Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois
Judge, Countywide Vacancy of Debra Walker, 5/2023 - Present
Effective May 12, 2023, by unanimous appointment of the Illinois Supreme Court.
Fletcher & Sippel, LLC, Chicago, Illinois
Partner, 12/2019 - 5/2023
Associate, 3/2014 -11/2019
- Leading the labor and employment practice group through representation of individuals and employers in a full range of labor and employment matters before regulatory agencies, and in state and federal court litigation involving claims of wrongful discharge, harassment and discrimination under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Railway Labor Act (RLA), Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) including Whistleblower regulations, and other statutes.
- Serves on multiple Public Law Boards adjudicating organization disputes and employee grievances on behalf of rail carriers.
- Defends interests of railroads and other transportation industry clients on issues involving the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA), personal injury, and commercial disputes.
- Represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations and related arbitration proceedings.
- Counsels and trains clients on labor and employment issues, including employee retention, discipline and separation, performance management, benefits (administration and coverage), statutory compliance, workplace investigations, policy development and enforcement, employment agreements, ADA and other workplace accommodations, FMLA, FLSA and wage and hour issues.
- Successfully represents and defends clients in complex litigation through motion and trial practice in both state and federal jurisdictions across the country.
Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Chicago, Illinois
Chief Legal & Labor Counsel, 12/2012-3/2014
- As the advisor to the Recorder, supervised the Recorder’s Legal Department, and developed and advised on the enforcement of office policy and public relations platforms, and assisted the Recorder with executive functions.
- Provided oversight to the Recorder’s Human Resources Division. Advised management regarding FMLA, ADA, and applicable collective bargaining agreements. Coordinated and assisted with collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
- Supervised investigations of employee misconduct, monitored employment performance management functions including disciplinary actions and grievance proceedings, and represented the Recorder in third step employee grievances and arbitrations. Counseled on employee on-boarding, retention and separation.
- Assisted in legal representation of the Recorder, rendered legal advice and supported the legal affairs of the Recorder in conjunction with the Cook County State’s Attorney and outside counsel.
- Drafted and analyzed legislative issues involving local and statewide initiatives. Assisted in the drafting of Illinois’ groundbreaking legislation: Recording Fraud Review & Referral Process.
- Delivered legal advice, including statutory interpretation and enforcement, on issues involving commercial and real estate transactions.
Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Chicago, Illinois
Assistant Attorney General, 1/2010-12/2012
- As an Assistant Attorney General in the Illinois Attorney General's Government Representation Division-General Law Bureau provided legal representation for the State of Illinois, Illinois’ officers, boards, commissions, agencies and employees in civil litigation.
- Focused on civil rights matters stemming from alleged violations of the United States Constitution.
- Defended cases premised upon violations of FMLA, ADA, 42 USC §1981, 42 USC §1983 and Title VII, including allegations of employment discrimination, equal protection, due process, excessive force, failure to protect, search and seizure, and freedom of speech.
- Defended employment termination actions involving labor disputes, grievances and collective bargaining agreements.
- Successfully defended complex litigation through motion and trial practice in both state and federal jurisdictions within the State of Illinois.
- Independently managed and litigated an average active caseload of 40.
Illinois House of Representatives, Springfield, Illinois
Assistant General Counsel to Speaker of the House of Representatives 96th General Assembly, 1/2009-7/2009
- Drafted and provided strategic analysis of legislation in a variety of areas including education, mass transit, environment, municipal, insurance, professional liability and corrections; participated in the defense of proposed legislation debated on the Illinois House of Representatives’ Floor.
- Served as the House of Representatives’ Parliamentarian; assisted the Speaker in ensuring constitutionality of all actions; advised the Speaker on matters concerning parliamentary procedure.
Querrey & Harrow, Ltd., Chicago, Illinois
Associate Attorney, 8/2007-1/2010
- Defended several local municipal corporations in lawsuits premised upon alleged violations of the United States Constitution involving 42 USC § 1983.
- Litigated a variety of cases, including premise liability, personal injury, commercial issues (including contract disputes involving breach of contract claims), insurance defense and coverage, construction, and real estate including sales, purchases and redevelopments. Also gained experience conducting real estate transactions, in professional negligence liability, and general corporate transactions.
- Practice included second chairing jury trials, substantive legal drafting, extensive motion practice, coordinating and managing voluminous written discovery, and conducting oral discovery.
DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
Honors/Activities: Dean’s List; Member of Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity-Story Chapter
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Bachelor of Science in Commerce (Marketing Major, Finance Minor)
Honors/Activities: Dean’s List, Four Year Member-Two Year Captain of the Blue Demon Dance Team
TRIAL & CASE SUCCESSES, AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
- Not guilty verdict in employment breach of contract jury trial.
- Successfully defended matters before the 7th Cir. Court of Appeals and before the 8th Cir. Court of Appeals.
- Dismissals by motion for summary judgment of various Title VII race discrimination claims, a 42 USC § 1983 class action claiming equal protection violations, a 42 USC §1983 matter involving violations of due process rights, a 42 USC § 1983 matter alleging First Amendment violations, and numerous actions under FMLA and the FELA.
- Dismissals by motion of over 30 actions seeking recovery under 42 USC §§1981, 1983.
- Dismissals by motion of over 40 actions seeking mandamus and/or constitutional relief in Cook, Will and Lee Counties.
- Dismissals of over 30 labor board appeals
- Advocate for Diversity Award Recipient – Diversity Scholarship Foundation – October, 10, 2013
- Service & Most Valuable Member Award – Women’s Bar Association of Illinois – June 8, 2016
- 2015-2022 - Rising Star by Illinois SuperLawyers Magazine
- United States Supreme Court
- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
- United States District Court, Northern District & Southern District of Illinois
- United States District Court, Northern District & Southern District of Indiana
- United States District Court, Eastern District & Western District of Wisconsin
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
- State of Illinois
- State of Wisconsin
- State of Michigan