John Shonkwiler has 21 years of experience as a commercial litigator and trial lawyer. John is listed in the U.S. News & World Report "Best Lawyers" directory. He is recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters and as a “Leading Lawyer” by Law Bulletin Publishing. In 2009, Law Bulletin Publishing also recognized John as one of its “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch.”
At Leland Grove, John has represented several clients in the hospitality business, including restaurateurs and hotel owners, in a variety of contract disputes. He also has litigated federal copyright and Illinois trademark cases, and a variety of "business divorce" cases on behalf of owners, officers and employees who have disputes with their former employers and partners. John has been counsel on both the plaintiff's and defendant's side in emergency injunction actions, including one case in which he obtained a TRO for Springfield's biggest real estate firm.
Before starting Leland Grove, John spent 14 years as an associate and equity partner at the litigation boutique firm Novack and Macey LLP, where he had the privilege of working with and learning from some of Chicago's finest litigators. At Novack and Macey, he earned a number of exciting victories for clients, including the following highlights.
John and his colleagues helped the Trump Organization earn a string of victories in purchase and construction disputes relating to the Chicago Trump Tower. On Oct. 16, 2013, John was one of two Novack and Macey lawyers who received a Trial Lawyer Excellence Award from the Jury Verdict Reporter for their victory in the federal jury trial of the case Goldberg v. 401 North Wabash Venture LLC and Trump Chicago Managing Member LLC. The verdict on May 23, 2013, garnered national headlines.
John also was part of a team that helped Chicago’s Millennium Park Grill obtain two important victories over local government–first, persuading the Cook County Circuit Court, the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court to strike down a property tax levied by the Cook County Assessor on the grounds that the County had exceeded its taxing authority. Then, most recently, they prevailed in a year-long bench trial against the City of Chicago, defeating the City’s claim that sought to have the Park Grill’s contract declared void.
John second-chaired a trial team that obtained a $70 million judgment for Pentech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. against Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. in a federal trial in Chicago. The dispute concerned how a contract between Pentech and Par applied to Par’s revenues from sales of a generic alternative to the blockbuster antidepressant drug Paxil.
John and his colleagues successfully represented Night Vision Corporation (“NVC”), inventors of a “Panoramic Night Vision Goggle” that the U. S. Air Force hailed as a revolutionary piece of military equipment. According to NVC’s suit, the Air Force was on the verge of awarding NVC a contract to produce thousands of goggles when NVC’s chief subcontractor misappropriated the technology and took the contract away from NVC. John prepared a partial summary judgment motion on a key issue in the case that was successful and helped lead to a settlement the night before the jury trial was to begin in federal court in Virginia.
John also defended a world-renowned NASCAR racing team against a lawsuit in federal court claiming misuse and conversion of racing equipment, and got the case dismissed on the pleadings for lack of personal jurisdiction.
In addition to his practice experience, John has written and spoken extensively on e-discovery, particularly the timely issue of “reflex” emailing and how better email habits and organization can reduce litigation costs and exposure.
John graduated from the University of Michigan in 1992 with a B.A. in English, and from the University of Illinois College of Law, Magna Cum Laude, in 1998. He was a member of the Illinois Law Review.
John is a member of the Illinois Bar Association and Chicago Bar Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of Chicago Lights and the Board of Trustees of Fourth Presbyterian Church, and remains active in both organizations.