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A WOMEN IN LAW CELEBRATION
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Congratulations to our Second Annual Women in Law Honorees
OUR TEAM Peter Mierzwa President & Publisher email@example.com Adam Hrejsa Director, Women in Law – Salute! firstname.lastname@example.org
Inside this special edition of Chicago Lawyer are profiles of 50 exceptional wom- en leaders in the law who have been named as the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin & Chicago Lawyer ’s second annual Salute! Women in Law Award honorees . Each of them have these attributes in common: they are making an incredible impact on our profession, have achieved success while mentoring and promoting other women and have been shining examples of leadership. Earlier this year we put the call out for nominations of women lawyers who are leading the way. We received more than 400 nominations and selecting 50 hon- orees was not an easy job. Our list of nominees revealed that there are so many incredible women in the Chicago legal profession. The honorees were screened by our Women’s Advisory Panel and then chosen by our CDLB & CL selection committee. We would like to give a special thank you to our Women’s Advisory Board for their help with the process: Carolyn A. Blessing of Locke Lord, Sandra Frantzen of McAndrews, Hon. Cecilia Horan, Patricia Brown Holmes of Riley Saf- er Holmes & Cancila LLP, Kathleen McDonough of Wilson Elser, Dean Jennifer Perea Rosato of DePaul College of Law and Jill Webb Law of the Law Offices of Jill Webb. Even though our plan to a host a reception and awards ceremony was once changed by the pandemic, hopefully in 2022, we’ll all be able to raise a glass to- gether and celebrate in person. Congratulations to this year’s honorees! Thanks for all you are doing and your efforts to advance other women in our profession.
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CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 35
We are proud to have Felicia Frazier as our Municipal Attorney.
Congratulations to Felicia, who we all consider
The Top Woman in Law.
Mayor Roger Agpawa, City of Markham
Mayor Ronald Denson, Village of Calumet Park
Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin, Village of Matteson
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 37
Meet the Chicago Lawyer Woman’s Advisory Board
Chicago Lawyer magazine and our sister publication the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin have brought together a group of the top women practitioners in Big Law, academia, bench and bar to help guide our coverage of the evolving profession.
Carolyn Blessing Partner Locke Lord LLP
Sandra Frantzen Partner McAndrews Held & Malloy, Ltd.
Carolyn Blessing is a partner at Locke Lord LLP and serves as hiring partner for their Chicago office. She concentrates her practice in IP Pharmaceutical matters and Hatch-Waxman litigation and represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in all aspects of federal intellectual property litigation. Carolyn is active in promoting women in the legal community, and in addition to serving on the Women’s Ad- visory Board for Chicago Lawyer Magazine, she has long served in leadership positions for the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law and Chicago Women in IP (ChiWIP) and is an active member of the Linn Inn of Court.
Sandra Frantzen is a partner at McAndrews Held & Malloy, where for more than 20 years she has assisted clients with resolving worldwide intellectual property disputes. Sandra serves as lead trial counsel for start-up and Fortune 500 companies, focusing on patent litigation and counseling in the medical device, pharmaceutical, chemical and biotech- nology industries. Sandra is registered to practice before the U.S. Pat- ent Office and handles trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. She also regularly advises clients on strategic IP development, protec- tion, and enforcement and has served as lead IP acquisition counsel. Sandra has degrees in chemistry and environmental science and graduated with honors from The University of Chicago Law School. Sandra is past president of the Arab American Bar Association of Illi- nois and was recognized in the Law Bulletin’s list of 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40.
to Kathryn Kovitz Arnold on her recognition as one of the Salute! Top 50 Women in Law. Congratulations
Kathryn Kovitz Arnold Chair, Real Estate and Condominium Groups
38 • CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021
Kathleen McDonough Of Counsel Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Marcia Owens Partner Honigman LLP
Kathleen McDonough has more than 25 years of experience in state and federal courts across the country and regularly provides transac- tional and business consulting services to a variety of corporate entities. She has worked extensively in the areas of outside general counsel, lit- igation, transportation and employment/labor. Kathleen’s clients come from major sectors, including retail, advertising, manufacturing and transportation, among others. As the married mother of three school- aged children, she was elected to equity partner at age 32, served over a decade in law firm management, and was the managing partner of a national law firm for two consecutive three-year terms. Over the course of her career, Kathleen has served on multiple boards and has helped with fundraising for a number of local and national organizations, in- cluding the Alzheimer’s Association of Illinois, Mercy Home, IIT Chica- go-Kent College of Law Board of Overseers, Friends of St. Columbanus Food Pantry, Christopher House, St. Josaphat Parish Council, Raoul for Attorney General, and the Illinois Sudanese Community Association, among others. Her memoir, “Badger State,” was published in October 2020.
