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The National Law Journal proudly presents our third annual report on law firms that have done exemplary, cutting-edge defense work. We asked readers to nominate firms and we supplemented those suggestions with our own research. We looked for firms with overall impressive track records that managed at least one significant defense bench or jury verdict since July 1, 2006.
Editor’s note Talk about your vanishing trial. We received scores of nominations for our third annual Defense Hot List, for firms ranged from small shops doing personal injury and products liability torts to legal giants contesting the fates of industries. The bet-the-company bench and jury trials we wanted to highlight seemed in short supply during the past 12 months, but the firms on this list lived the kind of drama one doesn’t find in a settlement conference. THE 2007 DEFENSE HOT LIST The firms selected for this year’s honors are: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Cooley Godward Kronish; Dechert; Kaye Scholer; Kirkland & Ellis; Morrison & Foerster; Paul Weiss; Shook, Hardy & Bacon; Sidley Austin; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Read on for the winning cases that earned these firms their place on the list. Infringement claim meets watery demise Akin Gump Hauer & Feld came up with a creative way to make its client’s computer circuits understandable to a jury � by building a plastic water tank as an analogy for circuitry � and was rewarded with a verdict that sustained the client’s patents and invalidated the plaintiff’s. Too many cooks? Hey, no problem The stakes are huge even for Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest manufacturer of health care products, when it’s facing three cases on both coasts and in the South, with over $5 billion in collective damages sought. J&J leveraged the complementary skills of litigators from Sidley Austin and Weil, Gotshal & Manges to defend its marketing strategy against antitrust charges. Making the best of a bad situation Sacking a 48-year-old regional sales VP without warning, on Mother’s Day and 19 days after giving him a glowing review and a bonus, puts a company in a difficult position to defend. The evidence against Foot Locker Inc. in this age and disability discrimination lawsuit was so overwhelming that the defense team from Shook, Hardy & Bacon were sure they had lost � until the jury came back.

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