Women in Law 2023



FOUNDING PARTNER Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP

S ondra Hemeryck is a founding partner of Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP and co-leads the firm’s highly regarded Class Actions Practice Team. In her impressive and wide-ranging legal career of more than 30 years, Sondra has been an influential player on teams that have defended the business interests of a world-famous athlete, protected the copyrights of some of the most celebrated movies in history, and established important protections from defamation lawsuits for Illinois publishers. Sondra has successfully defended United Airlines in over a dozen putative consumer class actions involving a wide range of issues, from the way United calculates frequent flier miles, to its ability to make changes to its frequent flier program, to its baggage-handling practices, and asserting a variety of claims including breach of contract, consumer fraud, violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and RICO. Sondra also represented a multinational consumer products company in a class action involving an allegedly defective haircare product, and negotiated, defended and implemented a nationwide class settlement of the claims. Sondra has ably and diligently defended clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 50 and multinational corporations in cases involving consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, antitrust, breach of warranty, breach of contract, insurance bad faith, trademark and trade dress infringement, copyright infringement and defamation.

She prides herself on understanding her clients’ goals and creating and executing legal strategies that are designed to achieve them. As persuasive on the page as she is in the courtroom, Sondra is a compelling writer and a tenacious litigator. Sondra’s track record of obtaining dismissals, summary judgments and defense verdicts in favor of her clients in a wide range of class action cases and other complex litigation in federal and state courts nationwide sets her apart from many of her peers. But to her colleagues at RSHC, Sondra is a role model not only for her professional achievements but for the team-spirited approach she takes to her work. As a partner, she is thoughtful in assembling diverse, inclusive teams and in providing opportunities for younger lawyers to “shine” while handling complex and high-stakes matters. She is noted for sharing credit for the work she delivers and helping associates develop their own skills and talents. Sondra has co-chaired her firm’s Recruiting and Associate Development Committee for almost its entire existence, devoting substantial time to recruiting talent, developing attorneys, and fostering an inclusive, representative firm, one that is widely considered an industry pioneer. Sondra has played a key role in earning RSHC its reputation as “a true diversity and inclusion pioneer for the profession,” as noted by Chambers in its Diversity & Inclusion Awards. Sondra holds a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.



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