A Life Of Service: How Jonathan Bunge Became One Of The Most Successful Trial Lawyers In America

Jonathan Bunge is a name that resonates across the legal community in America. With over 30 years of experience in litigation, he has garnered a reputation as one of the most successful trial lawyers in the country. Bunge is currently the Managing Partner of the Chicago office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, as well as Co-Chair of the firm’s National Trial Practice Group. 

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Bunge grew up in a family of successful lawyers. His father, Jonathan G. Bunge, was known as a formidable litigator and handled some of the most important antitrust matters of his day.

Bunge entered Princeton University in 1984, where he developed a liking for evolutionary biology and modern Chinese history. His natural instincts, however, steered his interests towards the law, and Bunge went on to attend the University of Chicago Law School, where he completed his J.D. with honors in 1988.

Fresh out of law school, Bunge landed his first assignment as a judicial law clerk, serving the Hon. James Buckley in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, while the following year he won a prestigious clerkship with Justice Byron White on the U.S. Supreme Court. During this period, Bunge immersed himself in numerous appeals and learned indispensable skills that would later set him apart as one of the best trial lawyers in the country. 

Fresh from his stint as a judicial clerk, Bunge joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where over a nine-year period he served as Deputy Chief for the General Crimes Division and as lead prosecutor in a series of high-profile cases, including 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 notorious “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 and other business issues. 

While working as a federal prosecutor, Bunge received numerous awards, 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.

In his lengthy career in public and private practice, Bunge has tried over 50 jury and bench trials and has been the first-chair litigator in the majority of these trials, many of which have lasted for weeks or months. 

Bunge has tried cases in many areas, including commercial disputes, non-compete and trade secret disputes, products cases, environmental matters, white-collar criminal matters, and securities and financial disputes. His clients include some of the world’s largest companies, as well as individuals and smaller businesses. 

Bunge’s success as a trial lawyer is rooted in his personal philosophy. He believes that within every person, there are mixtures of motives, good and bad. Despite his failings and those of others, Bunge tries not to give up on the good. This philosophy is evident in his work as a trial lawyer, where he remains committed to representing his clients to the best of his abilities.

Bunge’s success as a trial lawyer and dedication to community service has earned him numerous accolades. In addition to being repeatedly recognized as ‘one of Chicago’s top lawyers’, he has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading trial lawyer in Illinois, and by Lawdragon as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and his expertise in trial law is widely respected in the legal community.

While Bunge’s career achievements are impressive, his dedication to community service is equally admirable. He actively supports nonprofits such as The Legal Aid Society and the Metropolitan Planning Council and has also co-founded a nonprofit called Living in Peace Successfully, which aims to support individuals in their personal and professional development. 

Bunge’s commitment to community service is rooted in his upbringing. His father was active in various charitable organizations including the Red Cross and United Way, while his maternal grandfather, who was an Episcopalian priest, instilled within him a strong moral compass.

His ideal of service to the community is a guiding principle that has also influenced his career decisions and personal life. He strongly believes that the law can be a powerful tool for social change and that lawyers have a responsibility to use their skills and expertise to help those who are less fortunate. This belief has motivated him to work on cases that have a positive impact on society, and he has earned a reputation for being a lawyer who fights for justice and equality.

Despite his impressive career achievements, Bunge remains humble and focused on his family. He describes his children as his greatest joy and prioritizes spending time with them, his wife, Jennifer, and his two dogs.

Looking to the future, Bunge has several items on his bucket list, including going back to school, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and cycling across the country. He also hopes to continue serving the community through his work with nonprofits.

Related Posts