In this special report, The National Law Journal recognizes the Chicago metropolitan area’s 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 scratch—just 20 percent of the department came along when it moved from Maryland. For all that, Pryor has made tremendous strides in diversity, outside counsel management—across the board. “What we have created is a place where we work well together and have open and honest dialog, even if it’s 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
• INGREDION INC.
• MONDELÈZ INTERNATIONAL


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