In this special report, The National Law Journal recognizes the Chicago metropolitan areas top in-house departments and their general counsel in six categories: overall excellence; outside counsel management; technology; diversity and quality of life; pro bono and community service; and corporate compliance.
Chicago is home to a remarkable number of progressive corporations, but we were particularly impressed by the law department at US Foods Inc., our overall winner. General counsel Juliette Pryor built the operation practically from scratchjust 20 percent of the department came along when it moved from Maryland. For all that, Pryor has made tremendous strides in diversity, outside counsel managementacross the board. What we have created is a place where we work well together and have open and honest dialog, even if its not always happy dialog, Pryor said.
LEGAL DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR: US FOODS INC.
It's not often an $18 billion-a-year company hires a new general counsel and asks her to build nearly an entire legal department from scratch in a new city. Yet that's the challenge that confronted Juliette Pryor in 2009, when she became food distribution giant US Foods Inc.'s top lawyer.
Legal Department of the Year Finalists
OTHER CATEGORY WINNERS
Outside Counsel Management: BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD
Technology: MOTOROLA MOBILITY INC.
Pro Bono and Community Service: AT&T INC.
Diversity and Quality of Life: HYATT HOTELS CORP.
Corporate Compliance: SEARS HOLDINGS CORP.
See also: Washington Legal Departments of the Year