Marcia Owens is a partner at Honigman LLP. Marcia represents cli- ents in all aspects of commercial real estate on a national basis, from acquisition and disposition, to finance, workouts and leasing. Marcia has experience in industrial, retail, office, and mixed-use transactions. Marcia prides herself on partnering with her clients to implement the strategies necessary to accomplish the client’s goal to get a deal done, going beyond the technical aspects of a transaction. Marcia received her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law with High Honors in 1998. She spent the first 16 years of her career at Wildman Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP and has spent the better part of her career advocating for the advancement of women in the law.
Benesch congratulates all of the 2021 Top 50 Women in Law Award winners.
We take particular pride in recognizing our partner, Margo Wolf O’Donnell . Margo is Co-Chair of Benesch’s Labor & Employment Practice Group and Co-Chair of Benesch’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Congratulations Margo!
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 39
Patricia Brown Holmes Managing Partner Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
Cecilia A. Horan Cook County circuit court judge
As a former state court judge, experienced prosecutor, and defense lawyer, Patricia Brown Holmes is renowned for her comprehensive trial experience and wisdom as a trusted adviser for clients. She focuses on high-stakes commercial disputes and trials; class actions; investigations and white-collar criminal defense; and crisis management counseling for blue-chip clients. Her expansive experience across all roles in the court- room enables her to provide sophisticated and valuable strategic coun- sel to clients, with foresight and discretion. She has received countless accolades for her impressive professional achievements as well as dedi- cation to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the legal profession.
Cecilia A. Horan is a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. She joined the bench in January 2017, and presently sits in the General Chancery Division. Prior to her judicial service, Judge Horan was a litigation partner at the 500-attorney law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, where she practiced for 20 years. As a lawyer and a judge, she has organized and presented numerous continuing legal education pro- grams on topics ranging from litigation strategy to the state of the law affecting women and minorities. Judge Horan is proud to be a member of the Chicago Lawyer Maga- zine Women’s Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the Illinois Judges Association, and co-chairs its Judicial Selection and Retention Committee. She is the vice president of the Alliance of Illinois Judges, an association of LGBTQ judges in the state and federal judiciary in Illi- nois. She is also the immediate-past president of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, a bar organization for LGBTQ lawyers, law students and legal professionals. She continues to sit on the organiza- tion’s board of directors and is a co-chair of its Mentoring Committee.
Wilson Elser salutes our esteemed partner Kimberly Blair on her selection by Chicago Lawyer and Chicago Daily Law Bulletin for inclusion in the 2021 “Top 50 Women in Law.” As proud as we are of Kim’s outstanding achievements, we’re equally proud of the professionalism, grace and perseverance that has made her a role model within our firm and throughout the greater Chicago legal community. We congratulate Kim and all of this year’s deserving honorees. Lead on! Elevating the Art of Leadership
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Jennifer Rosato Perea DePaul University College of Law dean
Jill M. Webb Law Office of Jill M. Webb, LLC
Margo Wolf O’Donnell Partner
Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Jennifer Rosato Perea has served as dean of DePaul University College of Law since 2015 and is in her 13th year as a law dean. One among few Latina law school deans in the nation, “Dean Jenn” has been recognized for her commitment to diversity, most recently honored with the 2020 Aguila award, the high- est honor bestowed by the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. She is an expert on family law, bioethics and legal ethics, having published extensively on legal issues affecting children and families. Prior to joining DePaul, she served as dean of Northern Illinois Uni- versity College of Law.
Jill M. Webb, of the Law Office of Jill M. Webb LLC, serves as a National Board mem- ber of the American Board of Trial Advocates as well as the executive committee and past membership chair of ABOTA’s Illinois Chap- ter. She is elected to the Board of Managers of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. Pro- fessional recognitions include Top 100 Illinois Super Lawyers, Top 50 Women Illinois Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, Top Women Law- yers in Leadership Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Alumni Service Award from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Trial Lawyer Excellence Award from the Jury Verdict Reporter.
Margo Wolf O’Donnell is co-chair of Ben- esch’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. She is a nationally recognized employment at- torney with more than 25 years of experience litigating complex and “bet the company” employment claims. Margo’s cases involve high-stakes restrictive covenants and trade secrets, whistleblower claims, wage-and-hour issues, and statutory claims of harassment and discrimination. Margo also acts as a crisis manager and business adviser to her clients on best practices for workplace safety, com- pensation, leave issues, employment agree- ments, diversity and inclusion, individual and group discharges, and internal investigations. She has been widely recognized as one of the top employment attorneys in the country.
Any Member of the Woman’s Advisory Board nominated for 2021 Salute! did not participate in the selection process.
The Law Offices of Khalaf & Abuzir LLC, its attorneys and staff congratulate our Managing Partner, Vivian Khalaf on being named a 2nd Annual Salute! Top 50 Women in the Law Award honoree. Your leadership and tireless work to ensure adherence to the principles defining the rule of law do not go unrecognized….today and every day. Congratulations!!
