James L. Wideikis
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Corporate law
40 Under Class – 2014

Jim Wideikis is an attorney known for his ability to relate to people and get great results for his clients.

The 36-year-old partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP has represented private businesses and insurance companies in federal and state courts across the country, including Illinois, Indiana, New York, Florida, Nebraska, California and Oklahoma. Wideikis has served as lead counsel on numerous cases. He has tried cases to verdict in both state and federal courts. His primary area of practice is commercial litigation. He also practices in the areas of corporate law, insurance coverage and bad faith litigation.   His clients range from large, institutional insurance companies, to steam boiler distributors, to small trucking companies. 

Stephen R. Botti, of Botti Marinaccio, Ltd. in Oak Brook, Ill., has known Wideikis for 10 years. Botti and Wideikis had a case together involving an extremely complex business matter where Wideikis was instrumental in obtaining an exceptionally favorable result for the client.  “I have been able to see Jim first hand in the courtroom and in the deposition room and he is an aggressive litigator in every sense of the word,” Botti said. “Jim is a very skilled litigator and a likeable person. He is tough, but he does not take unreasonable positions.”

Botti said that Wideikis is extremely perceptive and has the ability to keep a case on track and advance his client’s best interests.  “Jim has the highest degree of integrity and he is always prepared.  In the case I worked on with Jim, he was able to think creatively, and he aggressively pursued the client’s cause, achieving incredible results for the client.  In our case, the opponent was taking an extremely unreasonable position and I was sure the matter was heading to trial.  When Jim became involved in the case, not only was he able to move the case towards settlement, but he was also able to secure an outstanding result for the client that would never have been awarded at trial.”

Matt Passen of Passen Law Group in Chicago, Illinois has known Jim for 5 years.  Jim acted as lead counsel for a corporate defendant in a serious product liability suit filed by Matt’s client, an injured laborer.  Matt and Jim were on opposite sides of the table.  “Jim is an outstanding lawyer.  He can cut through complexities and get to the heart of the matter.  He has the unique ability to read and communicate with people.  In depositions, he connects with people and speaks their language.   Clients, opponents and witnesses alike feel at ease with him because he is pleasant and down to earth.  He is also methodical in his ability to chip-away at the exposure to his client through exceptional preparation and examination of witnesses.”

Paul Walker-Bright, of Reed Smith LLP, met Wideikis in 2009 when they sat opposite each other on a high profile case venued in federal court. Since then, they have maintained contact with each other on a professional and social level.

Walker-Bright said in that case, Wideikis was the primary counsel for the client (a former Fortune 500 company), handled the jury trial, and participated in all depositions and discovery matters. “Jim did an excellent job representing his client, zealously advocating on his client’s behalf yet maintaining a friendly and professional relationship with me and the other counsel involved in the case,” Walker-Bright said.

Wideikis earned his law degree from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, and his undergraduate degree from John Carroll University.  At John Carroll, Jim was an All-American baseball standout, and he was elected into their Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Since his admission to practice law in 2002, he has been actively involved in the Chicago Bar Association.  He has been a speaker at several CLE programs, including “The Trial Technique: Art of Cross Examination.”   He also has been a speaker at the “Sharpening Your Trial Practice Skill” program, which is sponsored by the Young Lawyers section of the Chicago Bar Association and by the Continuing Legal Education Committee.