Christopher J. Esbrook
Esbrook Law
Commercial litigation
40 Under Class – 2019

Christopher Esbrook has had a prolific career representing companies in some of the most high-profile and high-stakes litigation in the country. He has been a trusted counsellor, litigator, and trial lawyer for prominent clients facing all types of litigation threats.

Esbrook represented BP in the litigation arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – one of the most complicated and highly publicized cases in history. That case earned the biggest headlines thus far. But the Deepwater Horizon litigation is far from the only success Esbrook, a commercial litigation specialist with his own Chicago law firm, has enjoyed during his career.

For instance, Esbrook represented Boeing in connection with suits against former joint-venture partners in courtrooms throughout the world, including Sweden and Moscow. In Moscow, Esbrook won a won a full defense verdict for the company and then defeated the resulting appeal.

Esbrook has also represented commercial plaintiffs, winning millions in damages.

Esbrook’s peers say they aren’t surprised at how successful this attorney has been.

“An exceptional negotiator requires compassion and people skills,” said Sylvia Winston Nichols with Morgantown, W. Va.-based law firm Jackson Kelly PLC. “Chris possesses all these traits. He is compassionate, personable, friendly and easygoing. Not only is he prepared when he enters negotiations, but he also has the unique ability to listen, understand, empathize, befriend and persuade others.”

Kristofer Riddle, with Chicago’s Clifford Law Offices, said that Esbrook’s work dealing with massively complex lawsuits involving numerous stakeholders sets him apart from his peers by any measure: dollars, lives touched and complexity.

“I know of few candidates who have done so much by his age,” Riddle said. “Additionally, while dealing with the height of high-stakes litigation, Chris sets an example for professionalism and courtesy.”

Riddle said that Esbrook has achieved success on both the plaintiff and defense sides of litigation while also earning a string of positive resolutions in a wide variety of topic areas. He said that Esbrook’s successes have come in the form of negotiated settlements, dispositive motion practice and verdict, often in cases that come with the scrutiny of being covered on the nightly news.

“Such an achievement is rare at any age, and rarer still at his young age,” Riddle said. “Moreover, the breadth of variety that his practice has focused on is noticeably impressive.”

Some of that breadth? Esbrook has handled cases involving breach of contract, indemnity, breach of fiduciary duty, environmental contamination, disputes arising out of corporate transactions, mass tort, insurance coverage, and bankruptcy litigation.

Thomas Morel, with Chicago’s Williams Montgomery & John, has known Esbrook since this attorney began his legal career in 2004. When Morel was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Esbrook was an associate at the same firm, Morel worked with Esbrook on several matters. Morel said that he, along with his partners, quickly identified Esbrook as a dedicated and exceptionally bright young lawyer.

“Chris is exceptionally good with people,” Morel said. “He puts them at ease. He is able to transfer his confidence to them. He has shown that while he can manage the most complex legal matters imaginable, he is also exceptional on his feet, in front of jurors, judges, opposing parties and clients. I would trust him in any legal setting.”