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Jay Edelson

Founder & CEO

I graduated cum laude with a degree in philosophy from Brandeis University and received my J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. I primarily handle class, mass and governmental actions and complex general commercial litigation matters.

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Q

What was the first class action you ever brought?

A

When I was a young associate at a terrific firm named Plotkin, Jacobs & Orlofsky, I brought a case called Ramlow v. Family Health Plan (Wisc. Cir. Ct., WI). Our lawsuit challenged an insurance company's decision to terminate the health insurance to groups of self-insureds. Days before the termination would have gone into effect, we won a temporary injunction, which was sustained on appeal, prohibiting the company from terminating anyone's health insurance. We eventually settled the case ensuring that each class member would remain insured.

Curriculum Vitae

JAY EDELSON is the Founder and CEO of Edelson PC. He is considered one of the nation’s leading plaintiff’s lawyers, having secured over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for his clients.  law360 described Jay as a  “Titan of the Plaintiff’s Bar“.

 

Of Counsel explained that Jay has made a career out of “battling bullies”:

 

Big banks. Big tech firms. Big Pharma. The big business that is the NCAA. Plaintiff ‘s attorney Jay Edelson wages battle against many of the nation’s most fortified institutions. Not only does he refuse to back down to anyone, regardless of their stature or deep pockets, he welcomes the challenge.

Edelson earned a monumental victory in the US Supreme Court in what’s been characterized as one of the most important consumer privacy cases of the last several years, Robins v. Spokeo. He and his team are leading the charge against the NCAA in representing former college football players who suffered concussions, and their families. And, on behalf of labor unions and governmental bodies, he’s elbow-deep in litigation against pharmaceutical companies and distributors for their pivotal role in the opioid crisis.

Simply put, he’s a transformational lawyer.

 

Other commentators have similarly singled out Jay’s willingness to tackle problems other lawyers shy away from and his creativity in finding winning strategies that were not readily apparent.  He successfully litigated cases of first impression against the national banks in the wake of the housing collapse, leading to the reinstatement of over $3 billion in home credit lines.  Through his privacy cases, he has “fostered a reputation for his uncanny ability to come up with creative standing and damages arguments” leading to “momentum-shifting rulings in challenges to the data security and information-gathering practices of companies.”

 

The American Bar Association recognized Jay Edelson as one of the “most creative minds in the legal industry.” law360 noted that he has “taken on some of the biggest companies and law firms in the world and has had success where others have not.”  Yet another put it more even more simply, explaining “when it comes to legal strategy and execution, Jay is simply one of the best in the country.”

 

Jay has received special recognition for his success in taking on Silicon Valley.  The national press has dubbed Jay and his firm the “most feared” litigators in Silicon Valley and, according to the New York Times, tech’s “babyfaced … boogeyman.” Most recently, Chicago Lawyer Magazine dubbed Jay “Public Enemy No. 1 in Silicon Valley.”  In the emerging area of privacy law, the  international press has called Jay one of the world’s “profiliertesten (most prominent)” privacy class action attorneys.  The National Law Journal has similarly recognized Jay as a “Cybersecurity Trailblazer” — one of only two plaintiff’s attorneys to win this recognition.

 

Jay was recently appointed Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in their consolidated data breach/failure to notify lawsuit against Uber Technologies.  He has also been appointed Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in a suit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over their alleged misuse of consumer data. Jay  has been appointed to represent over 2 dozen municipalities and other governmental entities in prosecuting fraud claims relating to the opioid crisis.

 

Jay is a frequent speaker and writer on class and mass action issues, the practice of law more generally, and training and law firm management.  In recognition of the fact that his firm runs like a start-up that “just happens to be a law firm,” Jay was recently named to “Chicago’s Top Ten Startup Founders over 40” by Tech.co and was recognized by The Unicorn in the Room’s “The 45 Over 45: Entrepreneurs Over Age 45 Who Are Disrupting the Way We Do Business.”

