Firm History

Click on each timeline entry to learn more.

Oct 1993

Bartlit Beck opens its doors for business

October 1993

Seventeen lawyers leave Kirkland & Ellis to found Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP.  On the new firm’s first day, they try a case in federal court in Chicago.

Jan 1994

Bartlit Beck wins two National Law Journal Top Defense Verdicts of the Year

January 1994

In Wagner v. Anzon (NL Industries), the firm wins a complete defense verdict in a toxic tort products liability class action involving lead factory.  The firm also wins a complete defense verdict in a $150 million patent infringement claim involving blood analysis technology in Ortho v. Miles. Both victories are National Law Journal Top Defense Verdicts of the Year.  

Jan 1996

Bartlit Beck wins two major defense verdicts for United Technologies

January 1996

Bartlit Beck defends United Technologies in an antitrust case involving the repair of jet engine parts.  The case involves over 200 depositions and millions of documents.  After a four-month trial in Texas state court, the jury returns a verdict in United Technologies' favor, awarding no damages. This case, Chromalloy v. Pratt & Whitney, and the firm’s victory in Technology Innovations v. United Technologies, were both named by the National Law Journal as honorable mentions for 1996’s top defense verdicts of the year.

Jun 1996

Bartlit Beck handles IPO of Titanium Metals Corporation

June 1996

Bartlit Beck represents Titanium Metals Corporation in its $380 million initial public offering of its shares of common stock.

1997

Bartlit Beck successfully defends $300 million products liability claim for another National Law Journal Top Defense Verdict of the Year

1997

In Howray v. Alpha Therapeutic, Bartlit Beck successfully defends a $300 million products liability case involving claims that the client’s medicine used to treat hemophiliacs, which was made from a concentrate of human blood plasma, infected the hemophiliac population with HIV. The jury returns a verdict, finding that Alpha had not been negligent, a complete victory for Bartlit Beck's client.

Sep 1997

Bartlit Beck handles sale of Tejas Gas to Shell Oil

September 1997

Bartlit Beck represents Tejas Gas in a midstream energy merger with Shell Oil Company, a transaction worth $1.45 billion.

Dec 1997

Bartlit Beck prevails for Texas billionaire Harold Simmons

December 1997

Bartlit Beck prevails in jury trial seeking to remove Texas billionaire Harold Simmons as trustee of $1.5 billion in family trusts.

1998

Bartlit Beck takes over re-trial and wins National Law Journal Top Defense Verdict of the Year honors

1998

Bartlit Beck takes over a case for Dresser Industries after Dresser had lost a state court trial in Chicago in which the jury awarded plaintiffs $54 million based on plaintiffs' claims of fraud.  Bartlit Beck tries the damages case on remand and the jury awards just $1 in damages.

Dec 1998

Bartlit Beck wins $1.5 billion settlement for EchoStar in lawsuit against News Corp

December 1998

Bartlit Beck negotiates EchoStar Communications Corporation's acquisition of the United States direct broadcast satellite business of The News Corporation Limited and MCI WorldCom.Inc. ($1.5 billion) in connection with the settlement of litigation. 

Jan 1999

Northwestern University Law School Honors Fred Bartlit with new trial center

January 1999

Northwestern University opens the Fred Bartlit Center For Trial Strategy, in honor of Bartlit Beck's founder. 

Feb 1999

Bartlit Beck wins $165 million patent infringement judgment for plaintiff that owns the patent for meat-packing shrink wrap

February 1999

In Viskase v. American National Can, Bartlit Beck secures a $165 million judgment in a patent infringement case on behalf of plaintiff Viskase, which had a patent on shrink wrap used in meat packing.  Bartlit Beck is hired after the trial court threw out a jury verdict in Viskase’s favor.  Bartlit Beck moved for summary judgment seeking reinstatement of the original damages award.  The Court granted the motion, and the case settled shortly thereafter.  At the time, the award is one of the largest patent infringement judgments ever.  

Mar 1999

Bartlit Beck chosen to represent Canada in landmark litigation against the tobacco industry

March 1999

The Canadian Department of Justice selects Bartlit Beck to represent it against the large tobacco companies for illegally avoiding taxes on cigarettes by exporting them to the U.S. and then smuggling them back into Canada. This matter is considered the most significant civil lawsuit in Canada's history. 

Feb 2000

Bartlit Beck represents Willis Stein in $360 million acquisition

February 2000

Bartlit Beck represents Willis Stein & Partners in its $360 million leveraged public company acquisition of Aavid Thermal Technologies.

