Litigation Departments Of The Year 2014

The Connecticut Law Tribune


The Connecticut Law Tribune's annual Litigation Departments of the Year competition was truly a case study.

We had well over 30 law firms submit nearly 60 applications, with some firms opting to compete in more than one category. We picked three general litigation winners, choosing one each among big firms, small firms and out-of-state firms with Connecticut offices. Beyond that, we picked 11 niche winners in both traditional and emerging practice law areas. Finally, as part of our fledgling tradition, we chose one veteran litigator for a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Here are our winners:

Litigation Department Of The Year: Sam Schoonmaker Has Left A Lasting Mark On Divorce Law In Connecticut


For more than 40 years, Greenwich divorce lawyer Samuel V. Schoonmaker III has advised television personalities and jet-set executives on how to end their marriages. He served as divorce counsel to fashion trendsetter Martha Stewart, financier Carl Icahn and former football start Frank Gifford.

Litigation Department Of The Year: Axinn Veltrop Has Patented Approach To Succeeding In Federal Court


A Johnson & Johnson subsidiary sought to stop a manufacturer of spinal implants from violating its patents related to the technology. Fast action was needed. So the company turned to a Connecticut law firm that prides itself on getting results in federal courts across the country—Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider.


Litigation Department Of The Year: Siegel O'Connor Works Hard To Be A Leader In Employment Law


Siegel, O'Connor, O'Donnell & Beck likes to do more than win cases. The firm, with Hartford and New London offices, wants to have an impact on the law. Its leaders say they're able to do that by keeping their focus on one practice area.


Litigation Department Of The Year: Saxe Doernberger & Vita Finds 'Niche Within Niche' Representing Policyholders


Saxe Doernberger & Vita leverages its specialized practice with a small but growing team to benefit its insurance clients to the tune of nearly $48 million a year in recoveries. The Hamden-based insurance litigation boutique describes its practice as a "niche within a niche," referring to its decision to solely represent policyholders in coverage disputes.


Litigation Department Of The Year: Howd & Ludorf Uses Group Effort To Improve Its Defense Of Municipalities


Howd & Ludorf doesn't have a roundtable of knights. But it has a roundtable of lawyers. The Hartford firm, winner of the Connecticut Law Tribune's 2013 Litigation Departments of the Year Award for municipal litigation, regularly holds group discussions on cases to use the firm's brain trust of 19 lawyers.


Litigation Department Of The Year: Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder Knows How To Choose Its Battles Carefully


Top 10 lists are popular. Here's one that's more than a little interesting: Of the top 10 personal injury verdicts in Connecticut history, the Bridgeport firm of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder says it's represented the plaintiffs in six of them.


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