Steven Grimes

Steve Grimes is a former federal prosecutor with extensive trial experience, whose practice focuses on complex litigation, cyber and privacy matters, trade secret and technology-related internal investigations, FCPA, and white-collar criminal defense.

Mr. Grimes focuses a significant portion of his practice on conducting sensitive internal investigations for clients. He works with companies to investigate highly sensitive and urgent issues related to trade secret theft, technology and security breaches, employee misconduct, and potential violations of anti-bribery and other laws. In one highly publicized matter, Mr. Grimes recently assisted a financial firm with the investigation and ultimate federal prosecution and conviction for theft of trade secrets and obstruction of justice by two of the firm’s employees.

Mr. Grimes’ litigation practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, antitrust, technology and trade secret litigation, health care fraud, and consumer class actions. Representative matters include an international manufacturer in a high profile class action case pending in federal court, and McDonald’s Corporation in class action cases brought by consumers about McDonald’s food, including the infamous “obesity case,” the first and still the only case alleging that a restaurant is responsible for weight gained by a class of people. He also represented McDonald’s in a series of class action cases about the trans fatty acid (TFA) levels in McDonald’s french fries. Mr. Grimes is currently part of the team that has brought Lanham Act claims against a trade organization for disparaging makers of high fructose corn syrup. He was a member of the team that defended Microsoft in a trade secret lawsuit brought by Veritas (volume management operating system software). Mr. Grimes was also part of the team that defended a large medical device manufacturer in a high-stakes antitrust suit brought by one of its competitors.

Prior to rejoining Winston and Strawn in 2013, Mr. Grimes was an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, assigned to the Public Corruption Section. As a federal prosecutor, he was trial counsel in 11 jury trials, in which the jury ultimately sided with him in every case. Mr. Grimes successfully litigated numerous contested hearings in federal district court, and he also briefed and argued four cases before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Additionally, he prosecuted corporate executives, public officials, and law enforcement officers for fraud, bribery, extortion, and perjury, including the prosecutions of a member of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s cabinet; a Cook County Commissioner; a former Chicago alderman; the president of a large pharmaceutical company; the CEO, president, and vice president of a large privately held auction house; and several Chicago inspectors and police officers.

Mr. Grimes’ record of public corruption jury trials includes the successful prosecution of Chicago Commissioner Al Sanchez, the highest ranking City Hall official to be convicted of corruptly rigging city hiring to benefit political operatives, and the bribery convictions of Chicago Building and Zoning inspectors and a police officer. He also prosecuted Joseph Mario Moreno for bribery and extortion related to his role as both a Cook County Commissioner and an official in the Town of Cicero.

Mr. Grimes also investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal criminal cases involving complex corporate fraud, hacking and cybercrime, theft of confidential information, tax fraud, health care fraud, racketeering, terrorism, sex trafficking and exploitation, drug and gun trafficking, murder, and gang violence. Mr. Grimes, for example, successfully prosecuted a rogue employee who had stolen confidential business information from his Chicago-based employer and attempted to sell that information to competitors. Mr. Grimes’ work often garnered local and national headlines. For example, Mr. Grimes led the prosecution team that brought highly publicized fraud charges against William Mastro, an influential sports memorabilia figure, in connection with Mr. Mastro’s efforts to rig online auctions and his alteration of the “most expensive baseball card in the world.” Mr. Grimes was also part of the team that prosecuted a Chicago-area man for cyberstalking an ESPN sportscaster. Mr. Grimes also led the prosecution team that won what is believed to be the first-ever life sentence for a Chicago-area pimp, Alex Campbell, for torturing, branding, and enslaving a number of young women, and Mr. Grimes also led the team that prosecuted cartel members in connection with the largest marijuana seizure in Chicago history.

Mr. Grimes served as a law clerk to Hon. Amy St. Eve in the Northern District of Illinois.

Mr. Grimes received a B.S. in Organizational Development and Human Resources Management, magna cum laude, from Miami University in 2001. He received a J.D., magna cum laude, from Cornell Law School in 2005, where he was elected to Order of the Coif.

Honors & Awards

Mr. Grimes was the recipient of the Homeland Security Director’s award in 2012, which is a national award given for superior investigative performance. He also received the Chicago Crime Commissions Star of Distinction Award in 2011.


Mr. Grimes co-teaches “Computer Crime and the Legal System,” which discusses legal issues surrounding cyber, technology, and trade secret law, at the University of Illinois Law School (with David Glockner), and he has served as an adjunct professor of law at Loyola University Chicago Law School. Mr. Grimes regularly speaks to lawyers and corporations about data security and cyber intrusions.

Mr. Grimes was a member of a small team of federal prosecutors that responded to emergency kidnapping situations, and he also designed and wrote computer software that automated the generation of complex legal documents for the Justice Department.

Mr. Grimes is on the Board for the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services.


  • “Medical Directors At Risk Under Anti-Kickback Statute,” Law360, August 2014
  • Co-author on “Health Care ‘Kickbacks’ Cover More Than You Might Think,” Law360, August 2014
  • Co-author on “SEC Is Focusing On Cybersecurity — And So Should You,” Law360, March 2014
  • “High Court May Tighten Reins On Data Breach Class Actions,” Law360, February 2014