James S. Montana, Jr. joined Vedder Price in 2002 as a Shareholder. Mr. Montana, former Chief Legal Counsel to Illinois Governor James Edgar and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, concentrates in complex commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, parallel proceedings, internal investigations, gaming and government relations.
Mr. Montana served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel to Bally Entertainment Corporation. In private practice, he represents casino and supplier licensees before gaming authorities and the legislature and in litigation. He also advises financial services and asset managers and investment banking firms on gaming regulatory requirements and matters related to the financing of and investments in regulated gaming entities.
His years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and in the private practice of law, handling complicated commercial litigation, make Mr. Montana a well-experienced and seasoned litigator with a varied and diverse background. His commercial litigation experience includes Securities Act litigation, corporate derivative suits, antitrust litigation, banking and banking regulatory litigation, immigration and a variety of other commercial litigation.
For four years, Mr. Montana served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and, consequently, he has an active practice in white collar criminal defense, civil and criminal antitrust and SEC matters as well as parallel civil and administrative proceedings. He has also conducted numerous internal investigations.
In 2011 Mr. Montana was appointed to a 14-member bipartisan Judicial Review Commission formed by U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. This committee screens and recommends federal district court judges for the state of Illinois for consideration by the President and U.S. Senate.
Mr. Montana served as Chief Counsel to Governor James Edgar, serving as the Governor’s top legal advisor. He drafted legislation on issues dealing with gaming; consumer fraud; economic development; public safety, criminal law, business and financial regulation; environmental regulation; and human services. He also advised Governor Edgar on labor and personnel issues affecting 64,000 state employees and managed all litigation brought by or against the State of Illinois. He also served as Chief Justice of the Illinois Court of Claims, having been originally appointed to the bench in 1983 by Governor Jim Thompson and confirmed by the Illinois Senate. In 1985, he was appointed Chief Justice. Mr. Montana is also active as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association in numerous commercial disputes.
Mr. Montana plays an active role in civic and charitable affairs. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in Chicago, which owns and operates McCormick Place and Navy Pier. He also serves as a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and is former Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. He has served as a board member for a number of institutions of higher learning, including Lewis University in Illinois and Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He is also a former member of the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation.
Mr. Montana is a frequent speaker and lecturer, having served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola School of Law, where he taught Advanced Trial Practice. For many years he served as an instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), which trains beginning lawyers in trial skills.
Mr. Montana also is Co-Chairman of the Preservation Subcommittee of the Seventh Circuit eDiscovery Committee, chaired by Chief Judge James Holderman of the Northern District of Illinois.
Mr. Montana is admitted to practice in Illinois and New York, the federal courts in those states and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Mr. Montana was selected for inclusion from 2005 to 2014 in Illinois Super Lawyers. He was selected by his peers from 2006 to 2015 for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. Vedder Price’s Gaming practice, of which Mr. Montana serves as Chair, was ranked Tier One in Chicago by US News & World Report—Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" 2010. Mr. Montana received an "AV Preeminent" Peer Rating in Martindale-Hubbell, and he has also been selected by his peers from 2013 to 2014 as a Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation.