. ^ "Supreme Court and Appellate Practice". Sidley Austin.
  14. ^ "Chicago Tribune 24 May 2007, page Page 3-1". Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  16. ^ Frohlich, Thomas C. "America's highest-paying companies". USA TODAY.
  17. ^ "Sidley". June 21, 2021.
  18. ^ "Sidley".
  19. ^ "Sidley Earns Most First-Tier National Rankings for Second Consecutive Year, Eighth Time Overall".
  20. ^ "Sidley Austin LLP - United States Firm". Best Law Firms. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  21. ^ ""Law Firm of the Year" Awards". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  22. ^ Unsworth, Ryan (September 8, 2020). "Sidley's Profile". New York: Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "The 2010 BTI Client Service 30". Archived from the original on January 13, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  24. ^ "Green Street News". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "2019 Champions Award". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  26. ^ December 29, Gina Passarella Cipriani |; PM, 2019 at 08:00. "Built to Win: Sidley Austin, Litigation Department of the Year Finalist". The American Lawyer. Retrieved September 8, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ a b "Sidley Austin LLP".
  28. ^ "International Trade Group Of The Year: Sidley – Law360". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  29. ^ "Winners – Lawyers & Law Firms". whoswholegal. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  30. ^ Editor, Vantage Asia (April 8, 2020). "China Business Law Awards 2020 | China Business Law Journal". Vantage Asia. Retrieved September 8, 2020. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  31. ^ "Winners 2018". The Lawyer | Legal insight, benchmarking data and jobs. November 18, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  32. ^ Pequeño, Antonio (July 11, 2022). "Unanimous Vote Returns Bruce's Beach to Descendants of Original Owners". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  33. ^ "Lawyers use pro bono hours to step up fight for racial justice". Financial Times. December 6, 2022. Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  34. ^ "Bruce's Beach Property Lawyer Eyes Systematic Changes - Law360". Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  35. ^ Greene, Jenna (July 28, 2022). "Black family's oceanfront land seized in 1929 returned with help from pro bono lawyer". Reuters. Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  36. ^ a b "Sidley Austin: When Barack Met Michelle". Wall Street Journal. May 11, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  37. ^ "Judge Unseals Decision Disqualifying Sidley's James Cole From Huawei Defense". National Law Journal. Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  38. ^ "Opinion: Mike Lee has earned a reputation as principled conservative". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  39. ^ "J.D. Vance". Ballotpedia. Retrieved December 15, 2022.

External links edit