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 41
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
L isa Acevedo brings nearly two decades of deep experience in privacy and security to provide clients with business-focused compliance strategies to maximize the benefits of personal data while minimizing and responding to ever-changing threats and risks. As the chair of Polsinelli’s Health Information Privacy and Security team, Lisa provides strategic counsel in the areas of federal privacy laws and regulations, including HIPAA, the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Use Treatment Records (42 CFR Part 2), as well as state laws governing the confidentiality of personal information, health information, mental health records, and records containing other highly sensitive information. She also advises multi- national health-care companies with international data protection laws that impact their use and transfer of health and other personal data, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation and privacy laws and regulations in Canada, the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions. Lisa assists clients in developing, implementing, and updating their privacy and security compliance programs. She advises clients on a range of issues including compliance with the various federal and international data protection laws that are implicated by their digital transformation strategies. She guides clients through data protection issues implicated by data sharing arrangements, including for research and quality of care purposes, and guides them through critical transactions, such as structuring complex strategic alliances involving data. Lisa counsels clients through data security incidents and breaches. She has assisted clients in responding to breaches, including those involving phishing attacks and other malware, theft and vendor breaches, involving hundreds of thousands of affected patients. She has also successfully guided clients through Office for Civil Rights and state agency investigations resulting in closure of those investigations with no fines or penalties. Lisa is well-respected at Polsinelli as a team-builder and mentor. She has mentored several young women, including two who have recently been elevated from associate to shareholder. Lisa earned the designation of Certified Information Privacy Professional-U.S. (CIPP/US) through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). She also earned the designation of Certified Information Privacy Professional- Europe (CIPP/E) through IAPP. Lisa has devoted significant time over the years to sharing her knowledge with others and has written a number of articles and papers on data privacy issues. She has also presented on privacy and security topics at national conferences. Lisa is currently a member of the DePaul University College of Law Dean’s Advisory Council. She was a 2019 recipient of the DePaul University College of Law, DePaul Law Review Sapientia Award, which is presented each year to a deserving and distinguished alum of the DePaul Law Review. Lisa has previously served as the vice chair of the Healthcare Technology Committee within the American Bar Association’s Section of Science and Technology Law. She has also previously served as chair of the Latina Lawyers Committee of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.
LISA J. ACEVEDO
SHAREHOLDER POLSINELLI DePaul University College of Law
“Lisa’s work ethic, substantive expertise, and selflessness have made me a better lawyer, and it is a privilege to have her as my mentor.”
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TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
K athryn Kovitz Arnold became a partner at Taft Law when Shefsky & Froelich merged with the firm in 2014. Over the past seven years, the firm has grown from 400 attorneys to 625 attorneys spanning 12 Midwest offices. Kathryn continued to be firm-wide chair of two practice groups: the real estate group and the condominium group. She oversees attorney hiring, workload, and billable hours. In addition to her practice group management, Kathryn was elected to serve on the firm’s executive committee, the governing body of Taft Law. Through her legal practice, Kathryn plays a key role in shaping the landscape of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods and business communities. She handles all aspects of commercial real estate, such as real estate development, mixed-use projects, restaurants, leasing, mixed-use high-rise development, vertical subdivisions and separations, and commercial financing. Kathryn is a recognized expert in condominium law and condominium de-conversions, the process of selling an entire condominium property to use the property as rental apartments. Kathryn led the Gold Coast condominium tower de-conversion at 1400 Lake Shore Drive, which was the largest de-conversion in Chicago history. She also led the condominium de-conversions for Kennelly Square, 2 East Oak, and numerous others in the city of Chicago and its suburbs. Her experience in real estate matters also includes the negotiation of lease agreements, the acquisition and disposition of commercial properties, and negotiation of financing documentation for financial institutions and businesses, including representation of securitized lenders. She also serves as local counsel with respect to Illinois law matters. For the past 10 years, Kathryn has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Real Estate Law, as well as Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers in Business for Real Estate Law. She was also designated by Connect Media as a 2018 “Women in Real Estate” honoree. She was also inducted to the Midwest Real Estate News Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame in 2017. For many years, Kathryn has been an invited speaker, panelist, and moderator for commercial real estate programs hosted by professional organizations and media journals. She has also drafted and consulted on new legislation and local ordinances regarding condominium law and administration. Kathryn lives in Glenview with her husband and has two daughters. She is an avid runner through the very neighborhoods she has enhanced through her legal practice.
KATHRYN KOVITZ ARNOLD
PARTNER TAFT STETTINIUS & HOLLISTER LLP Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
“She’s an icon for our younger women attorneys, who can model their careers upon her success.”
