David Zott is an accomplished retired trial lawyer based in Kirkland’s Chicago office. He is equally at home in the courtroom, the boardroom or across the negotiating table. So “whether you think you’re actually going to trial, or if you just want it settled as favorably as possible, he’s good for both,” (Chambers USA). David’s practice focused on complex commercial and class action litigation, with an emphasis on energy, antitrust and bankruptcy litigation.

David represented clients as lead counsel in some of the country’s most complex and important antitrust cases. His clients described him as an “excellent trial lawyer,” who is “calm when under fire,” (Chambers USA). His antitrust work has been repeatedly recognized in leading publications, where he has been lauded as a “bulldog of a litigator, who knows his stuff,” (The Legal 500), and as “a seasoned,” “very thoughtful litigator who is balanced and strategic,” (Chambers USA).

David has tried numerous cases arising from major corporate reorganizations, as well as led independent investigations of complex corporate financial transactions and asset transfers. David’s trial work has been recognized by The AmLaw Litigation Daily, where he was named “Litigator of the Week,” and by The American Lawyer Magazine, which featured one of his trial victories in “Big Suits.” As a plaintiff, David successfully led a trial team that challenged a corporate spin off from Kerr-McGee Corporation. Following their trial win, the case ultimately settled for an historic $5.15 billion, which at the time represented the largest payment for cleanup of environmental contamination in U.S. history.

David also has extensive experience as lead trial counsel for clients in the energy field. He has litigated cases involving all facets of energy exploration, production and marketing. Most recently, David won a defense jury verdict for BP America in South Carolina state court featured in Litigation Daily: “Far From Home Turf, Kirkland Team Lands ‘SUPERB’ Win in South Carolina.”


Thought Leadership


Panelist, Academy of Court-Appointed Arbitrators (Spring 2022)

Guest Lecturer, Emory Law School, Restructuring (Fall 2021)

Guest Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School, “Litigating Financial Disputes,” (Spring 2015)


Recognized in “500 Leading Litigators”

  • Lawdragon, 2024

Listed as Local Litigation Star for Antitrust; Environmental

  • Benchmark Litigation, 2019–2024

Listed as a top Antitrust Lawyer

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2011–2023

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Antitrust Law

  • Best Lawyers®, 2015–2024

Listed as “Elite” in Illinois

  • Global Competition Review 100, 2022

Listed as a top Antitrust Litigator

  • The Legal 500 U.S., 2007, 2010, 2012–2016, 2018

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association

  • Antitrust Section

The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law (f/k/a Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation)


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2008Texas
  • 1986Illinois


  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • Supreme Court of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas


  • University of Michigan Law SchoolJ.D.

    magna cum laude


    Order of the Coif

  • Northwestern UniversityB.A.with Highest Distinction1983

    Phi Beta Kappa

  • Virginia Military Institute1980