May 2000

Bartlit Beck handles the merger of Celestial Seasonings, Inc. and The Hain Food Group, Inc.

May 2000

Bartlit Beck handles the merger of Celestial Seasonings, Inc. and The Hain Food Group, Inc. to form Hain Celestial Group ($330 million).

Jun 2000

Bartlit Beck wins another National Law Journal Top Defense Verdict of the Year

June 2000

Bartlit Beck wins the first product liability case to go to trial against the lead paint industry, in Parker v. NL Industries.  Jury returns a complete defense verdict, and awards none of the $35 million in damages sought. 

Nov 2000

Bartlit Beck wins presidential election trial for George W. Bush

November 2000

Bartlit Beck represents George W. Bush in the presidential election contest trial before Judge Sauls in Tallahassee, Florida. The one-week bench trial is televised and results in a judgment in favor of Bush, which is later affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court and secures Bush’s presidency.

Jan 2001

Two Bartlit Beck partners named Special Counsel to the Justice Department in antitrust case against Microsoft

January 2001

Two Bartlit Beck partners are named Special Trial Counsel to the Department of Justice in its antitrust case against Microsoft.

Sep 2001

Bartlit Beck wins National Law Journal Top Plaintiffs’ Verdict of the Year with $96 million jury verdict for GMAC

September 2001

In Residential Funding v. DeGeorge, Bartlit Beck wins a $96 million jury verdict for GMAC in a breach of contract case in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut.  The jury also rejects DeGeorge’s $390 million claim against the firm's client.

Oct 2001

Bartlit Beck wins $15 million jury verdict, the largest wrongful conviction verdict in Illinois history

October 2001

In Newsome v. McCabe, Bartlit Beck wins a $15 million jury verdict in federal court in Chicago against two former Chicago police officers for wrongful conviction of the firm’s client after he spent 15 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. At the time, this was the largest wrongful conviction verdict in Illinois history.

2002

Bartlit Beck exclusively on non-hourly fee arrangements

2002

By 2002, 99% of Bartlit Beck matters are on non-hourly, alternative fee arrangements.

Jun 2002

Bartlit Beck prevails for DuPont in New Jersey's largest environmental jury trial

June 2002

Bartlit Beck prevails for DuPont in New Jersey's largest environmental jury trial. 

2003

Bartlit Beck wins National Law Journal Top Defense Verdict for Bayer trial

2003

Bartlit Beck wins first Baycol products liability trial for Bayer Corp, set in plaintiffs' chosen venue of Corpus Christi, Texas.  Plaintiff sought over $500 million, and the case is closely watched for its likely effect on thousands of other Baycol cases pending throughout the country.  Bayer's stock price goes up 39% on news of the victory.

2003

Bartlit Beck surpasses 50-lawyer mark

2003

Bartlit Beck grows from 17 lawyers at the time of its founding to 50 lawyers by February of 2003.  The firm remains one of the most selective in the nation, hiring just a few lawyers each year.

Jul 2004

Bartlit Beck wins landmark defense verdict for Forstmann Little in claim brought by
state pension fund

July 2004

In Connecticut v. Forstmann Little & Co., Bartlit Beck defeats a damages claim against the investment firm Forstmann Little in this highly-watched trial in which the Treasurer of the State of Connecticut sought damages for investment losses to the state pension fund.  After a 5-week trial, the jury awards no damages. 

Aug 2004

Bartlit Beck represents Foundation Coal in its acquisition of RAG American Coal Holding and IPO

August 2004

In August 2004, Bartlit Beck represents Foundation Coal Corporation (a portfolio company of First Reserve Corporation and Blackstone Capital Partners) in its $1 billion acquisition of RAG American Coal Holding.  In December 2004, Bartlit Beck serves as co-counsel to Foundation Coal for its $519 million initial public offering of common stock.

Jan 2005

American Lawyer names Bartlit Beck Litigation Boutique of the Year runner up

January 2005

American Lawyer names Bartlit Beck Litigation Boutique of the Year runner up. 

Jan 2005

$761 million settlement for Real Networks against Microsoft

January 2005

Bartlit Beck secures a $761 million settlement for Real Networks in its antitrust case against Microsoft Corporation. 

2005

Bartlit Beck handles IPO for Alpha Natural Resources

2005

Bartlit Beck represents Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. in its $650 million initial public offering of common stock.

