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November 21, 2008 6:13 PM

Sidley Austin's Big Week: Bankruptcy, Olympics, and High-Stakes Litigation

Posted by Brian Baxter

The second-to-last week of November 2008 was a good one for Sidley Austin.

On Friday the firm was retained as restructuring counsel by Chicago-based General Growth Properties, a major retail real estate investment trust that's the second-largest owner of shopping malls in the U.S.

The AmLaw Daily has learned that James Conlan and Larry Nyhan, cochairmen of the firm's corporate reorganization and bankruptcy group, are advising General Growth. According to The Wall Street Journal, the REIT has $900 million in mortgages due next week on properties it owns in Las Vegas, and has requested an extension.

Only a day before, the firm won a major antitrust victory for AT&T in U.S. district court in Kansas City, Kansas, when a jury rejected a $400 million claim by class action plaintiffs that the telecommunications giant had conspired to fix prices on surcharges to customers. (The jury did hold AT&T liable on a breach of contract claim, ordering the company to pay $16.9 million to overcharged customers.)

Sidley Austin's trial team was led by antitrust partner Charles Douglas, who moonlights as chairman of the firm's management committee, and involved securities litigation cochair David Graham and antitrust litigation partner David Schiffman.

And a week earlier the firm was named principal outside counsel for the Chicago 2016 Exploratory Committee, a nonprofit organization established to represent the Windy City in its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Executive committee chair Thomas Cole--named one of The American Lawyer's Dealmakers of the Year in 2007--is serving on the organization's committee and chairing its legacy subcommittee. Corporate partner Chris Abbinante is coordinating the firm's pro bono efforts with the city's organizing committee, and senior corporate associate Jessica Fairchild has been seconded to the organization as its general counsel.

The city is considered an early frontrunner for the games because of the recent presidential election of hometown favorite Barack Obama.

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