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Illinois Basic Skills for Newly Admitted Attorneys 2020


Speaker(s): Gray Mateo-Harris, Kenya Jenkins-Wright, Keyonn L Pope, Lauren G. Robinson, Martha Kohlstrand, Michele L. Slachetka, Precious S. Jacobs, R. Jason Patterson, Reena R. Bajowala, Stephanie L. Stewart, Stephen Mitchell
Recorded on: Oct. 6, 2020
PLI Program #: 284039

Precious S. Jacobs is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department.  Ms. Jacobs primarily represents clients in Products Liability, Class Action, Complex Commercial, and Franchising and Distribution Dispute matters.  Ms. Jacobs also counsels clients on a variety of legal issues related to data privacy.  

Ms. Jacobs has significant experience in a variety of forums, including in state and federal courts across the country in cases involving complex contractual disputes in a variety of industries, including retail, construction services, and financial services.  Ms. Jacobs has assisted in obtaining significant victories for clients in her matters and has served as an integral member of key litigation teams that have been able to successfully settle several complex matters over the years.  She also counsels clients on a number of data privacy related issues, specifically in the use of physical security measures to protect highly confidential and proprietary information.  In addition to her diverse litigation and counseling experience, Ms. Jacobs maintains an active pro bono practice.  Ms. Jacobs has assisted her pro bono clients with respect to defending against first-degree murder charges and overturning a void regulation utilized by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. 

Ms. Jacobs is currently a fellow in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellows Program, a program dedicated to creating a truly diverse U.S. legal profession.  She has also received the National Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division’s Humanitarian Award, Academic Achievement Program at NYU’s Alumni Trailblazer Award, and Family Defense Center’s Major Litigation Award.  Prior to joining Jenner and Block, Ms. Jacobs completed a PILI Fellowship at the Chancery Advice Desk for pro se litigants through the Chicago Legal Clinic.  Ms. Jacobs received her JD, magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law, where she also received two Rickert Awards for Excellence in Advocacy and Service. 

Ms. Jacobs serves as a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and as the Co-Chair of the firm’s African-American Affinity Group.  Ms. Jacobs is also a member of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc. 


As Assistant General Counsel of the American Medical Association, Lauren counsels senior leadership and staff on legal matters and business strategy.  She is experienced in corporate law and governance; corporate and real estate transactions; mergers and acquisitions; compliance and ethics; and employment law. Prior to joining the AMA, she was an in-house attorney with the American Bar Association and a Partner at Schiff Hardin, LLP (Corporate and Securities).  Lauren has counseled private and public corporations, non-profit corporations and membership associations.  She also held multiple executive roles as at Chicago Community Ventures, which provides financing and consulting to small businesses.  

Lauren is an arbitrator with the Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program and a member of the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Review and Disciplinary Commission. Lauren served as an Adjunct Faculty Supervisor at the Business Enterprise Law Clinic of The John Marshall Law School where she supervised students representing small businesses on corporate matters. She clerked I federal district court for the Honorable Clifford Scott Green (E.D. Pa). 

Lauren has received the "Top Assistant General Counsel" award from First Chair, an organization of in-house counsel and the Chicago Bar Association’s “Lawyers Lend-A-Hand” Award for her work in youth mentoring.

Lauren is a graduate of New York University School of Law, New York University Graduate School of Public Service (M.P.A., Public Policy), and Vassar College (Thesis with Distinction).


Gray has more than a decade of experience representing employers in workplace litigation, handling labor relations disputes and providing strategic counsel on labor and employment law issues. She advises clients in a broad range of industries including education, software and technology services, real estate, financial services, retail and manufacturing. Gray tailors her solution-oriented counsel to the particular needs of each client, considering the nuances of their business in order to deliver advice that is practical and in line with their goals, values and culture.

A native Spanish speaker from the Dominican Republic, Gray is adept at providing Spanish language representation to clients. She works fluently with Spanish language witnesses and documents, including document review, depositions, mediations, administrative proceedings, internal investigations and employment as well as various types of training.

