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Daniel A. Kaufman



Clients turn to Dan because he is an outstanding litigator and a trusted advisor on employment and other issues. His deep knowledge of employment law, exceptional judgment, and strategic advice enable clients to achieve their goals.

Businesses, colleges and universities, municipalities, and other clients rely on Dan’s proven litigation experience and proactive counsel on a broad range of issues, including:

  • Discrimination and harassment suits
  • Non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements
  • Hiring, disciplining and terminating employees
  • Retaliation and whistleblower claims
  • Medical leaves and disability
  • Wage and hour matters
  • Litigation avoidance

Dan’s work is regularly honored by regional and national ranking organizations. He holds an AV® (preeminent/highest) rating from Martindale-Hubbell®.  He received an award for excellence in pro bono service from the Judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association in 2010. Dan has held various leadership roles at Michael Best, including serving as the immediate past chair of the Labor & Employment Relations Group, previously serving as a member of the Management Committee and serving twice as the Managing Partner of the Chicago Office. Dan served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Charles L. Levin, Michigan Supreme Court, from Fall 1986 to Fall 1987.


Highlights of Dan’s experience as a litigator include: 

  • Led trial team when jury found no liability against our client, one of the largest municipalities in Illinois, in a federal case alleging disability discrimination. This case helped to define and limit the scope of an employer’s obligation to provide employees with a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Led trial team when jury found no liability against our client in a federal case alleging retaliation and other claims
  • Bench trial victory on behalf of a large healthcare entity in a groundbreaking case claiming discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
  • Obtained summary judgment (affirmed by the Seventh Circuit) on behalf of a large healthcare entity in a national origin discrimination case. This case is frequently cited for the compelling argument we made that a court is not to act as a “super personnel department” substituting its judgment for the decision-making process of an employer.     
  • Attained dismissals and successful resolutions of disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, and other claims against leading universities
  • Attained numerous dismissals, summary judgement and successful resolutions of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour and other claims against businesses, municipalities and other clients.

Class action and multi-plaintiff cases

  • Defeated plaintiffs' motion for class certification and obtained summary judgment (affirmed by the Seventh Circuit) in a 10-plaintiff case against a large employer. The plaintiffs alleged race and national origin harassment and discrimination and retaliation.
  • Successfully represented a construction company in a multi-plaintiff case that alleged federal and state wage and hour claims. The claims alleged misclassification and denial of overtime pay.

Non-compete and trade secret disputes

  • Defended and successfully resolved a non-competition lawsuit filed against a bank, mortgage company, and senior executives after the mortgage company had hired a group of senior executives and other employees from another mortgage company
  • Prevailed in and successfully resolved numerous other disputes involving non-competition, non-solicitation, non-disclosure, and trade secret claims. Cases include successful hearings on motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, on behalf of banks and other financial services institutions, professional services companies, hedge funds, and other clients.

Honors & Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law - Management, 2012-present
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rated
  • “Illinois Super Lawyers” list, Super Lawyers magazine, 2006-present 
  • 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 Years Old to Watch, Law Bulletin Publishing, 2000
  • Chicago’s Top Rated Lawyers, The Chicago Tribune and The Wall Street Journal
  • Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, 2010

Professional Activities

  • Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
    • Annual Program Committee, 2018-2019 (Co-Chair, Compliance Working Group), 2017-2018, 2016-2017 (Co-Chair, Business and Real Property Working Group), 2015-2016, 2008-2009, 2007-2008
    • CLE Committee, 2010 and 2013
  • Member, University of Chicago Law School Visiting Committee, 2006-2009
  • Member, American Bar Association, Employment and Litigation Committees
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association



Community Involvement

  • Councilman, City Council of the City of Highland Park, Illinois, 2011-present
  • Illinois State Housing Appeals Board, 2012-present
  • Member, City Year Chicago, 2004-2011
  • Member, Economic Club of Chicago, 2008-2017; Chair, Attorney Sub-Committee, Membership Committee, 2016-2017; Chair, Reception Committee, 2012-2013
  • Member, Community Partners for Affordable Housing, 2010-2012
  • Appointed to Illinois State Representative Karen May’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Affordable Housing, 2005
  • Chairman, Housing Commission of the City of Highland Park, Illinois, 2000-2003; Member, 2000-2006
  • Chairman, Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee of Highland Park, Illinois, 2002-2005; Member, 2002-2006
  • President, Jewish Council for Youth Services, 1996-1997; Board of Directors, 1989-1998
  • Commissioner, Human Relations Commission of the City of Highland Park, Illinois, 1992-1999
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