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by Carter Isham | March 13, 2024

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As long as you have a good winter coat, the Second City is a great place to live, with amazing food, top-notch museums, and high-quality work opportunities In addition to the many  prestigious BigLaw firms based there, Chicago is also home to some incredible midsize firms that, while not necessarily asfamous, are still highly attractive to jobseekers looking to work in the Windy City. This article compares the top five midsize Chicago-headquartered firms from the 2024 Chicago regional prestige rankings. For more Chicago options, you can review Vault’s Chicago prestige rankings and the Vault profiles of any firms you’re interested in.

The five top-ranked Chicago midsize firms based on our 2024 Chicago prestige rankings are Barack FerrazzanoBartlit BeckNeal Gerber EisenbergGoldberg Kohn; and Banner & Witcoff. Below are a few relevant highlights about each of these firms.

Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP

BKFN operates two U.S. offices: its Chicago headquarters and a second in Minneapolis. In addition to being the #1 Chicago Midsize firm, BKFN is #22 in our overall Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For rankings. Significant practice areas include bankruptcy; compensation and employment; corporate and securities; financial institutions; insurance coverage; intellectual property; litigation; manufacturing, distribution, and franchising; motor vehicle; real estate; tax and business planning; and white collar defense and regulatory enforcement. A non-exhaustive sample of the industries they represent includes fashion, luxury goods, and retail; manufacturing; motor vehicles; technology; wine and spirits; and energy.

Bartlit Beck LLP

Bartlit Beck sits at #2 in our Chicago Midsize prestige rankings. The firm employs under 100 attorneys between its Chicago headquarters and Denver office. They also appear on our Top 150 Under 150 list, and—notably—are the #3 Litigation Specialty firm in our Practice Area prestige rankings. The firm draws a distinction between litigation boutiques and trial firms, wishing to be known as the latter. The firm does trial work in a variety of areas including antitrust, class actions, IP litigation, and products liability, among others. Clients have included Walgreens, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon, United Technologies, Bayer AG, and DuPont.

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

Landing at #3 in Vault’s 2024 Chicago Midsize prestige rankings, Neal Gerber Eisenberg’s team of less than 150 attorneys operates exclusively from a single office in Chicago. The firm enjoys a number of placements in our Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For rankings, including #6 for Pro Bono, #13 for Wellness, and #16 for Diversity. Associates describe the culture as pleasant and collegial, and the billable hour requirement is an achievable 1,900. Partnership is realistic and transparent, although it does require hard work, and counsel roles and exit opportunities are available as well.

Goldberg Kohn

Ranked at #4 in Vault’s 2024 Chicago Midsize prestige rankings and also noted on our Top 150 Under 150 list, Goldberg Kohn’s single office in Chicago is home to just under 100 attorneys The firm's practices include banking and finance, bankruptcy and financial services, real estate, class-action defense, and labor and employment, among others. The firm has a few niche specialties, including IP groups dedicated to serving the toy industry and the world of musical instruments—the firm has a longstanding relationship representing Fender. The Commercial Finance practice also has some heavyweight clients, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Golub Capital.

Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

Banner & Witcoff sits at #5 in our Chicago Midsize prestige rankings, #3 in our IP Specialty Practice Area prestige rankings, #20 for Diversity and #25 for Wellness in our Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For rankings, and appears on our Top 150 Under 150 list. They have four U.S. offices including their Chicago headquarters. Working exclusively in IP (and doing the full range of IP work from copyrights to trademarks to patents and litigating all three), the firm represents industries including but not limited to chemistry and chemical engineering; computer technologies; internet; ecommerce; and business methods, life sciences, and medical devices.

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If your heart is set on Chicago and you don't think BigLaw is for you, these five firms represent quite a variety of practice areas, industries, and cultures while still being prestigious in their own right. We highly encourage you to take a deeper look at these and all of the other firms in our Chicago Midsize rankings as you decide where to focus your jobseeking efforts.

Best of luck from all of us at Vault Law on your legal job search!

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