Christa Cottrell is a litigation partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP who focuses on complex commercial and antitrust litigation. Her clients include some of the nation’s largest companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Abbott Laboratories, Baxter, AbbVie, and IBM. She has litigated cases at the trial and appellate stages in various state and federal courts. 

Christa has broad experience in all aspects of litigation and has served as trial counsel in a number of high-profile cases. Most recently, Christa successfully represented Abbott Laboratories in the fifth retrial of what is believed to be one of the longest running civil cases in Ohio state court. The first trial resulted in a significant verdict for the plaintiff; the final trial resulted in a unanimous verdict for Abbott. The American Lawyer likened the case to “Groundhog Day” given the number of trials, but found plaintiff’s persistence was “not working” any longer, as Kirkland “handily dispatched the case.” In a breach of contract and fraud case for IBM, Christa helped lead the team to victory. IBM turned a $400 million claim against it into a $14 million award for it, which the National Law Journal claimed it would be “an understatement” to call a win.

Christa also leads a successful antitrust practice, including for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Discover Financial Services, Sanderson Farms, and Clemens Food Group. She has won or successfully resolved a number of high-stakes antitrust class action matters, including for General Motors, Baxter Pharmaceuticals and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

As far as other commercial litigation, Christa has won dispositive motions on behalf of IBM, AbbVie, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. She also has favorably resolved a significant number of disputes including, most recently, obtaining a settlement in excess of $100 million on behalf of a Fortune 500 company.

Within the legal community, Christa has presented on a number of topics concerning commercial litigation and antitrust issues, including Trends in Litigation, Northwestern Law School, E-Discovery Issues, Women in Antitrust, Trends in Antitrust Litigation, and Government Investigations & Civil Litigation Institute. She is also involved with a number of Firm committees, including the Kirkland Institute for Trial Advocacy, Recruiting, and Mentoring through Kirkland’s Leadership Council. As far as community service, Christa has served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Conflict Resolution for the past three years where she currently serves as Secretary. Christa has represented numerous pro bono clients, including successfully arguing a full reversal before the Seventh Circuit on behalf of a federal inmate and handling the subsequent trial.



Recognized as "Up and Coming" in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for Antitrust, 2021

Recognized in The Legal 500 United States — Antitrust: Civil Litigation/Class Actions: Defense, 2018,2020 & 2021 and Antitrust: Cartel, 2021

Recognized in Benchmark Litigation’s “40 & Under Hot List,” 2020

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association

Illinois Bar Association


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2005Illinois


  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


  • University of Michigan Law SchoolJ.D.2005

    Order of the Coif

    Associate Editor, Contributing Editor, University of Michigan Law Review

  • University of MichiganB.A., English & Political Science2002
    University Honors