Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP
Law School: Harvard Law School
Clients: Mattel Inc., Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences and TCW Group Inc.
John Quinn's 31-year legal career includes a billion dollar settlement and a $290 million verdict, but what stands out most to the prominent litigator is tailing counterfeiters through the streets and back alleys of downtown Los Angeles during the summer of 1984.
"We represented the intellectual property of the 1984 Olympics which included the Olympic rings and the Sam the Eagle mascot," Quinn said. "People came from all over the world to sell counterfeit Olympic merchandise. We had squads of off-duty police officers. It was a very exciting moment to be a part of."
Chasing counterfeiters and tracking bogus Olympic tchotchkes has been a small part of his career.
In 1997, Quinn served as the lead trial counsel in a corporate espionage lawsuit pitting his client, General Motors, against Volkswagen that resulted in a $1.1 billion payout to GM.
That case and others such as the $290 million verdict against Bertelsman AG stemming from the joint venture that created AOL Europe, helped to establish Quinn as a go-to lawyer for high stakes civil litigation.
And that reputation played a key role in Quinn's firm landing a current case, involving the bankruptcy of Italian dairy company Parmalat. Quinn described it as his most challenging so far. Quinn's firm was hired to recover money, possibly more than $10 billion, from companies alleged to have been involved in the fraud that resulted in the collapse of Parmalat.
As he has racked up courtroom wins, Quinn has been equally successful in building his firm, Quinn Emmanuel, from a four-attorney practice in 1986 to a firm that has 350-attorneys practicing at three California offices and another in New York.
When not in court or at the office, Quinn pursues recreational interests such as biking and running, typically in grand fashion. In 1999 and 2004, he completed the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.
Quinn said he could not see himself pursuing any career other than practicing law.
"I come from a family of attorneys," he said. "It was in the air we breathe. It was just part of the environment."
Matthew T. Washington
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Clients: Skechers USA, La Senza Corp., and
Most Challenging Matter: The current stock options backdating cases presented securities litigators with many new challenges and with little precedent to look to. I spent the past seven months attempting to resolve a securities class action and shareholder derivative action that has been extraordinarily complex.
Worst Career Moment: Watching my prior law firm implode in 1987, derailing my hopes to make partner there. This soon turned into my best career moment, which was the opportunity to join O'Melveny & Myers.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I don't always wear a suit and tie. I actually own jeans, which I wear on weekends.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Clients: Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and AMR Corp. (American Airlines).
Reason I'm a Lawyer: The usual reason, I was poor at math.
Most Interesting Case: Defending several massive antitrust actions in Minneapolis, consolidated for trial simultaneously before two juries for a year and a half.
Most Challenging Case: Every case in the antitrust arena is challenging for a defense lawyer because you are representing big corporations accused of anticompetitive practices, facing a jury that will sympathize with the little guy and most likely will have minimal business experience.
If I Weren't an Attorney: My wife says I'd be home annoying her.
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Clients: Northrop Grumman Corp., Georgia-Pacific LLC, Abraxis Bioscience Inc.
Most Interesting Matter: Representing Northrop as part of a team in an antitrust case in which Northrop alleged that McDonnell Douglas Co. monopolized the worldwide market for F-18 fighters.
Worst Career Moment: When Litton obtained a $1.2 billion jury verdict in a patent case against Honeywell. But the best moment was when it was reversed on appeal and the trial court entered summary judgment.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I sometimes miss being the young associate reading cases and writing briefs from scratch.
Girardi & Keese
Clients: We represent unknown people against well-known companies.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: Perry Mason, 7 p.m. every Saturday, elementary through high school.
Most Challenging Case: Percy William vs. the Bon Aire Hospital I represented a badly hurt young man in a medical malpractice case.
Worst Career Moment: When my mom saw me try my first case. Unbeknownst to me, my client was not quite truthful. My mom left the courtroom. She later told me, "You should be ashamed of yourself."
My Colleagues Don't Know: I voted for a Republican once.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I truly am inept at everything else.
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Clients: University of Southern California, Blockbuster, Inc. and Grupo Televisa SA.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: My role model, an uncle, sat on the Nebraska Supreme Court.