 


Jason Patterson advises employers on all aspects of employment law including workplace discrimination, health and safety, wage and hour, whistleblowing, employee handbooks, termination, and disciplinary action. Jason also counsels employers in traditional labor matters including collective-bargaining, union organizing campaigns, grievance arbitration, and matters before federal and state labor boards. Before joining the firm, Jason was a Trial Attorney at the United States Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor (DOL), and a Field Attorney with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). At the DOL, Jason advised and litigated enforcement actions on behalf of the Department’s sub-agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Wage and Hour Division, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the Whistleblowing Protection Program. At the NLRB, Jason represented the General Counsel and the Regional Director in unfair labor practice and representation proceedings. Jason’s experience working in and representing government enforcement agencies allows him to provide employers unique insight when responding to government investigations, litigation, and counseling on compliance. Jason is active in the community, dedicating his time to several programs tasked with mentoring youth from challenging backgrounds. Jason is also a past member of the University of Illinois College of Law Alumni Board. In his spare time, Jason enjoys performing jazz music as a vibraphonist, and spending time with his wife and two sons.


Kenya A. Jenkins-Wright is currently employed as the General Counsel of the Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission (GAC).  Prior to joining GAC, Ms. Jenkins-Wright spent 12 years as a litigator, with the law firms of Hinshaw & Culbertson and later Greene and Letts (n/k/a Zuber Lawler & Del Duca), specializing in product liability, medical malpractice, and Section 1983 civil rights actions.  Ms. Jenkins-Wright has participated and assisted in various aspects of trials including being the second chair in a four-day federal jury trial and being the lead counsel in several Illinois Circuit Court bench trials.  She has taken numerous depositions including the depositions of parties, witnesses, treating physicians and experts.  Ms. Jenkins-Wright has drafted and argued numerous motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, final pretrial orders, motions in limine, miscellaneous pleadings, and jury instructions.  She has drafted both Federal and Illinois State appellate briefs.

Ms. Jenkins-Wright is a past president of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc. (BWLA). During Ms. Jenkins-Wright’s Presidency, BWLA hosted a three-day National Summit of Black Women Lawyers, which addressed various issues relevant to black women attorneys and the minority community.  Ms. Jenkins-Wright is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), where she is currently the Chair of the Standing Committee on Racial & Ethnic Minorities and the Law, also serving on the ISBA Assembly and Bench & Bar Section.  Ms. Jenkins-Wright is a member of the board of directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation and a past president of the Chicago Bar Foundation Young Professionals Board.  She is also a past board member of the Cook County Bar Association, the oldest Association of African-American lawyers and judges in the country.

Ms. Jenkins-Wright has received numerous awards and recognitions for her legal prowess and community involvement, including: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin “40 Under Forty Illinois Attorneys to Watch”; American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Star of the Year Award; National Bar Association’s 40 Under Forty Award; Illinois Super Lawyer; Cook County Bar Association’s Junior Counselor Award; and Cook County Bar Association’s President’s Award.

Ms. Jenkins-Wright received her Juris Doctor from Northern Illinois University College of Law graduating magna cum laude in 2003. She graduated magna cum laude from Valparaiso University in 2000.  She was admitted to the practice of law in Illinois in 2003 and admitted to the Northern District of Illinois in 2004.


Keyonn is a Partner in the firm's Chicago office and a member of the Intellectual Property, Tech, and Data Group. He focuses his practice on intellectual property (IP) litigation and counseling. He represents clients in matters involving utility patent, design patent, trademark, trade secret, trade dress, unfair competition, copyright infringement, from both plaintiffs' and defendants' perspectives.

With respect to patents, Keyonn has considerable experience representing industry competitors in protracted, hard-fought litigation, as well as defending clients against claims brought by non-practicing entities (NPEs). He has represented clients in courts across the country, including some of the most popular venues for patent disputes, namely, the E.D. Texas, E.D. Virginia, D. Delaware, N.D. California, N.D. Illinois, among others. Given his training and work experience as an electrical engineer, Keyonn quickly dissects and digests the complex technology that is often at the center of the patent matters he handles, and communicates plainly with engineers, fellow attorneys, business stakeholders, judges, and juries, alike. He also has extensive experience handling patent prosecution, as well as inter partes review (IPR) petitions before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

A former student-athlete and musician, Keyonn devotes a substantial portion of his practice to media and entertainment related matters. In that regard, he drafts, negotiates, and counsels on matters related to music and product licensing, distribution, and management. He brings to bear a lucid understanding of the business and IP issues at the core of each transaction.

