Bruce Braun, a partner in Winston & Strawn’s litigation department, is the firm’s Global Head of the Complex Commercial Practice Group. He was the youngest member ever of the firm’s Executive Committee when appointed and has been recognized as one of the top litigators in Chicago and in the nation. Chicago Lawyer selected him, at age 36, for the first edition of its “Top 40 Attorneys Under 40.” Four years later, American Lawyer selected him as one of its “45 Under Forty-Five: the Rising Stars of the Private Bar.” Mr. Braun has also been named one of Chicago magazine’s Illinois Super Lawyers, one of Chambers USA’s America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and one of BTI Consulting’s Client Service All-Stars. Chambers describes him as “a ‘top-flight trial guy’ with a growing reputation.” The American Lawyer selected him as its “Litigator In The Spotlight” in its November 2009 issue for a series of high-profile victories. Most recently, he was selected as one of the 2011-2012 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America and Benchmark Litigation named him to its elite group of Chicago’s “Litigation Stars.”
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Braun served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of the United States, William H. Rehnquist, and to Judge Joel M. Flaum of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Mr. Braun’s practice focuses on complex commercial matters, including auditor malpractice and fraud defense, class action prosecution and defense, multi-district litigation, antitrust litigation, corporate internal investigations, fiduciary duty and contract cases, intellectual property disputes, and professional liability matters.
Mr. Braun represents several of the world’s largest accounting firms in significant securities fraud class actions, other professional liability matters and regulatory matters.
Mr. Braun represents Grant Thornton LLP as lead trial counsel in the Parmalat, Refco, and Countrywide securities fraud and professional liability matters. He won summary judgment against all claims brought by Parmalat’s bankruptcy examiner, after co-defendants in the case paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle, and he won dismissal of the Refco litigation trustee’s claims. In the Countrywide litigation, he won dismissal of all securities fraud claims. Of the 50 defendants seeking dismissal, Grant Thornton alone was dismissed.
Mr. Braun also represents Ernst & Young, the largest accounting firm in the world, in significant matters, including the securities fraud MDL litigation arising from the collapse of HealthSouth Corporation. This representation includes an arbitration trial against HealthSouth itself, which has sued its former audit on a variety of legal theories. Previously, he has represented E&Y on other matters, including successfully trying to judgment as lead trial counsel a two-week trial involving the collapse of an E&Y audit client (ABS Industries v. Ernst & Young).
Mr. Braun has represented other large and medium size accounting firms in a variety of litigation and regulatory matters.
Mr. Braun has successfully represented Microsoft Corporation in high-profile, high-stakes litigation, including:
- the government antitrust remedy trial, at which Microsoft prevailed;
- the subsequent litigation involving claims for attorney’s fees by settling parties;
- a lawsuit challenging the validity of the Windows® trademark;
- a lawsuit brought by Microsoft’s first “Smartphone” partner, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages; and
- a lawsuit brought by a Windows operating system partner, seeking more than a billion dollars in damages and an injunction against the distribution of the Windows Vista® operating system.
In addition, Microsoft selected Mr. Braun as a member of the first two classes of its Advocacy Academy, which trains the company’s top outside counsel in trial and advocacy techniques.
Mr. Braun also represents McDonald’s Corporation in the nation’s first obesity class action and has represented McDonald’s in several different class action lawsuits involving trans fatty acids (TFAs) in McDonald’s food.
Mr. Braun has extensive appellate experience, including two important appeals before the Illinois Supreme Court. He argued and won the seminal asbestos conspiracy case of McClure v. Owens Corning, and he argued and won Mikolajczyk v. Ford, which set the legal standard for design defect cases in Illinois and which overturned one of the nation’s 75 largest verdicts of 2005. Mr. Braun has also argued in the United States Courts of Appeal for the Seventh and Eleventh Circuits.
Mr. Braun has been involved in numerous other high-profile cases. Among others, he has represented:
- Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, of the House Ways and Means Committee, against criminal charges;
- the Deputy Director of the FBI, in the civil suits following the siege at Ruby Ridge;
- an indentured trustee in a case arising from the largest insurance fraud in Florida’s history;
- a class of taxpayers who obtained the largest tax refund in Florida history ($184 million);
- a class of investors in a fraud action, which recovered $67.5 million from an off-shore bank;
- Brian Ballarini, the bookie in the Northwestern University gambling investigation; and
- William Kennedy Smith, against a civil suit arising out of an alleged sexual assault.
Mr. Braun also devotes a portion of his practice to pro bono cases. Among other cases, he has tried and won three murder cases.
Mr. Braun was ranked in Chambers USA 2012 as one of Illinois’ top lawyers in general commercial litigation practice.
Honors and Awards
Mr. Braun has served as an adjunct professor of law in Appellate Practice at Northwestern University Law School and as a lecturer at Loyola University Chicago Law School. He is also a board member, and past president, of CARPLS, Cook County’s legal aid hotline. He is a former fellow and board member of Leadership Greater Chicago.
A 1985 graduate of Haverford College, Mr. Braun received his J.D. in 1989 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was ranked first in his class after his first year, served as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review, and was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Speeches and Publications
The following is a list of Mr. Braun’s publications. In 2001, he received a Burton Award for Excellence in Legal Writing.
- “www.commercial_terrorism.com: A Model Federal Statute to Criminalize the Use of the Internet to Solicit Acts of Commercial Terrorism,” Harvard Journal of Legislation, Winter 2000.
- “Life, Death & Organ Donation,” Litigation, Winter 1998.
- “Free at Last: Reflections on the Representation of a Death Row Inmate,” Litigation, Winter 1996.
- “Litigating the Yankee Tax: Application of the Lodestar to Attorney’s Fee Awards in Common Fund Litigation,” 23 Florida State Law Review 897, 1996.
- “Capital Pro Bono Demand is Up,” The National Law Journal, Aug. 19, 1996.
- “The Legal Legacy of John Wayne Gacy: The Irrebutable Presumption that Jurors Understand Their Instructions,” 78 Marquette Law Review 791, 1995.
- “Getting What You Paid For: The Judicial Cap On Attorney’s Fees For Representing The Condemned Before the Supreme Court,” 69 New York University Law Review 1014, 1994.
- “The Arbitration of Federal Domestic Antitrust Claims: How Safe is the American Safety Doctrine?,” 16 Pepperdine Law Review S201, 1989.