 

Jay has taught class actions and negotiations at Chicago-Kent College of Law and privacy litigation at UC Berkeley School of Law.  He has written a blog for Thomson Reuters, called Pardon the Disruption, where he focused on ideas necessary to reform and reinvent the legal industry and has contributed opinion pieces to TechCrunch, Quartz, the Chicago Tribune, law360, and others.  He also serves on law 360’s Privacy & Consumer Protection editorial advisory board.

 

Jay was recently included in Angeion Group’s “Leading Litigator” Series, where, in a 2-part interview (here and here), he provides expansive thoughts on his views of class action practice and law firm management.

 

Jay currently serves on Chicago’s 47th Ward Democratic Organization Judicial Recommendation Committee, which is responsible for interviewing, vetting and slating Cook County Judicial Candidates for election.

 

Representative General Class, Mass, and Governmental Cases

  • Co-lead counsel in National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation – Single Sport/Single School (Football) multi-district litigation, bringing personal injury lawsuits against the NCAA, conferences, and its member institutions over concussion-related injuries.  This case is considered to be “one of the largest actions pending in the country, a multi district litigation … that currently included about 100 personal injury class actions filed by college football players[.]”
  • Representing labor unions and over 2 dozen governmental entities from throughout the country in lawsuits against the drug manufacturers and distributors over the opioid crisis.
  • Lead counsel in several class actions against the major banks for suspending home credit lines in the wake of the financial crash. Settlements collectively restored billions of dollars in credit lines.
  • Lead counsel in Wigod v. Wells Fargo, which was the first case in the country to allow consumers standing to sue over claims over the failure to honor home loan modification agreements.  After the Court of Appeals noted that “prompt resolution” of the case was necessary “for the good of the country,” the case settled, resulting in loan forgiveness and substantial cash payments.
  • Lead counsel in $30 million class action settlement involving lead-infused Thomas the Tank Engine children’s toys.
  • Part of a U.S. and Canadian class action mediation team obtaining a $24 million settlement involving the 2008 contaminated pet food recalls.
  • Part of a team successfully representing personal injury claimants suffering from effects of second hand smoke while working at a riverboat casino.
  • Part of team representing public housing residents in environmental class action brought against the city.  Suit settled for over $10 million.
  • Obtained an injunction preventing an insurance company from canceling the health insurance of thousands of self-employed individuals, later reaching settlement guaranteeing them insurance for the future.

 

Representative Privacy and Technology Cases

  • Recognized as one of the “pioneers” of privacy class action litigation, having successfully litigated cases involving claims of privacy breaches or intrusive behavior against companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Bauer Publishing and Sears and reaching settlements collectively totaling over $300 million.
  • Co-lead counsel in In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, claiming Facebook violated Illinois state biometric law in collecting face templates.  Court certified an over 6 million person class in this multi-billion dollar suit.
  • Appointed Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in their consolidated data breach/failure to notify lawsuit against Uber Technologies.
  • Appointed Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in a suit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over their alleged misuse of consumer data
  • Lead counsel in Robins v. Spokeo, where the United States Supreme Court held that “intangible” harms can satisfy Article 3 standing requirements
  • After winning seminal decision in the 11th Circuit, reached the first three data breach class action settlements that provided class members cash without any showing of identify theft or other post breach injury.
  • Lead counsel in over a half-dozen nationwide class action settlements collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars involving claims of unauthorized charges on cellular telephones.
  • Lead counsel in Birchmeier v. Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc., resulting in a $76m settlement — the largest ever cash privacy settlement to date.
  • Nicknamed the “Spam Slammer” by the Chicago Sun-Times after developing the law to prevent unsolicited text messages being sent to cellular telephones.  Total “text spam” settlements exceed $130 million.
  • Representing putative classes in over a dozen biometric privacy cases.  Only attorney to reach a class settlement of a biometric privacy case.

 

Representative Commercial Litigation Matters

  • Brought in as lead negotiator in dispute on behalf of a tech company against a VC firm alleging fraud and violations of the Securities & Exchange Act.  Case resolved successfully pre-suit.
  • Represented tech company in legal malpractice dispute, resulting in multi-million dollar settlement — well in excess of the “hard” damages suffered.
  • Represented start-up in legal malpractice dispute, resulting in multi-million dollar settlement.
  • Advised company that faced a class action in related malpractice claims it had against its law firm, leading to a significant decrease in fees owed.
  • Brought in to negotiate potential class action against brought against a nationwide nutritional food company.  Case resolved prior to suit being filed for a fraction of even the nuisance value of the case.

