Jonathan Bunge – Career Overview
Jonathan Bunge is a managing partner at Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP in Chicago. Quinn Emanuel is a 900+ lawyer business litigation firm—the largest in the world devoted solely to business litigation and arbitration with 31 global office locations. The firm specializes in cases that go to trial. With significant trial and litigation experience, Jonathan (also known as Jon) is the managing partner of Quinn Emanuel’s Chicago office and the co-chair of the firm’s National Trial Practice Group. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Jon specializes in litigation law and has tried over 50 jury and bench trials as well as numerous domestic and international arbitrations. He has acted as the first chair litigator in most of these trials, many of which have been high-profile cases lasting weeks or months. He is uniquely qualified to help clients navigate all aspects of the litigation process, including investigations, trials, settlements, and appeals.
His expertise is spread across a wide breadth of practice areas, including but not limited to commercial disputes, non-compete and trade secret disputes, product cases, trademark matters, white-collar criminal law matters, and securities and financial disputes.
Jon has tried cases in federal courts and state courts across the country for large corporations such as McDonald’s, IBM, private equity firms, and others.
He represented McDonald’s in litigation of claims brought by franchisees for San Francisco and Northern California regions, where he tried three trials in a California state court in connection with matters and received a favorable outcome for the client. He also represented McDonald’s following a series of claims brought against them regarding Covid protocols at restaurants. He won on the majority of issues in a lengthy 2020 contested evidentiary hearing, which was held in Cook County Circuit Court.
In 2021, he won a two-week evidentiary preliminary injunction trial in a trade secret matter in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois and successfully argued in defense of that decision at the Seventh Circuit.
He also represented IBM as trial counsel in a breach of contract suit brought by the State of Indiana. The state’s claim of $1.3 billion in damages was rejected, and a ruling was issued in favor of IBM on its counterclaims.
Jon has advised and successfully litigated cases in numerous matters for private equity firms. In 2019 he won a lengthy arbitration in Chicago, Illinois for a private equity firm in a partnership dissolution issue. Then, in 2021, he successfully represented an arbitration for a private equity firm and its portfolio company on breach of contract, fraud, and other claims in Houston, Texas.
Having graduated from Princeton (A.B., cum laude), Jon went on to complete his J.D., with honors, from the University of Chicago Law School in 1988. After passing the bar exam, he was admitted to practice in 1990.
Jon has held the prestigious position of a law clerk, both at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to Hon. James Buckley, and at the U.S. Supreme Court, to Justice Byron White.
Jon joined the U.S. Justice Department in 1988 through the honors program in the Solicitor General’s Office shortly after graduating from the University of Chicago Law School. He then went on to serve as the deputy chief of the General Crimes Section, and assistant U.S. attorney for the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office from 1990 to 1999. His work at the office fell within three general categories: Prosecution of criminal cases commenced by the federal government, prosecution or defense of civil cases to which the U.S. was a party, and the collection of debts owed to the U.S. It was during this time that Jon became a master of trial work, handling high-profile cases with strong precedential implications.
While there, he also worked on several state and local public corruption cases. These included the prosecution of the Ford Heights, Illinois Chief of Police and six other police officers on corruption and racketeering charges; various cases arising out of the Silver Shovel investigation into political corruption in City and State government; a terrorism case involving the efforts of a Puerto Rican independence group to bomb a military recruiting center; the prosecution of a large Chicago street-gang that attempted to purchase military weapons to attack a Chicago police station; and a series of fraud prosecutions involving securities issues and other types of businesses.
He received several awards as a federal prosecutor, including the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney and four Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards.
Jon was recently recognized by Lawdragon 500 as one of the top 500 lawyers in the United States in commercial litigation and white-collar defense. Many other publications such as Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America have awarded him with notable mentions such as “Illinois Super Lawyer” and “one of Chicago’s top trial lawyers.” These peer designations are awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state.
While Jon regularly celebrates his accomplishments, he embraces adversity as part and parcel of the game. “One thing that is difficult about being a trial lawyer is that there is a very real risk of losing—especially in the cases for which we get hired. I have had some hard losses. I’ve tried to overcome these by learning whatever lessons I could from the experience and moving on,” he says.