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 43
Congratulations to our Shareholder Malaika Tyson, Ph.D. Recognized among Chicago’s Top Women in Law
Malaika's leadership, vibrant legal practice, and commitment to diversity efforts make her extremely deserving of this recognition. We salute her!
firstname.lastname@example.org | 312-775-8075
GORDON REES SCULLY MANSUKHANI CONGRATULATES Top 50 Women In Law Honoree
Avanti Bakane PARTNER
As the only law firm with offices and attorneys in all 50 states, Gordon & Rees delivers maximum value to our clients by combining the resources of a full-service national firm with the local knowledge of a regional firm. With 1,000+ attorneys, Gordon & Rees is recognized among the fastest growing and largest law firms in the country. Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani—Your 50 State Partner ®
Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys
for firms with 600+ attorneys · Law360
Top Law Firms for Women
in the AmLaw100 · National Law Journal
TOP 50 W OMEN IN LAW HONOREE
L aura Ashmore is the managing partner of the family law firm Davis Friedman LLP. The firm is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021 and Laura is the firm’s first woman to serve in the role of managing partner. She has embraced this leadership position and works with an exceptional group of attorneys to keep the firm on the forefront of the domestic relations practice. Laura has dedicated her career to the field of domestic relations law, with deep expertise in complex family law matters involving children, high-net-worth individuals and their spouses, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Laura views family law as one of the most fundamental yet intricate practice areas due to its complicated and far-reaching psychological and legal issues, and she implements innovative strategies that lead to better outcomes for her clients so that they have the financial and emotional security to navigate the next phase of their lives. She received her law degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1994, and was admitted to the Illinois bar and to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that same year. Her diverse professional background affords her clients a tactical advantage in and out of the courtroom. Her experience and training include a B.F.A. from the Theatre School at DePaul University, and clerkships in the Night Narcotics Unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Murder Task Force Unit of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. She also practiced criminal defense, immigration, and family law in private practice prior to joining Davis Friedman. The varied expertise she accrued serves the firm’s clients well, enabling her to devise creative solutions to resolve challenging cases, employing negotiation, mediation or litigation as necessary. Laura is part of an elite group of leaders in family law, and her legal peers have consistently honored her for her work in family law. She served as president of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, making her Davis Friedman’s sixth partner to serve in this position since the organization was founded in 1962. She has earned Thomson Reuters’ prestigious Super Lawyer rating each year since 2014, has been repeatedly named a Leading Lawyer, and as a top 100 leading women consumer lawyer in Illinois by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Laura recognizes the importance of pro bono work, and the critical importance of effective and knowledgeable representation. She often volunteers to present continuing legal education programs for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services for their volunteers and staff, and she makes herself available to assist CVLS staff and volunteers navigate complex family law cases. Laura works to mentor and promote junior family law attorneys, and she celebrates the accomplishments of strong women in all professions.
LAURA N. ASHMORE
MANAGING PARTNER DAVIS FRIEDMAN DePaul University College of Law
“Laura is an amazing attorney, who works tirelessly for her clients.”
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TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
A vanti Bakane is a commercial litigation partner at Gordon, Rees, Scully, Mansukhani LLP with a focus on consumer and class action defense. As a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) and co-chair of the firm’s Cyber, Privacy & Data Security group, Avanti’s practice consists of representing businesses and creative professionals in software and e-commerce development, data privacy, data loss, licensing, and copyright infringement disputes. Avanti also represents clients in the cannabis space. A member of the California and Illinois bars, Avanti represents clients in state and federal courts across the country. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, and raised in several continents, Avanti has a global perspective that allows for understanding diverse viewpoints and the value of her clients’ time. After completing her undergraduate degree at University of California, Santa Barbara, Avanti returned to Chicago to attend DePaul University College of Law. During law school, Avanti served as an extern to Judge Irwin J. Solganick of the Cook County Circuit Court Law Division. She also worked as a research assistant to DePaul Professors Steven H. Resnicoff and Song Richardson. Avanti was a member of DePaul’s International Moot Court team. Serving as co-chair of the firm’s South Asian Affinity Group and member of its Diversity Committee, Avanti dedicates her time outside of the office to the community. She serves as an Advisory Board member for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Co-Chair of the Outreach & Inclusion Committee for the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, Chicago chapter and is a member of Leading India’s Future Today’s (LIFT) Board of Governors. Avanti is a past President of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, past Honorary Board Member for the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago (AABA), and volunteers with several nonprofit organizations to provide opportunities for underprivileged youth, end gender violence, and find homes for rescue dogs. Avanti’s dedication to the law and her community have not gone unnoticed. In 2020, DePaul College of Law recognized Avanti as an Outstanding Young Alumna. The year prior, Crain’s highlighted Avanti as a Notable Minority in Accounting, Consulting, and Law. The Diversity Scholarship Foundation named Avanti an Advocate for Diversity in 2017, and Leading Lawyers has recognized Avanti as an Emerging Lawyer from 2016 to 2021. In 2013, she was recognized in the Lawyers of Color’s inaugural hot issue, and was named a Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers from 2014 to 2020. Avanti is proficient in Spanish and Marathi and was a consulting academic tutor for the University of Veritas in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she tutored, translated and taught Spanish for International University students learning the language. Avanti’s life partner is Jonathon Drews, a securities litigation lawyer at Ulmer & Berne P.C. The two enjoy travel, food, and great company, all of which Avanti blogs about in their travel blog.
