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Phillip S. Reed

Partner Emeritus

P: (312) 205-4408

Phil Reed chaired the firm’s Litigation Practice Group from 2007 to 2021. He represented businesses—large, mid-size and small—as well as business owners and entrepreneurs, in litigation in state and federal courts.  He also provides practical advice on how to avoid litigation or end disputes quickly—whether through anticipating potential problems, recommending targeted business solutions, or finding a way to resolve a looming dispute.

Phil recognizes that success is measured by whether the client’s objectives have been met, and that those objectives sometimes may be broader in scope or more complex than the particular issues presented in a specific lawsuit. The team at PFS make sure every strategic choice is designed to both advance the case and promote the client’s larger interests. And whether it is a bet-the-company lawsuit or a more confined dispute, successful litigation requires the ability to be aggressive and pragmatic at the same time. Solutions can’t be called solutions if they aren’t cost-effective. The litigators at PFS understand how to manage litigation and devise a strategy that minimizes cost, reduces aggravation, and recognize the business disruption that litigation can cause.

Phil is a trial lawyer with more than 38 years of experience in handling business and commercial disputes. He handles a wide range of business disputes in courts and tribunals throughout the United States. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney every year since 2012. His particular areas of expertise include:

  • Disputes among partners and the owners of closely held corporations, corporate governance disputes, and claims alleging business oppression or breach of fiduciary duty
  • Fraud and other business torts
  • Commercial and contract lawsuits
  • Disputes arising out of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, including breach of contract and disputes
  • Disputes arising out of covenants not to compete, non-solicitation agreements, and the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Licensing, patent, trademark and other intellectual property disputes
  • Litigation involving construction projects, construction design defects, project finance, commercial leases and real estate development

Phil’s successes on behalf of clients include:

  • Won summary judgment on behalf of a trademark owner defeating a licensee’s multi-million dollar claims that the trademark owner was violating the licensee’s exclusive right to sell the trademarked product in Japan. Successfully argued the appeal in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the court’s decision in favor of PFS’s client. 
  • Obtained a $6.7 million judgment in favor of a manufacturer who brought claims against its Chinese co-venturer for misappropriating the manufacturer’s trade secrets in order to begin secretly competing and diverting industrial customers. The court entered judgment against the Chinese co-venturer and its principal as a sanction for a sustained series of discovery abuses, including the destruction of evidence.
  • Successfully defended a product manufacturer in an arbitration brought by a packaging supplier who alleged that the manufacturer was obligated to purchase $2.6 million in packaging under the automatic renewal provisions of the parties’ contract. After cross examination of the supplier’s principal, the case settled mid-arbitration for less than 10% of the supplier’s demand.
  • Successfully defended a former company president against claims that he had breached fiduciary duties and therefore forfeited his $1 million ownership share in the company. To resolve the lawsuit, the company ultimately agreed to purchase our client’s shares for their full $1 million value.
  • Obtained judgment in favor of a private equity firm against its business partner in a multi-million dollar arbitration alleging that the PE firm’s business partner had breached an exclusivity provision by misappropriating a potential corporate acquisition.
  • Won summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, on behalf of the owner of a high-rise office building dismissing an asbestos abatement contractor’s claim that it had been awarded a multi-million dollar contract. Air Safety, Inc. v. Teachers Realty Corporation, 185 Ill. 2d 457 (1999).
  • Obtained dismissal of a design firm’s claims that the general contractor had conspired with the project architect to interfere with the design firm’s economic interest in the project. Successfully argued the case on appeal. 
  • Defeated an injunction sought by the co-owner of company who sought reinstatement as a company officer after he was terminated for failure to devote his full business time to the company.
  • Won summary judgment in favor of an investment banking firm dismissing its financing agent’s claim that it was owed a $4 million commission in connection with a $360 million leveraged lease financing.
  • Defended and resolved multi-billion dollar claims against major international bank brought by Enron’s shareholders alleging that the bank had structured transactions that were designed to help Enron falsify its balance sheet by keeping debt and liabilities off Enron’s books.
  • Successfully resolved claims against an engineer brought by a municipal water utility alleging that a six mile cast-in-place concrete water tunnel could not withstand operating pressures and therefore required steel lining at a cost of $50 million.
  • Represented management company and real estate holding company at trial with respect to claims that more than $10 million in assets and past payments should be forfeited to the estate of a bankrupt hospital. It was alleged that the CEO of the two companies (who also was the CEO of the not-for-profit hospital) had engaged in self-dealing and fraud in structuring transactions between the hospital and his two companies. The claims were the subject of a five week trial in United States Bankruptcy Court.

Before joining PFS in 2007, Phil was a partner at Mayer Brown LLP, where he practiced law for 20 years. At Mayer Brown, Phil was a member of the hiring, attorney evaluation, diversity, and partnership promotion committees. He also chaired the Chicago summer intern program for two years.

Practice Areas:

  • Litigation


  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D. 1984
  • University of Cincinnati, B.A. 1980


  • Illinois

Court Admissions:

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin


  • Chicago Bar Association
  • American Bar Association:
    - Forum Committee on the
    Construction Industry
    - ABA Section of Litigation


  • United States District Court Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service, 2014
  • Super Lawyers – 2012-Present