Adam Waskowski
Novack and Macey LLP
Commercial litigation
40 Under Class – 2015

Adam Waskowski has earned a reputation as one of the top commercial litigators in the city. Considering that this attorney is just 37, this is an even more impressive accomplishment.

Waskowski, who founded Waskowski Johnson Yohalem LLP after several years at Novack and Macey LLP, earned this reputation in the courtroom, where he helped win several victories for his clients.

Take a recent case: Waskowski and some of his former partners tried a two-week jury trial in a trade secrets case in federal court. At the final pre-trial conference, the judge ordered counsel to argue the admissibility of every exhibit on their respective exhibit lists. Although Waskowski joined the trial team late in the case, he was up to the challenge. He argued persuasively about the relevance of each of the hundreds of trial exhibits, many of which involved highly technical material. Based on this performance, Waskowski took on an expanded role at the trial, taking eight witnesses, including all three named defendants and both sides’ economic damages experts.

Adam was also recently part of a three-person team that defended a lawsuit brought against a financial institution alleging more than $17 million in compensatory damages. A large, international law firm represented the plaintiffs, and the eight- count complaint raised a host of complicated legal issues. After helping obtain dismissal of the original complaint, Waskowski and his team defeated two straight TRO motions in two weeks, both extremely short notice.

Laura Caplin, with Chicago’s Shaw Fishman Glantz & Towbin, said that Waskowski never seeks the easy way out, but instead is ready to outwork any attorney. She cites a case in which she and Waskowski worked together. Waskowski had suffered a health emergency shortly before the trial was set to begin, and the hospital that treated him ordered him not to leave the facility for 24 hours. Eager to get back to work,Waskowski called the office and asked a clerk to deliver deposition transcripts to him while he recovered. This way, he could continue working on direct and cross examination outlines without disobeying doctors’ orders.

“Adam taught me that the key to any trial is to be more prepared than the other side,” Caplin said.“Without exception, Adam always knew the record backwards and forwards, and was ready to confront a witness with a document or deposition admission on cross examination.”

David Wayne, an equity partner at Chicago’s Arnstein & Lehr who litigated a case against Waskowski, says that Waskowski also possesses that rarest of qualities among litigators: He not only can argue the law on behalf of his clients, but understands the financial components involved in litigating a case. “Instead of arguing for arguing’s sake and ‘churning’ a file, Adam was able to quickly sort through the complex issues in our case, advise his clients and work toward a timely and appropriate resolution of the dispute, prior to the parties undertaking significant legal expense,” Wayne said. “This is a skill and quality that is often lost on attorneys.”

Jennifer Kenedy, the Managing Partner of Locke Lord LLP’s Chicago office (where Waskowski began his career), recognized Waskowski’s talent and work ethic very early on. “Even as a very junior attorney, Adam seemed to innately know what it takes to win a case,” Kenedy said. “We would often see Adam working late at the office, digging through a case file or conducting research, looking for anything that might give his client an advantage.”

However, Waskowski now appears to be heading into the prime of his career. For example, Waskowski represented Winston & Strawn’s former general counsel, Gary Goodman in an arbitration proceeding last year. Goodman stated that of the hundreds of attorneys he had seen in his long career, Adam was “clearly in the front tier.”