Kerryann serves as a trusted advisor to companies seeking a pragmatic, solutions-oriented approach to employment matters. Clients value her depth of knowledge and unfaltering commitment to their business goals.
Kerryann is an experienced and effective litigation strategist, successfully defending clients in employment disputes at the federal and state levels. She uses her litigation experience to assess employment practices and to structure personnel polices to increase workplace productivity and minimize the threat of litigation.
Clients look to Kerryann for counsel on a broad spectrum of employment issues affecting financial institutions, manufacturing, logistics companies, and higher education institutions. Her work includes:
- Discrimination, wrongful termination, wage and hour claims, and non-compete claims
- Employment counseling (discipline/termination, employee leave and accommodations, and reductions in-force)
- Staff and leadership training, including executive management skills, employee leave and accommodations, leadership succession planning, board of directors/governance, and harassment avoidance
- Employment practices liability matters, as well as defending Directors and Officers under D&O policies
Within the Firm, Kerryann has held several leadership positions including serving the maximum three consecutive, 3-year terms on the Firm’s Management Committee and Compensation Committee. She continues to lead and oversee the operations and strategic vision in Chicago as the Office Managing Partner—serving in this role since 2008.
Groundbreaking argument in a national origin discrimination case
A major national healthcare entity was sued in federal court for national origin discrimination where the plaintiff claimed he had been fired due to his Hispanic ethnicity. The company asserted the job had been cut as part of an overall workforce reduction. Kerryann's argument – that the function of the court was not to act as a “super personnel department” superseding the decision-making process of the company’s human resources group – not only won the case, it has become a frequently cited decision affecting dozens of similar matters.
Winning on both sides of non-competes
Kerryann and her team successfully defended a large technology client in a non-compete case where the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were denied. They also were called in by a board of directors to take action against a top-level executive who went to work for a competitor. In this case, the team was able to secure a temporary restraining order and negotiate an 18-month non-compete agreement that addressed the board’s business concerns. Kerryann knows what it takes to enforce non-compete agreements and as a result, is successful in defending and enforcing them.
Defending against EEOC class action
Kerryann successfully defended an international automotive supplier, who faced an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission class action seeking $8 million on behalf of employees claiming the company had discriminated against people with disabilities. The case was based on the Americans with Disabilities Act requirement to provide accommodation of additional time off for disabled people who already had exhausted their Family Medical Leave Act benefits and been terminated. She successfully defended against two class allegations, avoiding costly class action litigation.
Defending against multiple counts of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation
A prominent food manufacturer found itself defending claims of sexual harassment, assault, battery, sexual assault, and retaliation and called on Kerryann. She successfully obtained summary judgment, eliminating all claims against the client, after taking critical oral discovery depositions of the plaintiff and other witnesses.
Training on sensitive issues
As employment counsel, Kerryann and her team have a deep understanding of clients’ organizational needs. They were asked to create a training program for executives serving on their first board of directors, covering topics such as the critical role of boards, board operations, and fiduciary duties. Similarly, a large family-run business asked the team to work with family members at all levels of the company to clarify the importance of consistency in company policies and procedures.
Honors & Recognitions
- Notable Gen X Leaders in Accounting, Consulting and Law, Crain's Chicago Business, 2021
- Leading Labor & Employment Lawyer, Chambers USA, 2021
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2021-present
- The Midwest’s Best Lawyers©, Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2021
- Recognized Practitioner, Labor & Employment, Chambers USA, 2018-2019
- Notable Gen X Leaders in Law, Crain's Chicago Business, 2019
- Best Places to Work in Chicago, Crain's Chicago Business, 2018
- Distinguished Service Award, The John Marshall Law School Alumni Association, 2018
- Most Influential Women Lawyers in Chicago, Crain's Custom Media, 2017
- Illinois Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers, 2010-present
- Illinois Super Lawyers Top 100, Super Lawyers, 2015-2016
- Illinois Super Lawyers Top 50 Women, Super Lawyers, 2015-2016
- Women of Influence, Chicago Business Journal, 2015
- Named a Female Powerbroker by Law360, 2014
- Exclusive winner in the Illinois Labor & Employment category, Lexology Client Choice Award, 2013-2014
- Illinois Rising Stars, Employment and Labor law, Super Lawyers, 2009
- 40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch, Law Bulletin Publishing, 2002
- Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
- Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), Chicago-Windy City Chapter
- Chapter Chair, 2019-2020
- Member, 2013-2020
- Vice President of Board, 2018
- Membership Chair, 2016-2018
- Networks Chair, 2015-2016
- Networks Vice-Chair, 2014-2015
- Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), Chicago-Metro Gold Chapter
- Member, 2020-present
- Membership Committee, 2020-present
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Illinois Bar Association
- Member, Wisconsin Bar Association