While it operates from offices in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles, Wilkinson Stekloff (re-branded this year after the departure of Alexandra Walsh) remains as the essence of “litigation boutique.” More specifically, one with a uniquely pronounced emphasis on high-end trial work. Formed in 2016 by veteran DC trial celebrity Beth Wilkinson, the firm has been arguably the most buzz-worthy of law firms, and the appearance of Wilkinson and other firm partners at the forefront of a series of high-stakes trials has more than justified the hype. The departure of Walsh (for a solo practice) and Tamarra Matthews Johnson (for government) and the obvious impact of COVID-19 on jury trials (the firm’s go-to calling card) have done little to affect either Wilkinson Stekloff’s internal mojo or dim the firm’s luster in the eyes of peers. Indeed, opportunities have arisen for other partners to take charge, and swiftly rising future star nominees such as DC partners Rakesh Kilaru and Kosta Stojilkovic have done so with aplomb, regularly appearing as support or lead counsel on some of the firm’s most high-profile engagements.
Wilkinson remains the one of the most in-demand trial lawyers in the country. “Beth has to be the top female trial lawyer of her generation,” sums up one peer. Wilkinson’s dance card has been consumed with cases ranging from antitrust to white-collar to bet-the-company commercial cases but most recently, Wilkinson has been in demand for crisis management on a political level. In May 2020, she led a team, which included Kilaru and Stojilkovic, that was retained to help guide US District Judge Emmet Sullivan as a federal appeals court questions his plan to probe the US DoJ’s decision to dismiss the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, despite his admission that he lied to the FBI. Wilkinson and Stojilkovic represented pharmaceutical founder and philanthropist Dr. John Kapoor, the lead defendant in a four-month criminal trial in which the government charged the client, along with other executives from the company Insys Therapeutics, with operating a nationwide racketeering conspiracy related to Subsys, an FDA-approved opioid pain medicine. The government sought more than $420 million in financial penalties from Dr. Kapoor, which Wilkinson persuaded the trial court to reduce to roughly $60 million. Stojilkovic is leading the appellate arguments. In another pharmaceutical-related case, Wilkinson, Stojilkovic and Brian Stekloff are representing Glenmark Pharmaceuticals in defending criminal antitrust charges brought against the company by the DoJ for allegedly conspiring to increase prices for a popular cholesterol medication. The DoJ alleges that Glenmark and its co-defendant gained over $200 million in gross gains from their alleged conspiracy, potentially subjecting Glenmark to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, as well as substantial collateral consequences. Independent of Wilkinson, Kilaru and Stojilkovic represent the members of the Executive Council of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, a federally recognized sovereign Indian nation, in a putative class action in which plaintiffs are seeking treble damages and injunctive relief based on allegations that the Tribe’s online consumer lending operation violates Virginia law and RICO. The case is currently awaiting decision in the Fourth Circuit, where Kilaru recently argued the appeal.