(Credit: ALM)

The NLJ takes the pulse of litigation departments in top law firms in our nation’s capital. We asked them to tell us about their shops, including their biggest wins in 2016, their clients and their opponents. From a competitive field, we selected eight firms. They made the case for why they stood out in general litigation and in these practices: insurance, intellectual property, labor and employment, products liability and white collar. Two share top overall honors. For more on the winners, read on. —Lisa Helem

GENERAL LITIGATION: WINNER
WILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR

In 2016, Wilmer dominated the litigation landscape like an armored vehicle, on offense and defense, in cutting-edge and traditional cases and across a wide swath of law.

GENERAL LITIGATION: WINNER
KIRKLAND & ELLIS

From defending the rights of minority voters in North Carolina to representing auto giant General Motors in some unlikely wins, careful, extensive discovery and innovative trial strategies drove this firm’s 2016 successes.

GENERAL LITIGATION: FINALIST
GIBSON DUNN & CRUTCHER

In 2016, Gibson Dunn successfully
challenged a commonwealth of Puerto Rico law in a dispute over the restructuring of more than $20 billion in debt of Puerto Rico’s largest utility, PREPA.

INSURANCE: WINNER
BLANK ROME

Blank Rome partner Jim Murray likes to compare the nature of coverage in the firm’s highest-profile 2016 cases to Lloyd’s of London insuring Betty Grable’s legs for $1 million. They all involved big money, attention-grabbing headlines and most notably, emerging lines of coverage.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: WINNER
LATHAM & WATKINS

Latham’s IP Department gets the nod for shutting down high-risk actions against high-profile defendants in 2016. The firm stamped out patent suits by two well-financed nonpracticing entities, winning a $2 million fee award for Jaguar Land Rover North America and making new appellate law on attorney disqualification for Schlumberger Ltd.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT: WINNER
GIBSON DUNN & CRUTCHER

Before Jason Schwartz takes a case to trial, he often runs his arguments by a tough mock jury: his three kids — ages 6, 11 and 14 — and his mother, a former saleswoman. If they find his arguments compelling, Schwartz feels confident that judges and jurors will be sympathetic, too.

PRODUCTS LIABILITY: WINNER
WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY

The products liability group at Williams & Connolly uses creativity, not size — it has 30 attorneys — to represent some of the biggest names in pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

WHITE COLLAR: WINNER
JONES DAY

After the Fourth Circuit affirmed former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption convictions, Jones Day obtained a stay of the decision from the Supreme Court so that McDonnell could remain free on bail pending high court review.

WHITE COLLAR: WINNER
STEPTOE & JOHNSON

Steptoe & Johnson partner Reid Weingarten kept a goal in mind when negotiating with federal prosecutors in 2016 to settle criminal charges against its client Volkswagen AG: Survival.

SEE ALSO: THE 2015 DC LITIGATION DEPARTMENTS OF THE YEAR