Linda Coberly is a partner in Winston & Strawn’s litigation practice and is one of the leaders and founding members of the firm’s appellate and critical motions practice. She also serves on the firm's Executive Committee.
Ms. Coberly focuses her practice on appeals and on motions practice that resolves complex commercial lawsuits before trial. She is known for her strong business sense, excellent briefs, and clear and compelling oral advocacy. She counsels clients on appellate and strategic issues at all stages of litigation, from before trial through and including proceedings before the U.S. Supreme Court. She has briefed and argued appeals in six different federal courts of appeals and a variety of state appellate and supreme courts.
Ms. Coberly has particularly extensive experience in corporate fraud and securities litigation—including defending auditors and others in tort and securities fraud actions following the disclosure of corporate fraud. These cases frequently implicate complex issues of pleading, class certification, agency law, damages, standing, and loss causation—as well as the doctrine of in pari delicto, which arises whenever a corporation or trustee attempts to sue a third party for a fraud committed by the corporation’s own management. Ms. Coberly has been at the forefront of some of the most high-profile cases in these areas.
A significant portion of Ms. Coberly’s practice centers on advising and representing clients with regard to proceedings in the U.S. Supreme Court, drawing upon her experience as a law clerk on both the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit. She also frequently represents trade associations as amici in important business cases before the Court.
Honors & Awards
Ms. Coberly was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® 2014 for her appellate practice and she was named in 2011 by the American Lawyer as one of the "45 Under 45," a list of the best women lawyers under 45 in the Am Law 200. She is ranked among the nation’s top appellate lawyers in both Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America, and she was recently recommended by Legal 500, which ranked Winston & Strawn in the top tier of firms for appellate practice. With her leadership, Winston’s appellate practice debuted on the National Law Journal’s “Appellate Hot List” in 2009, only four years after its creation. In each of the last five years, Ms. Coberly has been recognized by the publishers of Chicago Magazine as an Illinois “Super Lawyer” in the area of appellate practice. She has also been listed in the national Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition.
recent supreme court matters
- Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers Dist. Council Constr. Indus. Pension Fund (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2013): Petition for certiorari in a case about pleading falsity for claims under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933
- Fung v. Columbia Pictures Industries (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2013): Petition for certiorari in a case concerning the standards for secondary copyright infringement liability under Grokster
- Willis of Colorado Inc. v. Troice (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2013): Amicus briefs for DRI in support of certiorari and on the merits in a case concerning the scope of preclusion under SLUSA
- Maersk Drilling USA v. Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2013): Amicus brief supporting certiorari in a case concerning patent liability based on a contract for services negotiated overseas
- American Express Company v. Italian Colors Restaurant (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2013): Amicus brief for the Financial Services Roundtable, advocating the winning position in a case concerning arbitration clauses and federal statutory claims
- Bland v. Lemke (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2012): Petition for certiorari in a case concerning whether AEDPA requires deference when the state court reached only one prong of a multi-prong analysis
- CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2012): Amicus brief for DRI in a case involving arbitrability of certain statutory claims
- Barr Laboratories v. Cancer Research Technology & Schering Corp. (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2011): Petition for certiorari in case concerning patent doctrines of laches and inequitable conduct
- Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2011): Amicus brief in support of the Chamber's challenge to Arizona's immigration enforcement scheme
- Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2011): Amicus brief for DRI in a case concerning defenses under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2010): Amicus brief supporting a successful challenge to the constitutionality of the portions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act establishing the PCAOB
RECENT appellate VICTORIES
Capital Management Select Fund Ltd., et al., v. Phillip R. Bennett, et al., 670 F.3d 194 (2d Cir. 2012) (argued) On behalf of Grant Thornton LLP, successfully defended the dismissal of a securities class action brought by the customers of an offshore broker-dealer, on grounds that the plaintiffs lacked standing under Blue Chip Stamps and failed to allege deception.