AVANTI D. BAKANE
PARTNER GORDON, REES, SCULLY, MANSUKHANI LLP DePaul University College of Law
“Avanti has prioritized guiding the career path of female law students.”
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 47
The Future of Family Law Since 1981
Congratulating our Managing Partner
Most Influential Women in Law by Law Bulletin Media
CHICAGO | LAKE FOREST | WHEATON | sdflaw.com
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
K ristin Barnette McCarthy is a trial attorney at Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz and focuses her practice in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, as well as other catastrophic injuries. She has tried in excess of 100 jury trials to verdict, has successfully argued and achieved reversal before the 7th Circuit United States Court of Appeals, as well as in the Illinois 1st District Appellate Court, and obtained hundreds of settlements for both individual and corporate clients. Kristin is a leader in the Chicago legal community. In 2021 and 2020, she was named to the highly-selective Illinois Super Lawyers list, and voted as No. 1 of the “Top 10 Emerging Lawyers” and also voted as No. 1 of the “Top 10 Emerging Women Lawyers” by her peers in a survey conducted by Leading Lawyers. Kristin was named by Crain’s as one of the “Most Influential Women Lawyers in Chicago” in 2017, as an “Emerging Lawyer,” in 2016, and one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch” in 2014 by Law Bulletin Media. According to her peers, Kristin has a magnetic personality and is uniquely able to foster and maintain deep, authentic bonds with a diversity of attorneys. In fact, Kristin’s opposing counsel have described her as having a tough-as-nails reputation, matched by the highest caliber of professional curiosity and have said despite hundreds of cases in various postures, Kristin has always been able to devote full, thoughtful, detailed focus to each. Kristin recently also served as president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (2017-18), after rising through the Board of Directors. Kristin is also currently on the Advisory Board for the Women’s Bar Foundation, and the Board of Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project. She previously served on the Women’s Bar Foundation Board of Directors from 2012-17. In 2014, Kristin was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to sit on the Committee for Character & Fitness. Each year Kristin serves as a mentor in the Lawyer-to-Lawyer mentoring program for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, participates in the Judicial Evaluation Committee for the Bar Alliance, and volunteers as a presiding judge for the YMCA’s National Judicial Competitions in Chicago. She has taught CLE courses and spoken on various topics including jury selection, jury instructions, closing arguments, defense tactics, as well as ethics. Kristin received her J.D. from DePaul College of Law, where she served as the research assistant to Torts and Social Policy Professor, Stephen Landsman, and was selected to be editor-in-chief of the DePaul Journal of Healthcare Law – overseeing a staff of more than 30 individuals. In addition to her practice and volunteer activities, Kristin is devoted to her son Kiernan Connor McCarthy, and her husband Garry McCarthy, the president of GFM- Strategies, and former superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
KRISTIN BARNETTE MCCARTHY
PARTNER KRALOVEC, JAMBOIS & SCHWARTZ DePaul University College of Law
“Kristin has a rare ability to take control of any room she is in, which makes her an incredible force in the courtroom.”
50 • CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
A s Swanson, Martin & Bell LLP’s Appellate and Critical Motions Practice Chair, Catherine Basque Weiler is the public face of the firm’s appellate practice with an impressive resume of results before appellate tribunals throughout the country. Catherine’s practice includes regular appearances before state and federal trial and appellate courts. She has briefed more than 150 appeals, resulting in more than 40 precedential appellate opinions. Catherine also has extensive experience with oral arguments, and argues regularly before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Illinois Appellate Court, and circuit courts throughout Illinois. In addition, Catherine represents clients in state and federal trial courts through all phases of litigation, from case inception through trial, primarily defending malpractice, commercial, product and premises liability claims. Her knowledge of procedure gives her a unique perspective on case strategy, and her colleagues regularly seek her perspective when cases present unique or unexpected challenges. Catherine also works frequently with trial counsel starting at the earliest phases of litigation, developing arguments, preserving issues, and creating an appropriate record, all with an eye toward litigating those issues on appeal. Among her favorite examples of that collaborative process are apparent agency arguments, one of which – a unique issue concerning whether hospital staff privileges could satisfy agency requirements – worked its way to the Illinois Supreme Court, which ultimately agreed with her argument. Other recent examples involve unusual arguments about the scope of the Illinois Medical Studies Act; atypical jury trial- related issues; and emergency orders and proclamations issued during the COVID-19 crisis. Catherine is enormously grateful for the many mentors who have, over the years, selflessly shared with her their time, experience, and wisdom. Prior to joining the firm, Catherine acted as an assistant Illinois attorney general in the Environmental and Civil Appeals divisions, where she had the privilege of representing state agencies and the people of Illinois. She also considers it a privilege to give back to the legal community. This June she will become an officer of the Appellate Lawyers Association, beginning as treasurer and eventually progressing to president in a few years. She has also held leadership roles in, and been a longtime member of, the Women’s Bar Foundation; she is a member of the Chicago Inn of Court, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association; and she was honored to be named one of Crain’s Chicago Business Notable Gen X Leaders In Law in 2019. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Catherine is a proud alumna of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, the University of Notre Dame, and Omaha Mercy High School. Her husband, Adam Weiler, is an executive vice president with Spark Foundry; and her favorite job title is mom – to son Henry and daughter Jane.