Most Interesting Case: Lead counsel for shareholders and bondholders in the Equity Funding Securities Corp. fraud litigation in the 1970s, the largest securities fraud recovery at the time.
Most Challenging Case: Current litigation against the Russian Federation to recover historic Jewish writings seized during the revolution and also during World War II by the Nazis.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I turned down $150,000 a year with Colliers Encyclopedia to work as a lawyer for $600 a month. I had been earning $1,000 each week with Colliers during undergraduate and law school.
Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif LLP
Clients: CB Richard Ellis Investors, American Realty Advisors and Aetna Life Insurance Co.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: A strong desire to solve other people's problems, and I was not capable of becoming a doctor or NBA player.
Best Career Moment: I'm certain the best is yet to come.
My Colleagues Don't Know: Probably not much, as I'm a big believer that the best way to lead is to avoid secrets or surprises as much as possible.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would be either a high school basketball coach or an agent.
Latham & Watkins LLP
Clients: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chevron Corp. and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
Most Interesting Matter: Insurance-backed film financing litigation for Silicon Valley Bank, the endgame of the insurance industry's ill-starred foray into the movie finance business.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I'm the current president of the Half-Norwegian (on my mother's side) American Bar Association, celebrating its 20th year.
Louis (Skip) Miller
Miller Barondess LLP
Clients: KB Home, SunCal Companies and Elton John.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I really enjoy courtroom work, especially trying cases and jury work, and helping clients solve problems.
Most Interesting Case: A Patron Tequila case relating to issues of whether another factory could match the taste and smell of Patron Tequila. The case involved sampling many brands!
Most Challenging Case: Defending the city of Los Angeles in the Rodney King case.
Latham & Watkins LLP
Clients: Arthur Andersen LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP and 3M Company.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I enjoy problem solving, the legal process, and communicating with people.
Most Interesting Matter: Representing Arthur Andersen regarding Enron.
Most Challenging Matter: Negotiating national class action settlement regarding breast implant litigation for 3M Company.
Best Career Moment: Winning complete defense victories in a string of trials with over $1 billion at stake.
My Colleagues Don't Know: My parents were both physicists, and I started college as a physics major.
Greenberg Traurig LLP
Clients: Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Kaplan Higher Education Corp. and Ticketmaster.
Most Challenging Case: We represented approximately 90 rural telephone and electric cooperatives in a lawsuit against DirecTV relating to distribution rights in rural America. There were great lawyers involved on all sides, the issues were complex and interesting and I had to constantly be on my toes.
Best Career Moment: Taking my first jury verdict as lead counsel as a third year lawyer. The trial judge heard me argue motions, and then told our client's lead counsel that he only hears from one lawyer per side and that I (rather than the senior partner who had handled the case for five years) would be trying the case.
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
Clients: The Boeing Co., the Irvine Co. and the Boy Scouts of America.
Most Challenging Case: Litigation involving a challenge to government's termination of U.S. Navy's A-12 stealth attack aircraft program, and starting and building two law offices.
Best Career Moment: Jury verdict for clients for actual and punitive damages in theft of idea fraud case and accepting Public Counsel's 2006 Law Firm Pro Bono Award on behalf of the firm.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Clients: Floyd Landis, Astellas Pharma Inc. and Rice Financial Products Co.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: There is nothing better than trials and courtroom advocacy.
Most Challenging Matter: The arbitration of doping allegations against Floyd Landis arising from the 2006 Tour de France.
Best Career Moment: Any time my wife has come to watch a closing argument.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I've been writing a book on a Ku Klux Klan case that I tried in 1992.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.
Stories You May Also Be Interested In
- Mini-Profiles of Top Litigation Attorneys
- Judging the Lawyers- Media and Entertainment
- Judging the Lawyers- Intellectual Property
- Mini-Profiles of Top Litigation Attorneys
- Judging the Lawyers- White Collar
- Judging the Lawyers- Real Estate
- Judging the Lawyers- Transactions/Corporate
- Mini-Profiles of Top Bankruptcy Attorneys