 

Representative Corporate Consulting

  • Advised start-up on host of legal issues, including reformulating their business plan to ensure compliance with myriad state regulatory schemes. Company later became recognized as one of the fastest growing businesses in Chicago.
  • Consulted with successful mid-west technology company, also recognized as one of the fastest growing in the area.
  • Consulted with med tech start up, including help with product launch, negotiation of licensing agreement,  and general strategic issues.
  • Consultant on several tech start-ups, providing legal and strategic advice.

 

Representative Mediations

  • Lead negotiator in over 100 mediations collectively involving multi-billions of dollars at issue.  The mediations included consumer and employment class actions, individual, multi-party, mass and class personal injury lawsuits, and individual cases ranging from business to business disputes to employment claims to civil rights matters.
  • Served as a private mediator in successful resolution of 8-figure class action lawsuit.
  • Served as an informal mediator in several class action disputes involving fee issues and objections.

 

Awards and Honors

  • Recognized as a “Cybersecurity Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal, 2016.
  • Won the first ever “President’s Award” given by the Illinois Bar Foundation, 2016.
  • Finalist for the 2016 World Technology Awards in the law category.
  • Named one of “Chicago’s Top Ten Startup Founders over 40” by Tech.co, 2016.
  • Name to The Unicorn in the Room’s “The 45 Over 45: Entrepreneurs Over Age 45 Who Are Disrupting the Way We Do Business.”
  • Named a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360, 2014.
  • Selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer, 2012-2018.
  • Selected as a “Leading Lawyer” in the areas of plaintiff’s class and mass actions, data privacy, consumer protection, and technology law, 2016-2018.
  • Benchmark Litigation: Top Illinois Plaintiff class action lawyer, 2013, 2014.
  • Named to Top 100 Trial Lawyers, by the National Trial Lawyers, 2013.
  • Twice received official commendation from the City of Lancaster, California for “exemplif[ing] the skill of a true litigator;” first for reaching a $47 million settlement with Jiffy Lube and, second, for reaching a $9 million settlement with Netlfix.
  • Named one of the top 40 Illinois attorneys under 40 by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s 2009. In that award, Jay was heralded for his history of bringing and winning landmark cases and for his “reputation for integrity” in the “rough and tumble class action arena.” In the same award, he was called “one of the best in the country” when it “comes to legal strategy and execution.”
  • Included in the American Bar Association “24 hours of Legal Rebels” program, where he was dubbed one of “the most creative minds in the legal profession” for his views of associate training and firm management.
  • Presented with the Annual Humanitarian Award for his “personal integrity, professional achievements, and charitable contributions” by the Hope Presbyterian Church.

 

Teaching and Appointments

  • Appointed to Chicago’s 47th Ward Democratic Organization Judicial Recommendation Committee.
  • Former adjunct professor at UC Berkeley School of Law, Privacy Litigation Seminar.
  • Former adjunct professor at The Chicago-Kent College of Law, Class Action Litigation and Negotiation Seminar.
  • Guest lecturer at Northwestern University Law School, the University of California, Hastings School of Law, Georgetown Law and The John Marshall Law School on consumer, privacy, and class action issues.
  • Faculty for The Sedona Conference Cooperation Training Program (Feb. 21-22, 2014) (clinical training on negotiation and cooperation techniques).
  • Appointed to be the founding co-chair of the Sedona Conference’s Working Group (11) on Data Security and Privacy Liability.