CATHERINE BASQUE WEILER
PARTNER SWANSON, MARTIN & BELL, LLP Loyola University Chicago School of Law
“Catherine’s colleagues regularly seek her perspective as a substantive motion practice specialist; she jumps in and goes the distance wherever the case is headed.”
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 51
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
L aurel Bellows, managing principal of the Bellows Law Group P.C., is internationally recognized for her expertise in executive compensation. She represents C-Suite, senior and mid-level executives, and corporations to negotiate employment offers, terminations, private equity and change in control agreements. The firm conducts internal investigations and litigates business disputes. The Bellows Law Group offers pragmatic advice, transactional and commercial litigation services to corporate executives, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes. Laurel is the past president of the nearly 400,000 member American Bar Association which operates throughout the United States and 40 other countries. Laurel also proudly served as president of the Chicago Bar Association. Her many accolades include acknowledgement for the last 20 years by Crain’s Chicago Business on their annual list of Chicago’s most influential business leaders. Laurel served as President of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, The Chicago Network, and The International Women’s Forum Chicago. She served on the Global Board of the International Women’s Forum where she founded and chaired its Governance Committee. Laurel proudly serves on the Board of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC). At the WBDC this year, Laurel worked with women entrepreneurs facing the management of their business and employees in a COVID world. Laurel provided guidance to women entrepreneurs adapting to a new normal in survival mode, interpreting fast moving legal changes and helping to implement new processes in response to business threats resulting from coronavirus. Laurel is highly regarded for her contributions to the Chicago and global community. As past president of the Chicago Bar Association, she founded the Alliance for Women which assures equality of pay and opportunity in law firms. She mentors individual women constantly on career moves, opportunities and compensation. Laurel strongly believes that negotiation and communication skills provide a strong response to the inequality and lack of recognition which women, including women of color experience. Laurel uses her voice to advocate for equal pay and to fight human trafficking. As an internationally recognized opinion leader, she speaks globally to associations and corporations on topics including leadership, negotiation, supply chain solutions to human trafficking, and executive compensation. Laurel was honored to serve on the Global Citizenship Commission, chaired by former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown that reported directly to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The Commission’s task, completed and published, was to review and comment on the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights on its 60th Anniversary. Laurel holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Loyola University School of Law of Chicago. Laurel is licensed to practice law in Illinois, California and Florida and is a certified mediator.
LAUREL G. BELLOWS
MANAGING PRINCIPAL BELLOWS LAW GROUP P.C. Loyola University Chicago School of Law
“Laurel has always been a dedicated social activist, notably leading groups to protect women’s rights and the rights of children.”
52 • CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
J uliet Berger-White is the deputy general counsel and chief compliance officer for Gov. J.B. Pritzker. In that role, she serves as senior legal counsel to Pritzker on a wide range of legal, policy, ethics, and compliance issues and coordinates with legal teams in a variety of state agencies. Juliet has provided counsel on key aspects of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including advising the Department of Public Health on many novel and significant legal issues. She leads the Chief Compliance Office, supervising investigations into allegations of misconduct and directing strategies to prevent and address harassment and discrimination. In addition, Juliet advises the governor’s office on employment issues, legislation, and clemency petitions and has been a leader in developing the state’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Prior to joining the governor’s office, Juliet was a partner at the law firm Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym Ltd., where she practiced law for 18 years. At HSPRD, Juliet represented a wide range of clients, including businesses, not-for-profits, and individuals in complex litigation matters. Her practice focused on civil rights, employment law, and constitutional law, and she regularly represented employees in discrimination, wage and hour, harassment, and whistleblower cases. In addition to her litigation practice, Juliet counseled both employees and employers and evaluated regulatory compliance issues. Juliet founded and chaired HSPRD’s Women’s Committee to provide support and business development opportunities for the firm’s female attorneys. Juliet was also the founder and chair of a group of advocates focused on improving policies and practices for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students. As part of that work, Juliet co-authored the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital’s “Model Policy for Student Gender Support,” which provided a template of affirming policies for school districts. Juliet continued this work in her current role by coordinating the Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force and its report to the governor’s office, Strengthening Inclusion in Illinois. Juliet served as the co-chair of Women Employed’s Quality Jobs Council, which focuses on developing strategies for improving workplace conditions for women in all industries. Juliet has spoken and published articles on a variety of topics, including employment law, representation of whistleblowers, and best practices for investigations. Juliet graduated cum laude from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where she was an editor of the Northwestern University Law Review. While at Northwestern, Juliet worked at the Bluhm Legal Clinic and Legal Council for Health Justice and traveled to Tanzania to research the country’s juvenile justice system. After law school, she served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb in the Western District of Wisconsin. She lives in Evanston with her husband, Jeff, and their three children, Talia, Sophie, and Leah.
DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL AND CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER OFFICE OF GOV. J.B. PRITZKER Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
“Juliet is a champion for women in our profession. At every step of her career, she has created opportunities for other women lawyers to succeed.”
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 53
HOWARD & HOWARD PROUDLY CONGRATULATES
HPS SALUTES Jennifer Ries-Buntain Recognized among Chicago’s top Women in Law
“Jen is the consummate partner, professional, leader and mentor. What makes her so extraordinary is not only the way she is driven to learn more, do more and be more, but that she is always driven on behalf of others—her clients, her partners, her family, the world.” —Nancy Paridy, mentor and client to Ries-Buntain; Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
“Jen has made an indelible mark on our firm and its culture with her strong values of commitment, loyalty, creativity, and compassion— followed by action to support them.” —David C. Hall, Partner Hall Prangle + Schoonveld
“Jen is a talented, tough and smart litigator—a worthy and always- professional opponent.” —Patrick A. Salvi, opposing counsel to Ries-Buntain; Managing Equity Partner and Chairman Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.
ILLINOIS | CALIFORNIA | COLORADO | FLORIDA | NEVADA | UTAH
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
K imberly Blair, a partner in the Chicago office of national law firm Wilson Elser, has impacted her profession in a number of areas over her 20 years as a litigator. Kim joined the firm in 2009 as a partner in the Chicago office from her position as a partner in a full-service national firm providing comprehensive litigation and business transactions services to public and private companies. She has litigated actions in Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Utah, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Mississippi. Kim was selected along with a fellow Chicago partner to represent the firm in the U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers Best Law Firms 2021 publication by authoring a Policy in Action article, “Digital Dangers.” In addition, she has authored articles and presented programs addressing how to deal with matters regarding and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim’s litigation practice centers on professional liability, including accountants, attorneys, insurance agents, real estate agents, technology and media professionals, consultants, brokers, architects and engineers, in addition to directors and officers liability, insurance coverage and bad faith matters. Kim is a co-chair of the firm’s Lawyers Liability Practice. She has tried cases in Illinois and has appellate experience throughout the United States, including a number of published appellate decisions on coverage matters. She is an active member of the Professional Liability Underwriters Association (PLUS). Carrier clients rely on Kim’s vast experience in all 50 states rendering coverage opinions on all types of professional liability insurance policies, as well as her resolute defense of wrongful denial claims and prosecution of declaratory judgment actions. Kim develops a strong rapport with the attorneys and other professionals she defends, envisioning herself in their position and skillfully guiding them toward positive outcomes. To add further value to her client relationships, Kim addresses in-house claims professionals and insureds on topics such as coverage, liability and damages. In addition, Kim defends private- and public-sector employers in all aspects of federal and state employment discrimination laws, handling cases arising under state and federal fair employment practices statutes. She is quite literally at her clients’ side before such administrative and judicial tribunals as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board or the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as state and federal administrative agencies and courts. Kim was quoted on racial and gender diversity in “Observers: D&O Writers Should Brace for Wave of Costly Diversity Lawsuits,” an article that appeared in the January 29, 2021, BestWire , from Best’s News & Research Service. Kim earned her J.D. degree at Vanderbilt University School of Law after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
KIMBERLY RIENTS BLAIR
PARTNER WILSON ELSER Vanderbilt University School of Law
“Kim does an amazing job of mentoring the team of attorneys and staff that work with her.”
