40 Under Forty 2022



A sk Kathleen Carlson’s peers and they will tell you: There are few lawyers they would rather be in the trenches with than this commercial litigation pro. Consider Alexis Dunton, Executive Di- rector and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co. She worked with Carlson at Sidley Austin for nearly six years. The pair spent many long days, and several all-nighters, on high-stress litiga- tion cases. Dunton credits Carlson with showing her what first-rate client service and legal advice looks like. Dunton points to one fast-paced and high-stakes merger litigation in which she and Carlson had to file two reply briefs in less than 24 hours. “I recall not only Kathleen’s consistently calm demeanor, but also how well she managed every- one on the team through that experience and made sure that we were set up for success,” Dunton said. The result of this hard work? Carlson’s team defeated the motion set for hearing that day and ulti- mately succeeded in obtaining a complete dismissal of the case. “Her legal work is not only exceptional, she is for all lawyers a model of integri- ty, professionalism and devotion to her clients,” said William Conlon, chairman of the City of Chicago Board of Ethics, me- diator with the Chicago Bar Association Mediation Service, and a retired Sidley partner who previously served as Sidley’s General Counsel and as a member of the Executive Committee. With such a successful record, it is not surprising that clients turn to Carlson to

handle the biggest legal issues. For exam- ple, Carlson defended a Fortune 50 com- pany in an employment-related dispute brought by the company’s former chief financial officer, which settled on terms favorable to Carlson’s client. She also represented Elaine Wynn in high-profile litigation against Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts. As her peers say, Carlson is not only a consummate professional, she also rou- tinely produces outstanding results. David Graham, retired Sidley partner, worked with Carlson on a high-profile se- curities fraud case for a corporate client that had previously spent years defend- ing an earlier securities fraud matter. The client dreaded the thought of becoming embroiled again in expensive, time-con- suming litigation. Carlson served as the lead for this case, and thanks to her work, the case was dis- missed in its entirety early in the litigation. Carlson then convinced the plaintiffs to forego appealing the dismissal. “Kathleen was never daunted or in- timidated by the complexity of a matter, much less by our adversaries,” Graham said. “Instead, she would simply go ahead and master all the facts and law, and then display that mastery in everything she did. Even when she was quite junior, she displayed a quiet confidence and that got communicated to our clients and to our opponents. Woe to the opponent who thought they were about to take advan- tage of a more junior attorney!”

She is for all lawyers a model of integrity,

professionalism and devotion to her clients”

AGE 39

FIRM Sidley Austin LLP

LAW SCHOOL University of Illinois College of Law AREA OF PRACTICE Class actions and commercial litigation and disputes



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