Skip to main content

James D. Benak is a partner in Barton’s litigation practice in its Chicago office. An accomplished litigator, Jim has achieved exceptional outcomes as a trial lawyer and counsel for large public companies in the utilities, engineering, transportation, manufacturing, consumer products, and technology industries. He acts as lead trial counsel in insurance coverage, patent infringement, trade secret infringement, trademark and trade dress infringement, fraud, and other significant litigation in state and federal courts and internationally.

Jim’s positive results comprise several multimillion-dollar recoveries, including bad faith and punitive damages awards on behalf of public company clients. He is an experienced public company general counsel and advisor to boards of directors on matters of strategy, corporate governance, transactions, employment, major litigation, and mergers.

Jim has client side experience as in-house counsel to Union Pacific Railroad, and General Counsel to its technology subsidiaries,  and General Counsel to NYSE company Wallace Computer Services, Inc. As a private practitioner, Jim was a partner with Jenner & Block for over a decade as senior trial partner and lead trial counsel for large public and private companies.


  • Arbitration
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate Formation, Governance, and Compliance
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Internal Investigations
  • Labor and Employment Disputes

Industry Experience:

  • Generation and Energy Services
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing and Distribution
  • Technology
  • Transportation


  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Lawyers Club of Chicago


  • Creighton University School of Law, J.D.
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha, B.S.


  • Illinois Supreme Court
  • Nebraska Supreme Court
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Seventh Circuit, and Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • Pro Hac Vice admissions include Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio,Texas and Wisconsin