Jeffrey S. Becker
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
40 Under Class – 2015
Results matter. That’s how Jeffrey Becker, an entertainment and commercial lawyer with Chicago’s Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP managed to build a thriving legal career at such a young age.
Becker’s clients and fellow attorneys say that this young lawyer combines a powerful courtroom presence, a tireless work ethic and an in-depth knowledge of the law to provide his clients with the best possible service.
Nancy Hendrickson, with Chicago’s Hendrickson Law Firm, was Becker’s opposing counsel in a complex matter that lasted several years. Hendrickson saw firsthand Becker’s ability to elicit information from his opponents without showboating or treating them rudely.
“Jeff gets the job done better than most because he does not waste time and energy on unproductive antics,” Hendrickson said. “Jeff was the consummate professional, fiercely advocating for his clients while always managing to be civil and cordial. Jeff’s professionalism was truly a bright spot. His tempering influence helped make it possible to settle a very contentious case.”
Nathan Osher, Vice-President of Legal & Business Affairs for Warner/Chappell Music, agrees. He vividly recalls his initial meetings with Becker because of the way he handled a dispute over a copyright that generated little income, but nevertheless was very important to his client. Jeff handled that case as he would any other case. Warner/Chappell has since engaged Becker in a number of lawsuits involving high-profile artists who do not want their talents and reputation tested in a public forum.
“The true lawyering skills Jeff brings to these clients is keeping them out of the news, keeping them out of high profile cases,” says David Wise, of Chicago’s Burke, Wise, Morrisey & Kaveny. “He does this by providing sound advice in advance of action and when events do result in litigation, or threatened litigation, as they sometimes do in this arena, Jeff makes it go away.”
Another client highlights several instances where Becker’s persistence and skill benefited the client’s business. For example, this client was challenged by a competitor who erected an advertisement near the client’s business, which used a name similar to that of the client. Jeff clearly managed his client’s reasonable expectations, explaining the risks his client faced in seeking to enforce questionable trademark rights. Becker then went to work, and convinced the competitor to remove the offending advertisement within 24 hours.
“Jeff has the ability to take complex legal issues and explain them in an easily digestible manner,” said Robert Markoff, with Chicago’s Markoff Law, LLC. “Even at his young age, he is an attorney’s attorney.”
Becker has also earned a reputation as an energetic advocate for his profession, freely volunteering his time to speak at conferences, workshops and events. He recently recruited top entertainment attorneys from Chicago and New York, and the executive director of one of Chicago’s most prestigious theaters, to participate in a seminar on legal issues frequently confronted by musical theater producers.
“He generated the idea, worked with the participants to hone the topics and handled all the lead-up to the event,” said Jan Feldman, executive director of Lawyers for the Creative Arts. “He acted as moderator of the panel discussion, and did a remarkable job of channeling the expertise and experiences of the panelists.”
Becker also played a key role in passing Illinois’ Community Expanded Mental Health Services Act. He worked on a pro bono basis to help the Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers draft the bill, testify before the SGA committee in Springfield, and lobby State Representatives and Senators. It is due to his dedication to public service that Becker was named Chair of his firm’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee.