Mayer Brown's Chicago office is the original, and still the largest, office of the firm. It is also one of the largest law offices in Chicago, with deep roots in the community and a prominent place in the city’s history. Founded in 1881, the Chicago office advised on the original incorporations of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Continental Bank, guided Chicago leaders in the city's phenomenal growth, including the negotiation of the opening of O’Hare Airport to commercial flights and the leasing of the Chicago Skyway (the first privatization of an American toll road), and represented clients in some of Chicago's most storied trials. Finance, corporate, and litigation work are among the office's widely recognized strengths.
The Chicago office's record of public service is also well known. Our lawyers have held a range of political offices at the federal, state and local level, including chief of staff to Chicago’s mayor; Chicago transportation commissioner; chair, Chicago Police Accountability Task Force; US secretary of commerce; assistant US secretary of state; White House chief of staff; US representative for special political affairs to the United Nations; chief of staff to the first lady of the United States; Illinois attorney general; deputy US attorney general; counsel and deputy chief of staff to the governor of Illinois; president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate; and Illinois solicitor general.
Lawyers in our Chicago office have served as instructors at Chicago's leading law schools and have published widely in their fields. Notable publications include Supreme Court Practice, the standard treatise on Supreme Court litigation; the innovative treatise Securitization of Financial Assets; Bidders and Targets: Mergers and Acquisitions in the US, a leading corporate takeover strategies discussion; and the classic Trusts & Trustees.
Civic involvement is a given in the Chicago office, and Mayer Brown lawyers are encouraged to contribute. They serve on many of the city's most important cultural boards, including those of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Commercial Club of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Pro bono legal work is the office's most formalized civic contribution. Lawyers in the Chicago office have handled cases ranging from death row review, civil liberties and rights abuses, marriage equality and transgender rights, political asylum and police reform, to discrimination in housing and the provision of public services; indigent criminal defense work; and litigation addressing the needs of the homeless. We provide a wide variety of legal services to Chicago's poor and otherwise disadvantaged. Many Chicago office associates have gained immeasurably important experience through our Seventh Circuit Project and other pro bono assignments. And many of the office’s corporate and tax lawyers serve as counsel to Chicago community and charitable organizations.