Appellate Practice Group Welcomes Seasoned Trial and Appellate Litigator William Leathem

November 2, 2020 / News

William W. Leathem, a seasoned litigator with both law firm and inhouse experience, has practiced in federal courts throughout the country. He has drafted dozens of briefs in the Illinois Appellate Court, the various Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court, and successfully argued many of them.

As a litigator, William has conducted all phases of litigation in federal district courts from coast-to-coast. In foreign jurisdictions he selected local counsel, appeared pro hac vice or was admitted to the bar, served as lead counsel, directed the case and local counsel, took the laboring oar on case-related filings, and appeared before the courts. In both foreign and local jurisdictions (Illinois federal and state), he has engaged in every facet of litigation. William has drafted countless briefs and motions, conducted and defended hundreds of depositions, propounded and responded to written discovery, made extensive use of summary judgment motions, argued motions, and tried cases as both first and second chair. He has counseled clients—both plaintiffs and defendants —through all phases of litigation. William’s litigation practice has afforded him the opportunity to handle complex commercial matters, employment/labor issues involving the ADA, FMLA, Title VII, and FLSA, as well as ERISA, employee benefits, bankruptcy, along with some class action, antitrust, and LMRDA matters.

One of William’s cases, Board of Trustees v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 978 N.E.2d 692 (1st Dist. 2012), rehearing denied (2012), appeal denied by 982 N.E.2d 77 (2013), was headlined in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and gathered a good deal of local public interest as the outcome determined the application of a taxing statute for the next 40 years. There, William secured a reversal and remand with directions to the Cook County Circuit Court to enter summary judgment for his client and a judgment of more than $37 million for that particular fiscal year. The court on remand entered summary judgment and the entire judgment amount was collected.

Another of William’s cases, Anderson v. AB Painting, Inc., 578 F. 3d 542 (7th Cir. 2009), also was headlined in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. There, the Seventh Circuit held that attorney’s fees in ERISA cases are not subject to a proportionality standard.

And, in Chicago Truck Drivers v. Brotherhood Labor Leasing, 406 F. 3d 955 (8th Cir. 2005), rehearing and rehearing en banc denied, petition for certiorari denied, the Eighth Circuit upheld the entry of contempt sanctions against the defendants’ attorneys for advising their clients not to pay debts owed to the plaintiffs. The case was selected by the Missouri Lawyers Weekly as one of the 10 most important opinions of 2005.

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