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Bunge, Jonathan C.

Jonathan C. Bunge

Direct Tel: +1 312-705-7476, Direct Fax: +1 312-705-7401
Tel: +1 312 705 7400 Fax: +1 312 705 7401

Jon Bunge is Co-Chair of the firm’s National Trial Practice and Managing Partner of the Chicago office.  Jon has had considerable trial and other litigation experience. He has tried over 60 jury and bench trials as well as numerous domestic and international arbitrations.   He has been the first chair litigator in the majority of these trials, many of which have lasted for weeks or months in duration.  He has tried cases in many areas, including commercial disputes, non-compete and trade secret disputes, products cases, trademark matters, white collar criminal law matters, and securities and financial disputes.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  The American Lawyer and other publications have repeatedly described him as “one of Chicago’s top trial lawyers.”  He has tried cases in federal courts and state courts across the country for clients such as IBM, private equity firms, and others.  He has been listed as one of the 500 top litigators in the United States and in The Best Lawyers in America since 2008, and in other similar publications.

A former federal prosecutor, Jon also defends clients in government regulatory and criminal investigations and has experience in matters involving both private and governmental entities such as False Claims Act litigation.  He has conducted many internal investigations at Fortune 100 and smaller corporations.  He has taught courses at the University of Chicago Law School on  Corporate Crimes & Investigations and Federal Criminal Law.  Jon worked at the United States Attorneys’ Office in Chicago for almost nine years before entering private practice.   He was Deputy Chief for the General Crimes Division and the lead prosecutor in a series of high-profile cases: the prosecution of the Ford Heights, Illinois Chief of Police and six other police officers on corruption and racketeering charges;   various cases arising out of the Silver Shovel investigation into political corruption in City and State government; a terrorism case involving the efforts of a Puerto Rican independence group to bomb a military recruiting center; the prosecution of a large Chicago street-gang that attempted to purchase military weapons for the purpose of attacking a Chicago police station; and a series of fraud prosecutions involving securities and other types of businesses.   At the Department of Justice, he received the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney and four Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards.  He has represented clients in matters adverse to many state Attorney Generals’ Offices.  While in private practice, the State of Illinois appointed him a Special Assistant Attorney General to help the Illinois Attorney General's office organize a Public Integrity Unit and the State of Colorado appointed him as a Special Assistant Attorney General to prosecute police brutality cases.

Jon is a former United States Supreme Court Law Clerk and has handled numerous appeals.  He has argued over 20 appellate cases in various federal and state appellate courts, including for example four appellate arguments on civil matters before the California appellate courts.   He has been successful in the vast majority of these appeals.

  • Won 2021 two week evidentiary preliminary injunction trial in trade secret matter in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois and successfully argued in defense of that decision in the Seventh Circuit.
  • Won 2021 lengthy arbitration for private equity firm and its portfolio company on breach of contract, fraud, and other claims in Houston, Texas.
  • Won 2019 lengthy arbitration in Chicago, Illinois for a private equity firm in partnership dissolution issue.
  • Won 2018 jury trial on behalf of airplane parts manufacturer in federal court in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Won 2018 bench trial on non-compete and trade secrets matter in Tennessee state court.
  • Won 2018 jury trial on behalf of engine manufacturer in state court in Houston, Texas.
  • Successfully litigated numerous recent matters for private equity firms.
  • Hired shortly before trial and successfully litigated jury case for software manufacturer in Tampa, Florida state court.
  • Defeated class claims in federal court in Detroit against large consumer products company based on consumer fraud and related statutes.
  • Defeated numerous class claims against large restaurant chain based on consumer fraud and other laws.
  • Represented Apollo Corporation in False Claims Act litigation filed in Sacramento, California.  Obtained dismissal of case following depositions of Relators and other discovery. Successfully handled appeal to Ninth Circuit.
  • Trial counsel for IBM in breach of contract suit brought by State of Indiana.  State's claims for $1.3 billion in damages rejected and ruling for IBM on its counterclaims.
  • Represented BDO Seidman in action brought before AAA. Claimants sought over $100 million in damages. Following multi-week trial, Claimants' claims rejected in their entirety.
  • Represented PwC in suit where Harris Bank alleged negligence based on audit of California technology company. Case settled on a favorable basis for client on eve of trial.
  • Represented International Truck and Engine Corporation in suit alleging hundreds of millions of dollars in damages based on engine development program.  Argued summary judgment motion and case settled on a favorable basis for client, while summary judgment motion pending.
  • Defended Ernst & Young in suit brought by former audit client alleging accounting malpractice and related claims based on client's report of a $131 million loss. Following six-week trial, claims against Ernst & Young rejected in their entirety and opponent ordered to pay Ernst & Young's fees and costs.
  • Represented Receiver in connection with actions arising out of demise of trust company known as Intrust and fraud committed by the directors of the trust company. Among other things, supervised briefing and argued three separate summary judgment motions in which Receiver obtained separate judgments, each of which exceeded $68 million. Defended judgments on appeal in Illinois Appellate Court.
  • Represented Colgate-Palmolive in an arbitration hearing before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (Paris, France). Case governed by Swiss law and involved commercial dispute with Turkish joint venture. Judgment for Colgate and award of $13.5 million.
  • Trial counsel in contested hearings resulting in Conseco Corporation's sale of Conseco Finance Corporation for over $1 billion, reportedly (at the time) the largest approved asset sale in U.S. bankruptcy history.
  • Briefed and argued General Motors' successful motions to dismiss the first purported nationwide class action suit based on General Motors' announcement that its Oldsmobile Division would eventually be eliminated.
  • Trial counsel in contested hearings that resulted in $1.5 billion restructuring of medical supplies company.
  • Trial counsel for TWA where TWA successfully rejected onerous ticket contract with Carl Icahn.
  • University of Chicago Law
    (J.D., with honors, 1988)
    • University of Chicago Law Review:
      • Topics and Comments Editor
  • Princeton University
    (A.B., cum laude, 1984)
  • The State Bar of Illinois
  • Kirkland & Ellis:
    • Partner, 2000-2015
  • Deputy Chief, General Crimes Section, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office:
    • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Chicago, Illinois, 1990-1999
  • Law Clerk to Justice Byron White:
    • U.S. Supreme Court, 1989-1990
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. James Buckley:
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1988-1989
  • Ranked by Chambers USA, Litigation: General Commercial, 2024
  • Named by Benchmark Litigation as a Litigation Star 2024
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Recognized by Lawdragon 500 as one of the top 500 lawyers in the United States in both the fields of commercial litigation and white collar defense
  • Voted “Illinois Super Lawyer” in Litigation by Super Lawyers, 2006-2019 in the areas of Business Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, and General Litigation
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News and World Report, Best Lawyers®, 2008-2024 for the practice areas Commercial Litigation and Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • Recipient of numerous awards as a federal prosecutor, including the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney and four Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards.  
  • University of Chicago Law School:
    • Lecturer in Law; taught courses on Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2006-2008; Franchise & Distribution Law, 2003-2005; Corporate Crimes & Investigations, 2001-2003; Evidence, 1999; and Federal Criminal Law, 1997-1998