 

Media

  • Appeared on dozens of local, national, and international television and radio programs, including The Today Show, ABC World News, Politics Nation, Your World With Neil Cavuto, Big Story with John Gibson, CNN, CBS Radio and NPR.
  • Appeared in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and other publications.
  • Numerous regional, national, and international profiles, including cover story on New Times‘ Sunday Business section, wherein the Times dubbed him tech’s “babyfaced” “boogeyman” and a profile in Die Ziet where he was called “der gäger im hoodie (the hunter in the hoodie)”.
  • Featured in a PIVOT TV documentary show entitled “Data Vampires.”
  • Included in PetFooled, a documentary detailing our class action suit on behalf of pet owners whose pets died as a result of contaminated pet food.
  • Nicknamed the “Spam Slammer” in Chicago Sun-Times front-page cover article after reaching the first ever class action settlement for text message spam.

 

Public Speaking

  • Panelist for the IAPP Privacy Bar Section Forum, “The State of U.S. Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Litigation Today” (March 29, 2018)
  • Panelist for City Club of Chicago’s “The Opioids Epidemic,” (Dec. 6, 2017).
  • Panelist for Retail Industry Leaders Association’s Litigation Conference, “Strategies Concerning TCPA Claims” (Oct. 11, 2017).
  • Panelist for HarrisMartin’s Smart Device Litigation Conference: Issues Arising from the Internet of Things, “IoT Risks – Theories of Liability and Defenses” (June 28, 2017).
  • Panelist for ABA’s Second Annual Cybersecurity Institute Conference, “Ethics: The Cybersecure Practice of Law; Application of Privilege in the Data Security Context” (June 22, 2017).
  • Panelist for Class Action Money & Ethics Conference 2017, “Implications of the Proposed Changes to Rule 23” (May 1, 2017).
  • Panelist for ACI’s 15th National Forum on Cyber & Data Risk Insurance “The Changing Landscape of Cyber Liability Litigation: Data Misuse, Ransomware, Class Action Following Spokeo, and More” (March 30, 2017).
  • Testified at Illinois House of Representatives’ Cybersecurity, Data Analytics & IT Committee Subject Matter Hearing on “Privacy implications and transparency issues associated with new and emerging surveillance and data collection technologies” (March 1, 2017).
  • Panelist for PLI’s “Advanced Data Privacy, Cybersecurity Breach and TCPA Class Action Litigation Strategies and Defenses 2017” Conference, “Standing After Spokeo: Effects on Privacy, Security Breach and TCPA Litigation” (Jan. 20, 2017).
  • Panelist for Golden State Institute’s Panel “Assessing Damages in Privacy Cases and Settlements,” (Nov. 3, 2016).
  • Panelist for IAPP’s “Privacy. Security. Risk. 2016” Conference, “Privacy Litigation:  Defining Privacy Harm,” (Sept. 16, 2016).
  • Panelist for Georgetown Law’s 4th Annual Cybersecurity Law Institute, “Litigation Trends in Data Breaches,” (May 25, 2016).
  • Panelist for Today’s General Counsel, “The Exchange” Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Forum, “The Presumption of Litigation,” (May 11, 2016).
  • Panelist for The International Association of Defense Counsel’s Corporate Counsel College, “What is the Other Side Thinking,” (April 28, 2016).
  • Panelist for the Privacy Bar Section of the IAPP, “Privacy Litigation,” (April 7, 2016).
  • Panelist for PLI’s Defending Data Privacy, Security Breach and TCPA Class Action Suits 2016, “Advanced Issues in Class Certification and the Management of Class Action Litigation,” (January 22, 2016).
  • Guest Speaker for University of Chicago Jewish Law Student’s Association’s dinner, “The Most Feared Lawyer in Silicon Valley” (January 15, 2016).
  • Panelist for National Conference of Jewish Lawyers, “Privacy in the Google and Facebook Era” (August 26, 2015).
  • Participant in MER’s National Conference on Managing Electronic Records, “How to Win (or Lose) Your Data Breach Class Action” (representing data breach class in mock argument before the Honorable James F. Holderman (N.D.Ill.)), (May 20, 2015).
  • Guest Speaker for Shook Hardy & Bacon’s “Conversations in Privacy” Teleconference, (May 19. 2015).
