CHICAGO and WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — In a strategic move to strengthen Winston & Strawn LLP’s internationally recognized litigation capabilities, the firm announced today the formation of an Appellate and Critical Motions practice group. Two prominent attorneys who have recently joined Winston & Strawn will lead the new practice area. Gene C. Schaerr, who joined the firm as a partner from Sidley Austin Brown and Wood LLP (Sidley), and Linda T. Coberly, who joined the firm as a partner from Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (Mayer Brown), will serve as chair and vice chair of the group, respectively. The two add firepower to an already high-profile international litigation practice led by Dan K. Webb, recently pegged by The New York Times as a leading “Superlawyer”.
“We’re thrilled that Gene and Linda have chosen Winston as the place to grow their impressive practices,” said Webb. “Their shared vision and drive are exactly what we need in the new appellate and critical motions practice, and their exceptional skills as advocates for clients will greatly complement our existing litigation work.”
Schaerr was chair of Sidley’s D.C. product liability and consumer class action practice group. He has a high-profile litigation practice that includes appellate work, complex commercial litigation (class action, product liability and breach of warranty), federal regulatory matters and constitutional law and litigation.
While in private practice, Schaerr has argued some 25 cases in some of the most prestigious courts in the country, including three cases before the United States Supreme Court, and more than 20 cases before federal courts of appeal and state appellate courts. In all, he has handled more than 80 cases in federal and state appellate courts, including the Supreme Courts (or equivalent) of California, Illinois, West Virginia, Maryland, Oklahoma, Washington and Washington, D.C.
Schaerr has represented clients at the trial level in major class action and product liability cases in 19 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. He has often represented clients in the pharmaceutical, automotive, technology, financial services, telecommunications and energy industries. In addition to his appellate work for these clients, Schaerr has frequently briefed and argued key motions, prepared high-exposure cases for an eventual appeal and advised on critical strategic issues. He also frequently represents state governments and religious organizations.
Prior to entering private practice, Schaerr was a law clerk for United States Supreme Court Justices Warren E. Burger and Antonin Scalia. He also served as a law clerk to Judge Kenneth W. Starr at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. During a two-year leave from Sidley, Schaerr served as associate counsel to the President under President George H.W. Bush.
Schaerr is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, all U.S. Courts of Appeal, numerous U.S. District Courts, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. He earned his juris doctor and two master’s degrees in economics from Yale University, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.
“Gene and Linda make excellent additions to our litigation practice,” said Governor James R. Thompson, chairman of Winston & Strawn. “Their combined capabilities and experience before the Supreme Court add further depth and breadth to our capabilities.”
Coberly joined Winston & Strawn last October from Mayer Brown, where she was a partner in its Litigation Department and in its Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group. She is a highly experienced and skilled appellate lawyer and has served as principal brief writer in complex litigation matters at all levels of state and federal courts.
Coberly’s practice encompasses many different substantive areas, including patent, contract, professional liability, class action defense, product liability, white-collar crime and securities fraud cases. She represents clients in the financial services industry, in pharmaceuticals and manufacturing, and in the technology field, as well as several other industry segments. A significant portion of her practice centers on filing amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and in other courts on behalf of trade organizations. Coberly is also an experienced oral advocate, both in appeals and in motion practice in federal district court.
Additionally, Coberly has devoted a substantial amount of time over the last few years to the pro bono representation of inmates seeking habeas corpus relief in the Seventh Circuit. Last year she obtained a reversal of a murder conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel. Since joining Winston & Strawn, Coberly has become an important member of the firm’s litigation team, both as lead appellate counsel on several significant matters and as a resource for clients facing critical strategic issues.
Coberly served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Stephen G. Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court. She earned her juris doctor magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. Coberly is admitted to practice in Illinois and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She participates in several professional organizations devoted to appellate practice and to issues concerning women in the profession.
“The chair and vice chair roles for this new practice area are very typical of the Winston & Strawn mindset,” said global managing partner James M. Neis. “We’re known for a client service model that encourages attorneys to work together across all our offices because we think it’s one of the best ways to make sure that our clients are getting the best the firm has to offer.”
Neis noted that Schaerr and Coberly will supplement an already substantial group of appellate lawyers that includes, among others, Governor Thompson, who has argued 180 cases in appellate courts across the country, Chicago partners Stuart Altschuler and Raymond W. Mitchell and Washington, D.C. partners Eric W. Bloom and Charles B. Klein, who have handled numerous appeals on behalf of many firm clients.
Winston & Strawn LLP is a commercial law firm that celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2003. It has more than 850 attorneys in eight offices including Chicago, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.