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1909 - 2019 | Celebrating Our 110th Anniversary: A Conversation with Douglas Masters

Doug Masters

You helped establish Loeb’s Chicago presence when you joined the firm in 2003. What was it like in those early days?

Chicago was the first new office that the firm had opened in nearly 10 years. The firm and the legal market had changed so much over that decade, so there wasn’t a turnkey approach in terms of how to do it and what it should look like. It was exciting and somewhat daunting at the same time. Fortunately, the group that opened the office was so enthusiastic and motivated to integrate with attorneys across, at that time, the firm’s three offices, that we helped pave the way. We couldn’t have done it without the support and attention of firm administration, who helped us quickly learn our way around the firm. Of the attorneys who opened the office, no one had been part of a larger firm, so we didn’t really even understand many of the other attorneys’ practices. It took some time to get up to speed, especially as we were dealing with all the administrative elements of an office opening at the same time. What I learned was that the partners’ retreat was key. Using that time to get to know our colleagues and learn about their areas of expertise made working together so much easier. 

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen as the Chicago office has grown?

When we opened in 2003, there were just 6 attorneys in the Chicago office, and we focused on a relatively limited number of practice areas, primarily soft IP. Now, 16 years later, we have close to 50 attorneys, and our practice offerings have grown to include patent litigation and counseling, advertising, digital media and technology, privacy and data, estate planning, entertainment, a wide range of litigation, and white collar defense. We are also fully integrated into the practice management and administration of the firm and work seamlessly with colleagues across every office, including the one in Asia. Chicago attorneys support firmwide functions and help lead departments. And we are trendsetters in some ways. We have many younger attorneys who shape our culture in unique ways.

Do you have a favorite Loeb memory or story that sticks with you?

Early on in Chicago, we got a chance to represent a client in a series of lawsuits with one of the client’s chief competitors over advertising claims. It was fast and furious. The resources we were able to pull together across the firm were impressive, as was the result. It showed me what a powerful collection of attorneys we had and the benefits of being part of a major firm.  

What’s in store for Loeb in Chicago as the office approaches the 20-year mark?

I’m excited to see how the Chicago office will continue to grow and change, and also how we are able to make our mark in the community. Loeb is a leader in some sectors that are prominent in Chicago, and as we grow we are going to look for ways to partner with other organizations in Chicago to showcase those strengths and support the businesses and leaders in our region. I’m really proud of how far the office and the firm have come since I joined the firm, and I look forward to where the next several years take us.