Mar 2005

Bartlit Beck wins jury verdict for DuPont against Costa Rican citrus industry

March 2005

In TicoFrut v. DuPont, Bartlit Beck defeats a claim for $172 million in compensatory damages and an undisclosed amount of punitive damages in which the main citrus grower and processor in Costa Rica sought damages for alleged production losses caused by DuPont's Benlate® fungicide.  After a six-week trial in Miami-Dade County Court, the jury deliberates for five hours before returning a complete verdict for DuPont.

Jan 2006

Bartlit Beck wins back to back trial victories against Honeywell

January 2006

in December 2005, Bartlit Beck wins back to back complete trial victories for Hamilton Sundstrand against Honeywell in patent infringement cases.  Honeywell claimed a combined $200 million in damages.  The juries found no infringement and awarded no damages.

Feb 2006

Bartlit Beck has four teams in four states out on trial at the same time

February 2006

Bartlit Beck has four teams in four states out on trial at the same time. 

2006

Bartlit Beck successfully represents Merck in federal court Vioxx trials

2006

In late 2005 and 2006, Bartlit Beck tries all five Vioxx trials in federal court, winning complete defense verdicts in four of the five trials.  Bartlit Beck also wins a complete defense verdict in the only state court Vioxx case the firm tried. 

Sep 2007

Bartlit Beck wins complete defense victory for Ernst & Young in auditor negligence trial

September 2007

Bartlit Beck wins complete defense victory for Ernst & Young in auditor negligence trial stemming from bankruptcy of $2 billion financial institution. 

Mar 2008

Bartlit Beck wins $300 million verdict for Covidien

March 2008

Bartlit Beck wins complete defense verdict for the U.S. Surgical division of Covidien Ltd. in a landmark patent infringement case involving trocars used in laparoscopic surgery.  Following a 5-week trial in federal court in Costa Mesa, California, the jury unanimously finds that U.S. Surgical did not infringe a medical device patent held by Applied Medical Resources Corporation.  Applied had sought an injunction and over $300 million in damages (including interest and treble damages).

May 2008

Bartlit Beck wins complete defense verdict for Federal Signal against firefighters’ claims

May 2008

In Rago v. Federal Signal, Bartlit Beck wins a complete defense verdict for Federal Signal.  Plaintiffs were 27 Chicago firefighters who alleged that Federal Signal sirens caused their hearing loss.  After a 5-week trial in Cook County, Illinois, involving 70 witnesses, the jury returns unanimous defense verdicts on the claims of all plaintiffs, after deliberating for less than 2 hours.

Jul 2008

Bartlit Beck secures complete reversal of statewide public nuisance verdict and multi-billion dollar abatement remedy

July 2008

In 1999, the Attorney General for the State of Rhode Island filed suit against NL Industries alleging a statewide public nuisance and seeking billions of dollars in abatement costs.  After a verdict for Rhode Island in the trial court, Bartlit Beck secures complete unanimous reversal from the Rhode Island Supreme Court, leading other states to abandon similar claims. 

Dec 2008

Bartlit Beck defeats class certification in
Teflon case for DuPont

December 2008

Bartlit Beck defeats class certification and obtains dismissals in all actions comprising the Teflon MDL, based on the alleged hazards of non-stick cookware, in which plaintiffs claimed to seek $5 billion.

Jan 2009

The American Lawyer names Bartlit Beck Litigation Boutique of the Year

January 2009

The American Lawyer names Bartlit Beck Litigation Boutique of the Year.

May 2009

Bartlit Beck secures multi-million dollar settlement against major investment banks in Enron litigation

May 2009

Bartlit Beck secures multi-million dollar settlement against major investment banks in Enron litigation.

May 2009

Bartlit Beck successfully defends Trico Marine Services and Federal Signal in proxy contests

May 2009

Successful defense of Trico Marine Services, Inc. against proxy contest initiated by Kistefos AS and successful defense of Federal Signal Corporation against proxy contest initiated by Warren B. Kanders.

Sep 2009

Bartlit Beck represents Western Union in acquisition of Custom House, Ltd.

September 2009

Bartlit Beck represents the Western Union Company in connection with its $370 million acquisition of Custom House, Ltd., a leading, independent provider of business-to-business international payment solutions for small and medium enterprises.

Dec 2009

Bartlit Beck wins second of back-to-back complete defense victories for Ernst & Young

December 2009

After a four-week trial, an arbitration Panel consisting of three former federal judges found in favor of Bartlit Beck's client Ernst & Young in an accountant's malpractice claim brought by the bankrupt estate of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co.  Metropolitan, a $2 billion investment, real estate and insurance conglomerate, collapsed in 2004 after suffering liquidity problems and a fraud by its senior management.  This is the second successful defense of E&Y by Bartlit Beck in claims stemming from the Metropolitan bankruptcy.  Together, the claimants in the two arbitrations sought over $300 million in damages.  Metropolitan was represented by Susman Godfrey.