A trusted advisor to his clients, Keyonn is adept at assembling and managing teams on matters outside of the IP landscape, and is often called upon to do so on behalf of his clients. For example, Keyonn has successfully assembled and managed teams in connection with matters involving: complex commercial litigation, corporate transactions (e.g., M&A and joint ventures), labor and employment, regulatory and compliance, marketing and advertising, and franchise disputes, among others. Keyonn is a former Adjunct Professor at Howard University (Washington, DC), where he taught "Patents and Entrepreneurship" to undergraduate engineering students. He is a frequent lecturer on intellectual property and entertainment related topics. He also holds a number of leadership roles within the firm, including, Firmwide Chair of Reed Smith's Black/African-American Affinity Group, as well as membership on the Chicago Office's Hiring Committee. Additionally, Keyonn devotes significant time to pro bono matters and other community service projects.

 


Martha Kohlstrand is an associate in Ice Miller’s Litigation and Data Security and Privacy Groups. She handles commercial litigation, data security matters, class actions, and compliance matters. Her experience includes data breach response and incident planning, GDPR compliance, cryptocurrency matters, TCPA litigation, and ADA website compliance. Martha further assists clients in providing data security training to their employees and has twice been on the planning committee for DRI's cybersecurity conference, this year as co-marketing chair.  
 
She graduated cum laude from Northwestern Law in 2013 where she was on the staff of Northwestern’s Journal of International Law and Business. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Bowling Green State University. Prior to joining Ice Miller, Martha was an associate at the Chicago office of an international law firm, where she began her practice.
 
Martha is very active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an organization whose mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and its complications. Her passion and commitment to JDRF began when her son was diagnosed with T1D at age 7. She is a member of JDRF Illinois' Young Leadership Committee and also serves on the Auction Committee for JDRF's One Dream Gala in Chicago. Martha also volunteers in the area of special education law. 
 
On weekends, she can often be found at either Bowling Green or Northwestern football games, enjoying the theater or attending live music events.


Michele Slachetka is a partner in the Chicago office of Jenner & Block LLP and a member of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation Practice.

As part of her practice, Ms. Slachetka has represented individuals and public and privately-held companies in the transportation, defense, financial, telecommunications, and aviation industries in sensitive internal and government investigations and in federal and state court litigation, including matters involving the False Claims Act, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and fraud claims.  Ms. Slachetka also has experience representing employers, plan sponsors, and individual fiduciaries in Employment Retirement Income Security Act litigation, and has served as counsel for the chapter 7 Trustee in numerous bankruptcy litigation matters relating to the collapse of five related hedge funds with more than $1.5 billion in assets under management.  She previously was a member of the team that represented a privately-held company in a class action lawsuit in which a federal district court judge granted summary judgment dismissing all EEOC claims against the company.

Ms. Slachetka has over a decade of experience in the area of attorney-client privilege and work product protection, and regularly counsels attorneys and clients on privilege issues.  She is Co-Editor of Jenner & Block LLP’s privilege outline, Protecting Confidential Legal Information: A Handbook for Analyzing Issues Under the Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work-Product Doctrine, and an Author of Testimonial Privileges, a ten-chapter, two-volume treatise published annually by Thomson Reuters.

Ms. Slachetka maintains an active pro bono practice focusing primarily on immigration issues.  She has successfully represented clients in affirmative asylum applications before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, in defensive asylum proceedings in Immigration Court, and on appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals.  She currently serves on the Leadership Board for National Immigrant Justice Center.

 


Mr. Mitchell graduated from Florida A&M University in 1994 with his B.S. in Business Economics and received his M.A.S.S. in 1995. While at Florida A&M University, Mr. Mitchell was the Vice Polemarch of the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 

After leaving Florida A&M University, Mr. Mitchell went on to the University of Wisconsin Law School. Mr. Mitchell received his Doctor of Law in 1998. While at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Mr. Mitchell was Managing Editor of the Wisconsin Law Review and a Coach and Member- Wisconsin Moot Court Board.

In the fall of 2002, Mr. Mitchell was elected to serve on the Local School Council for Anthony Overton Elementary School.  In the summer of 2003, Mr. Mitchell was elected to the Board of Directors for the Cook County Bar Association and he also received the Cook County Bar Association President’s Award.  In the fall of 2003, Mr. Mitchell was appointed as a Hearing Officer for the Illinois Supreme Court Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and in spring 2007 he was appointed as Hearing Panel Chair.  In the spring of 2004, Mr. Mitchell was featured in the American Bar Association’s “Edge Magazine and in Uptown Magazine as one of the Nation’s Top Lawyers.

In the summer of 2004, Mr. Mitchell received the Cook County Bar Association’s Meritorious Service Award.  In the fall of 2004, Mr. Mitchell was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Legal Assistance Foundation. ” In 2006, