Winston takes partner pair from McDermott, including class action co-head

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Winston & Strawn offices in Washington, D.C. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Winston has been adding lawyers from Chicago rivals this year
  • Class action work has risen in volume and complexity, incoming partner says

(Reuters) - Winston & Strawn on Wednesday said it has picked up a pair of class action litigators from fellow Chicago-founded law firm McDermott Will Emery, including a McDermott practice leader.

Christopher Murphy, who was a co-head of McDermott's class action practice group, has joined Winston alongside Terrence Dee, a McDermott partner who handles product-related class actions. Both are based in Chicago.

Murphy has previously represented Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Coca-Cola Co, McDonald's Corp and Shell Oil Co in class action lawsuits. Dee successfully defended General Motors in a lawsuit filed by the family of former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, who died in 2000 from injuries stemming from a car accident.

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Murphy and Dee said they had been impressed by Winston's efforts to strengthen its ranks of commercial litigators. In July, the firm added a former U.S. attorney who helped prosecute two Illinois governors to its Chicago office.

"Winston is really well known nationally for taking cases to trial," Murphy said.

Murphy said class action work is rising in volume and complexity. And the court slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog in products liability cases, Dee said.

"I think you’re going to see more activity in 2022 in terms of products liability trials and in-person proceedings," he said.

Winston this year has been aggressively snatching up partners from rivals who also have deep Chicago roots, such as Kirkland & Ellis and Jenner & Block. In July, Winston hired the New York-based global co-head of McDermott's restructuring & insolvency practice.

A spokesperson for McDermott did not respond to a request for comment.

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.