Jan 2010

Bartlit Beck represents Platte River Ventures in formation of PRV Aerospace

January 2010

Bartlit Beck represents Platte River Ventures in the reorganization of its aerospace portfolio companies into PRV Aerospace and related consolidated refinancing.

Mar 2010

Bartlit Beck wins summary judgment in bellwether Bayer Trasylol trial

March 2010

One week before trial, Bartlit Beck wins summary judgment in plaintiffs’ bellwether trial pick in the Bayer Trasylol litigation.  Steve Derringer argues the case for Bayer.

Jun 2010

Bartlit Beck wins suit for Federal Signal regarding firefighters' hearing loss

June 2010

Following a two-week trial in Pennsylvania state court, Bartlit Beck obtains a complete defense verdict on the claims of nine Philadelphia firefighters who claimed to have suffered hearing loss because of exposure to Federal Signal sirens.

Jul 2010

Fred Bartlit named Chief Counsel to Presidential Commission investigating Gulf-Coast oil spill

July 2010

Fred Bartlit and Sean Grimsley are appointed Chief Counsel and Deputy Chief Counsel to the seven-member Presidential Commission tasked with investigating the causes of the BP oil spill and making recommendations on how to prevent and mitigate the impact of any future offshore drilling spills.  Fred and Sean cross-examine witnesses on national television and produce a written report to the commission in December 2010.

Sep 2010

Bartlit Beck handles international arbitration in London

September 2010

Bartlit Beck represents several American private equity funds in an international commercial arbitration arising out of their US $400 million investment in a joint venture in China. The arbitration is sited in London, with New York law governing the dispute.

Feb 2011

Fred Bartlit issues the Chief Counsel’s report to the Presidential Oil Spill Commission

February 2011

The National Oil Spill Commission released its final report to the President, Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling, which included a chapter on the well blowout and rig explosion.  That chapter summarized the results of the investigation by the Commission’s Chief Counsel, Fred Bartlit, and his investigative team into the causes of the Macondo well blow out and Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.

Mar 2011

Bartlit Beck defeats class action claims against Nicor relating to its billing practices

March 2011

Bartlit Beck lawyers represent Nicor Gas Company in putative class action litigation relating to Nicor's estimated billing practices.  After Nicor won a motion to dismiss in favor of exclusive jurisdiction in the ICC, plaintiffs appealed to the First District.  The First District affirmed the dismissal, with Kate Swift arguing the case for Nicor.

May 2011

Bartlit Beck wins summary judgment for United Technologies, dismissing $3.7 billion in claims

May 2011

Bartlit Beck wins on summary judgment, dismissing patent infringement claims by Rolls-Royce, which sought $3.7 billion from Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies' engine division.

Read more:
American Lawyer Article »
Law 360 Article »

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Sep 2011

Bartlit Beck represents Johnson Controls in $145 million acquisition

September 2011

Bartlit Beck advised Johnson Controls in its cross border acquisition of the entire equity interest in this leading independent global provider of hybrid battery systems.

Oct 2012

Bartlit Beck wins $250 million trial victory for Tyco

October 2012

Bartlit Beck lawyers successfully represented Tyco at trial in the Southern District of New York in a case against Tyco’s former CFO for improperly received compensation. 

Mar 2013

Bartlit Beck prevails for Sikorsky in $95 million trial against Department of Justice

March 2013

Bartlit Beck partners and co-counsel won a trial for Sikorsky in the Court of Federal Claims.  The government sought $80 million plus interest on its claim that Sikorsky had overcharged the government for aircraft and parts.  After a one-week trial, post-trial briefing, and closing arguments, on March 22, 2013, Judge Charles F. Lettow issued an opinion rejecting the government’s claim in its entirety and entered judgment for Sikorsky. 

Click here to read Law360 article

Mar 2013

Fred Bartlit named to the National Law Journal’s list of 100 Most Influential Lawyers

March 2013

Fred Bartlit named to the National Law Journal's list of The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.  The National Law Journal identified Fred as a member of “law’s power elite,” and as one the “100 lawyers who shape the legal world through their work in the courtroom, at the negotiating table, in the classroom or in government."

Mar 2014

Bartlit Beck obtains unanimous United States Supreme Court victory for Static Components

March 2014

U.S. Supreme Court issues unanimous opinion in favor of Static Control Components, argued by Bartlit Beck. 

Click here to read an article from the American Lawyer.