  • Panelist for Chicago Bar Association’s Panel, “Challenges to Class Membership: Ascertainability, Standing, and Injury,” (May 14, 2015).
  • Panelist for Perrin’s Class Action Litigation Conference, “Privacy and Data Breach Issues,” (May 6, 2015).
  • Panelist for the Mortgage Broker Association’s Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference, “Class Action Roundtable,” (May 5, 2015).
  • Panelist for PLI’s Defending Data Privacy, Behavioral Advertising and Security Breach Class Actions Suits 2015, “Class Certification and Settlement in Data Privacy, Behavioral Advertising and Security Breach Class Actions”, (January 23, 2015).
  • Panelist for Northwestern Law School Sports Seminar, “NCAA Concussion Litigation Panel” (October 24, 2014).
  • Panelist for ABA Business Law Section Annual Meeting, “Virtual & Digital Currencies – the Path to Legitimacy and the Need (or Not) for a Regulatory Framework for Consumer Protection” (September 12, 2014).
  • Panelist for National Association of Attorneys General 2014 Spring Consumer Protection Seminar, “Data Breach and Privacy Panel” (May 19, 2014).
  • Panelist for Perrin Webinar, “Sports Concussion Litigation- Latest NCAA and High School Research, Developments and Findings” (May 14, 2014).
  • Panelist for Law Seminar International’s Conference on Technology Law, “Plaintiff’s Perspective on the Use of Big Data Class Actions as a Privacy and Security Enforcement Tool” (Dec. 12, 2013).
  • Panelist for Law Seminar International’s Conference on Litigating Class Actions, “Evolving Issues in Privacy Class Actions” (Dec. 10, 2013).
  • Panelist for Pennsylvania Bar Institute seminar, “The FCC Cracks Down on Telemarking Again. The Regulatory and Litigation Climate of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act” (Dec. 10, 2013).
  • Panelist for the NCLC Class Action Symposium, “Data Privacy Class Action Session” (Nov. 10, 2013).
  • Panelist for The Sedona Conference on Cyber Liability (participated in three panels:”Private Data Breach Incidents,” “Telecommunications & The Internet,” and “Pushing the Boundaries of Cyber Liability”) (Oct. 24-25, 2013).
  • Panelist for NetDiligence 2013 Cyber Risk & Privacy Liability Forum – West Coast: “Data Breach Litigation Update.” (Oct. 10, 2013).
  • Panelist for ABA Dispute Resolution Conference: “Getting Arbitration Back on Track.” (April 5, 2013). Panelist for PLI’s conference: “Defending Privacy and Behavioral Advertising Class Action Suits 2013: What Every Litigator and In-House Lawyer Needs to Know.” (January 22, 2013).
  • Panelist discussing privacy class actions during for American Bar Association’s 16th Annual National Institute on Class Actions (October 25, 2012).
  • Panelist for ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law’s “Conference on Internet Privacy, Social Networks and Data Aggregation” (March 23, 2012).
  • Panelist for Chicago-Kent College of Law’s “Class Dismissed? How the Supreme Court’s Recent Decisions Have Shifted the Balance Between Individuals and Corporations” (November 2, 2011).
  • Panelist for Daily Deal Media Conference 2011, Roundtable on Legal Landscape of the Daily Deal Industry (September 8, 2011).
  • Panelist for Chicago Bar Association’s Committee on Cyber Law and Data Privacy, Seminar on Consumer Privacy (June 10, 2011).
  • Co-chair of CLE International’s 2011 national multi-day conference on consumer class actions (May 12-13, 2011).
  • Co-chair of CLE International’s 2010 national multi-day conferences on consumer class actions (June 14-15, 2010).
  • Panelist for Law Seminar International’s “Trends in Federal Circuit Class Certification Rulings” (Nov. 4, 2010).
  • Panelist at Decalogue Society of Lawyers’ Symposium on “Representing Celebrity Clients” (Jan. 28, 2010).
  • Panelist at DePaul University College of Law & The International Institute for Animal Law’s symposium, “How Much is Fido/Fluffy Worth? Animal Valuation Issues Raised by the Pet Food Recall and Other Litigation” (Oct. 25, 2007).

 

Publications

 

 

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