- Kirschner v. KPMG, et al., 15 N.Y. 3d 446 (on certification), and 626 F.3d 673 (2d Cir. 2010) (argued) Won an outright dismissal of a $2 billion malpractice and aiding & abetting lawsuit against Grant Thornton LLP by a litigation trustee appointed in the bankruptcy of brokerage giant Refco, and secured a critical precedent for defendants on the issue of in pari delicto in corporate fraud cases.
- Premium Plus Partners, et al. v. Goldman Sachs & Co., 648 F.3d 533 (7th Cir. 2011) (argued) Achieved a decisive victory for Goldman, Sachs & Co. in consolidated appeals addressing whether a plaintiff who reached an individual settlement may still appeal the denial of class certification, or, alternatively, whether a plaintiff who litigated his individual claim to judgment in a separate action may intervene in the putative class action after final judgment to appeal the denial of class certification.
- In re Computer Associates Securities Litigation, Nos. 07-3673, 3674, 3675 (2d. Cir. 2009) (argued) Represented Computer Associates founder Charles B. Wang in appeals defeating Computer Associates’ and investor Sam Wyly’s efforts to upset a global settlement that resolved securities and derivative actions and released Mr. Wang and other insiders from any personal liability.
For a more extensive list of Ms. Coberly’s appellate representations, please click here.
Ms. Coberly serves as the Vice-Chair of the board of directors of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights. She is a steering committee member for the Appellate Advocacy Committee of the Defense Research Institute and a former director of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association. She has also served on the vestry of Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park.
Ms. Coberly received an A.B. from Princeton University. She received a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif.
Ms. Coberly's court admissions include the following:
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Illinois Supreme Court
- Northern District of Illinois
- Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
- 2nd Circuit
- 4th Circuit
- 5th Circuit
- 6th Circuit
- 7th Circuit
- 8th Circuit
- 9th Circuit
- 11th Circuit
- “It’s All About the Questions: Effective Oral Advocacy,” presentation at the 2013 Annual Meeting of DRI: The Voice of the Defense Bar (October 2013)
- “The Future for Class Actions,” panel presentation at the Aggregate Litigation After Class Actions Conference (June 2013)
- “The Seventh Circuit: A Tradition of Legal Innovation and Excellence,” panel presentation alongside two sitting Seventh Circuit Judges at the ABA Litigation Section Annual Conference (April 2013)
- “Advanced Topics in Appellate Practice,” panel discussion at an Appellate Lawyers’ Association seminar on Advanced Appellate Advocacy (April 2013)
- “Trustee Actions, In Pari Delicto, and Deepening Insolvency,” panel presentation at the 2011 ALI/ABA Conference on Accountant’s Liability: Litigation and Issues in the Wake of the Financial Crisis (September 2011)
- “Appellate Advocacy from the Judges’ Point of View” (featured advocate), oral argument demonstration before three distinguished jurists at the DRI's 2011 Appellate Advocacy Seminar (March 2011)
- “2010-2011 Supreme Court Preview” (moderator), panel discussion for the Chicago Lawyers Chapter of the American Constitution Society (November 2010)
- “In Pari Delicto—What are the Recent Cases Saying?” panel presentation at the ABA’s 2010 Business Bankruptcy Committee Conference (October 2010)
- “Section 11 Cases,” presentation at the 2010 ALI/ABA conference on Accountants’ Liability: Litigation and Issues in the Financial Crisis (July 2010)
- “Hertz v. Friend: A Defense Victory,” (moderator), webcast presented by DRI (April 2010)
- “The Supreme Court: Changes and Challenges,” (moderator), panel discussion including five former U.S. Solicitors General at the 2009 Annual Meeting of DRI (October 2009)
- Featured Speaker for the Seventh Circuit Bar Association’s “E-Mentoring” Project (2009)
- “Certiorari Practice in the U.S. Supreme Court: A Behind-the-Scenes View,” presentation to the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association (March 27, 2007)
- “What the ‘New’ Supreme Court Means for Business,” in-house CLE presentations to various corporate legal departments
- USCA - D.C. Circuit for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg
- U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Stephen G. Breyer
- University of Michigan JD, 1995