In the News Law Bulletin Publishing Company

40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch - Scott W. Fowkes

Scott Fowkes, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, doesn't shy away from representing some of the country's most sophisticated clients in their most complex litigation matters. Among his clients, for example, are BP America and General Motors Corporation.

When BP, formerly known as BP Amoco and the world's third-largest energy company, has a legal problem, it often turns to Fowkes. "Scott's skills in depositions, brief-writing, oral argument, and managing complex litigation have helped us obtain dismissals in several significant cases," says Timothy Moorehead, corporate counsel for BP. Members of BP's Law Department interact daily with the top litigators in the country, and they have tabbed Scott as one of their rising stars. "Developing the next generation of outstanding trial attorneys is a responsibility we take seriously," says Roland Filippi, BP's Assistant General Counsel. "When we identify special talent at one of our outside firms, we work with that firm to develop that attorney for our mutual benefit. At Kirkland & Ellis, Scott emerged early on as one such candidate." Fowkes has successfully represented BP in a number of big cases, including a putative nationwide class action in Alabama alleging contamination from underground storage tanks, consumer fraud cases, individual and class action product liability lawsuits in California and South Dakota, a highly-publicized wrongful death action involving a collision between two vessels on Lake Michigan, and antitrust cases.

GM also routinely calls on Fowkes. "Scott has obtained dismissals in several significant class action lawsuits, some in Illinois and some in other states such as Alabama. He is one of our `go to' attorneys who we can count on to position us favorably in cases of significant risk," says Robert Neaton of GMAC. For example, Fowkes argued and won a case in the Eleventh Circuit that significantly limited the potential liability of finance companies. Scott has also tried several cases for GM. According to Neaton, "Scott combines (1) methodical mastery of the facts and law, (2) good strategic advice., (3) very smooth, polished speaking style that invites trust, (4) inquisitiveness, (5) thorough follow-up., (6) personal integrity and humility. The result is a powerful persuasion both in writing and in oral advocacy."

Several of Fowkes' nominators commented on his all-around legal and personal skills. "[H]is greatest strength is his ability to see the big picture and to focus on the end game and not be diverted from implementing his strategies," BP's Filippi says. "He understands our businesses, and he always makes certain that litigation strategies are aligned with business strategies." Fowkes has also impressed his peers with the way he interacts with juries and judges. He brings to the courtroom a presence that is matched only by his legal knowledge, say his nominators. "Scott's stand-up lawyering is excellent, and he has presence in the courtroom," Filippi adds. "He is genuine, and judges, juries and clients appreciate his honest, to-the-point communication style. Most of all, he is fun to work with--a trait that cannot be undervalued in today's litigation environment."

Reprinted with permission from the Law Bulletin Publishing Company, July 2002.