Wade Thomson has built a thriving commercial litigation business at Chicago’s Jenner & Block.
Hamilton Hill with Chicago’s Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP knows firsthand just how skilled Thomson is. He spent 18 months litigating against Thomson in a large and com- plicated aerospace dispute. Hill said that each side was claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and that the clients were not fond of each other.
“It was the type of case that often leads to serious tension between the litigators, and dysfunction in the management of the case,” Hill said.“Instead,Wade and I maintained a very good working relationship.While we both pushed hard representing our clients’ interests, and we sometimes disagreed, we avoided wasting the clients’ money or the arbitrators’ time with silly disputes.”
Hill said that he learned several facts about Thomson during the 18 months: He is a worthy opponent, a zealous but fair advo- cate, a talented writer, creative, a good tactician, strong cross- examiner and quick on his feet.
“In sum, Wade is the kind of attorney I would hire if I was a general counsel and I needed a great lawyer to represent my company in an important matter,” Hill said. “I would hire Wade because not only would he zealously represent my company’s interests, he would do it the right way.”
Indeed, Gregory Gallopoulos, General Counsel of General Dy- namics and former Managing Partner of Jenner & Block, seeks to include Thomson on many of his significant matters. “Wade demonstrated early on that he was someone I could lean on with sensitive client work. I knew that Wade would make a name for himself,” said Gallopoulos, who has been a mentor to Thomson since the beginning of his career.
In addition to his thriving litigation practice, his peers say that Thomson has never lost the desire to help others that inspired him to become an attorney.
The pro bono work that Thomson performs for clients of the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC) in Chicago is a per- fect example. Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of NIJC, said that Thomson has represented more than 20 immigrants and their families from 16 countries to secure asylum or other legal protections.“Without Wade’s tenacious advocacy, the men, women and children he represented may have been forced to return to their home countries where they would have faced violence and persecution,” McCarthy said.
Thomson doesn’t forget about these clients after he helps re- solve their cases, frequently maintaining relationships with them to ensure that they can integrate into the United States and access the services that they and their families need. Thomson worked with one Haitian family long after its members arrived in the United States, helping them adjust to life in a new country. The family greatly appreciated this, and Thomson became the godfather to the family’s newborn girl. “Wade’s level of dedica- tion sets a standard for pro bono attorneys,” McCarthy said. “His extraordinary passion is contagious and his tireless efforts make a difference in the lives of the immigrants he represents. He represents the best values of the legal profession.”
Thomson is now the co-chair of NIJC’s Leadership Board. But even with this added responsibility, he still finds time to serve as a director on the Evening Associates Board of the Art Institute of Chicago and on the Alumni Board of the University of Illinois College of Law.
“What makes Wade truly exceptional is his commitment to ensuring access to justice for the most vulnerable while main- taining a highly successful private practice in a very demanding environment,” McCarthy said.