56 • CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
A s managing partner of Dentons’ Chicago office, Leah Bruno exemplifies leadership in its several dimensions, guiding all personnel and strategy of the firm’s largest U.S. office while shaping a culture of diversity, client service, career fulfillment and collegial trust. A member of Dentons’ Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group since joining the firm out of law school in 1999, Leah has extensive litigation experience in a wide variety of commercial disputes. She has handled the defense of consumer and insurance class actions at both the state and federal levels. Leah has particular experience in false advertising consumer class actions as well as competitor disputes relating to intellectual property matters, including copyright, trademark and other related areas. She prides herself in her pragmatic and client-focused approach to matters, taking the time to understand her clients’ objectives before developing a strategy to achieve the best result. Leah represents clients in pretrial, trial and appellate proceedings. Her experience also includes drafting and preparing briefs for all levels of state and federal appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Universally regarded as a friend and ally, Leah uses her role as office managing partner to champion others. She frequently sponsors her colleagues for awards, encourages involvement from all members of the office and gets involved in recruiting and staffing to ensure that cases are diversely staffed and that young attorneys are given the opportunities they need to develop. Leah has been a member of the U.S. Associate Development Committee for more than six years — three as co-chair. Leah has led Dentons’ WomenLEAD initiative, designed to develop and inspire women business leaders. In 2020, Leah received the Lubin Award: Visionary, given annually to a Dentons employee who reflects the spirit of dedication to the Firm and its culture. Leah has an active pro bono practice focused on reproductive rights and women’s issues. She has frequently worked with the Center for Reproductive Rights and other organizations to submit pro bono amicus briefs in high profile matters pending in district and circuit courts around the country. In 2016, she led, pro bono, the coordination of a Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of several national women’s organizations, arguing the importance of reproductive health rights on women’s autonomy. The favorable decision remains a binding precedent followed by the high court in recent years. In 2019 and 2020, she led efforts on three additional Supreme Court amicus submissions on behalf of various women’s organizations, including the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the National Women’s Law Center in cases addressing women’s full access to healthcare and equal rights. Leah has been an ACLU cooperating counsel for 20 years and a member of the board of directors of its Illinois chapter for more than five years. She is also a member of the Legal Advisory Board of World Business Chicago. Leah earned her J.D., with highest honors, from DePaul University College of Law, she was an associate student at Trinity College at the University of Oxford and earned her B.A. from Northwestern University.
LEAH R. BRUNO
MANAGING PARTNER DENTONS DePaul University College of Law
“Leah exemplifies leadership in its several dimensions, guiding all personnel and strategy of the firm’s largest U.S. office.”
CHICAGO LAWYER JUNE/JULY 2021 • 57
TOP 50 WOMEN IN LAW HONOREE
M iriam Leskovar Burkland has been a part of the Chicago legal community for nearly 40 years. Earning her law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1981, she concentrates her practice on corporate and commercial transactions, with extensive experience negotiating and interpreting a full range of contracts that impact and support her clients and their businesses. She advises her clients at all stages of a company’s lifecycle, from formation to sale, and through various operating, financial, ownership, management and governance challenges. For more than 30 years, Miriam has been a partner with Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC and its predecessor, Defrees & Fiske. Since 2012, she has served as vice chairperson of the firm’s Business and Corporate Group. In this capacity, she facilitates marketing, practice management, communications, and training opportunities for the group’s more than 70 attorneys. In addition, she oversees the firm’s summer intern program for the Chicago office. Working with younger attorneys has always been a priority for Miriam. She regularly provides formal and informal mentoring to women in the firm as well as other attorneys and law students. She is a constant source of support for younger attorneys, always ready to listen and encourage professional growth and camaraderie. As a younger female attorney at Howard & Howard has noted: “When I first joined the firm, I was feeling overwhelmed, unsure and not very confident. But Miriam took me under her wing and gave me all the direction and support I required early in my career. Because of her, I regained my confidence.” Her long history of community involvement includes extended service as pro bono counsel to the Parks Foundation of Oak Park, a nonprofit organization created to promote giving opportunities and support projects for her hometown’s Park District. For many years, Miriam also served as a coach for law students at Loyola University Chicago School of Law who participated in LawMeets (a transactional negotiation competition). Additionally, she was a long-time board member of the Oak Park—River Forest Community Foundation, which manages $33 million in assets and strengthens the community through philanthropy, and Gads Hill Center, a comprehensive social service agency supporting children and their families on Chicago’s near southwest side. Miriam’s considerable legal talent, leadership skills and vision have been recognized by Illinois Leading Lawyers (2010-present) and Illinois Super Lawyers (2005-07; 2011). She holds a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, the highest peer rating standard. Miriam is also a member of the Chicago Bar Association and serves on its Commercial Finance and Transactions and Corporation and Business Law Committees. Miriam and her husband Mark, a municipal government lawyer with Elrod Friedman, have two adult children, Thomas and Katharine.
MIRIAM LESKOVAR BURKLAND
PARTNER HOWARD & HOWARD University of Illinois College of Law
“Miriam makes it a priority to provide
formal and informal mentoring to female attorneys and encourages comradery and professional growth among all.”
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