John Schmidt is a partner in the Chicago-based international law firm of Mayer Brown LLP. A nationally recognized attorney, he was named by the American Lawyer as one of the 27 “All-Stars of the ‘90s” of the American bar and by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. In recent years his practice has focused heavily on large-scale transactions involving U.S. infrastructure, including the path breaking 2005 lease of the Chicago Skyway (for which he was named “Dealmaker of the Year” by the American Lawyer), and in 2010 he was recognized by the Financial Times as one of ten “innovative American lawyers” for his work in pioneering new structures for the financing of U.S. infrastructure. He currently represents the City of Chicago and the Government of Puerto Rico in the proposed lease of Chicago’s Midway Airport and the San Juan Airport, the first proposed privatizations of major American airports, and is representing public and private entities in transactions involving existing and newly-constructed roads, transit lines, ports, parking facilities and other infrastructure.
For many years he has been a leader in a wide range of civic and professional activities in Chicago and he has served in major public positions at the local and national levels. From 1994 to 1997 he was the Associate Attorney General of the United States, overseeing all aspects of the civil representation of the federal government, as well as the work of the Civil Rights, Antitrust, Tax and Environmental Divisions at the Justice Department. Prior to becoming Associate Attorney General, he served from 1983 to 1994 as Ambassador and Chief U.S. Negotiator for the Uruguay Round of world trade talks under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which concluded the largest and most comprehensive trade agreement in world history in April 1994.