Women in Law 2023



M arissa is a partner at Laurie & Brennan, LLP, a sophisticated, Chicago-based, construction law boutique. Marissa is a true litigator and has developed a particular passion for complex construction, product liability, and manufacturing disputes. The construction industry is still largely male-dominated so Marissa is used to being one of the only women in the room. The road Marissa traveled to get where she is today was far from traditional. Originally from Dallas, Marissa attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full scholarship (the Morehead). After graduating from UNC with dual degrees in International Studies/Peace, War & Defense, Marissa was awarded a fellowship from the Hart Foundation which sent her to Rwanda from 2001 to 2002. Marissa spent her time in Rwanda working with the International Rescue Committee (“IRC”) as part of the Democratization and Good Governance team. Her most cherished work was helping the IRC implement the first nation-wide survey focused on the alternative system of justice implemented by the Rwandan government following the 1994 Genocide. Marissa next spent three years working for the federal government in Washington, D.C. before going to law school. She attended Northwestern Pritzker School of Law from 2005 to 2008 where she competed on Northwestern’s inter-collegiate National Trial Team and earned competitive internship placements at the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the Office of the State Appellate Defender (Illinois) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. After graduating from Northwestern, Marissa spent a year clerking for Justice Robert Eastaugh of the Alaska Supreme Court followed by a brief stint in The Hague, Netherlands reviewing and editing draft

judgments for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In 2009, Marissa returned to Chicago where she commenced in earnest her civil law practice. Over the course of the next decade, Marissa amassed extensive experience representing businesses in a variety of complex litigation matters, including construction, breach of contract, manufacturing defect litigation, insurance coverage, fraud, fiduciary breach, and shareholder disputes. She became a zealous advocate and arbitrated multiple matters before the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and tried cases to conclusion in both federal and state courts. While comfortable in the courtroom, Marissa recognizes that most disputes settle before that and approaches each case with a goal-oriented and fee-sensitive outlook on behalf of her clients to determine their best outcome. Throughout her career, Marissa has demonstrated a dedication to pro bono service and has represented clients in a wide variety of cases, her most notable engagements were those where she partnered with Equip for Equality and the Illinois Prison Project. Marissa is active in multiple bar associations, including the ABA’s Forum on Construction Law. She serves on a steering committee for the Forum as well as the editor-in-chief of one of a construction-law focused blog called “The Dispute Resolver.” Marissa has served on the Illinois State Bar Association’s Construction Law Section for two years running and has enjoyed speaking on multiple CBA panels focused on leadership and career development for younger attorneys. Marissa is active in the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in the Law and Professional Women in Construction. She was previously recognized as a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin “40 Under Forty” attorneys to watch and as a “Woman of Influence” by the Chicago Business Journal (both in 2018).



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