Women in Law 2023


JESSICA FAIRCHILD PARTNER Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres

J essica Fairchild is a founding partner and co-chair of the management committee of Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres (CFDB), a business law firm serving entrepreneurs, investors, growth-stage companies, family enterprises and Fortune 500 companies. Known for her business-savvy, thoughtful and straightforward approach, Jessica is an accomplished lawyer, law firm leader, women’s advocate and entrepreneur. Over her 23-year legal career, Jessica’s principal legal focus has been on corporate, mergers and acquisitions and governance matters, in which she counsels founders, private equity sponsors, family enterprises and corporations. Jessica’s focus on building relationships, and her client-centered approach to acting as a legal and business advisor, have helped her garner many long-term clients who turn to her for advising on M&A matters and beyond, including tapping her to serve as general counsel for their growing organizations. Jessica’s commitment to creating opportunities for lawyers who are women and/or from other historically underrepresented backgrounds has been a consistent theme across her career. Under Jessica’s leadership, CFDB became a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) in 2022, with the firm becoming one of the top-five largest WBE law firms in the United States (based on available data). In September 2023, CFDB joined the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF). NAMWOLF is a nonprofit trade association comprised of AV-rated firms across the nation that represent major corporate clients. With a mission to expand diversity in the legal profession by developing long-term

partnerships between corporations and minority and women-owned law firms, NAMWOLF assists its member firms in developing strategic alliances and affiliations with corporations, in-house counsel and other legal trade associations. While earning these national distinctions, CFDB has grown from 10 attorneys to over 65 attorneys in less than four years. Jessica’s leadership has helped the firm build a flexible model that creates new career opportunities and paths that did not formerly exist for women, supercharging its ability to recruit and retain talented attorneys. In the M&A legal space, generally dominated at the partner level by men, Jessica stands out as a woman who runs all of her transactions as lead partner, while also driving her firm’s efforts to hire and train women in the M&A and corporate fields. From January 2007 through December 2009, Jessica served as the General Counsel of Chicago 2016, the not-for-profit organization that led Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In this role, Jessica handled a wide variety of legal and strategic issues, was a direct advisor to the organization’s senior management and board of directors, and managed a legal department that oversaw all legal matters for Chicago 2016. Jessica also worked closely with the chief legal officers and other staff of the City of Chicago and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Prior to that, she was a corporate attorney at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, where her work focused on M&A, corporate, governance and securities matters. Jessica holds a B.S. from the University of Illinois, and a J.D. with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School.



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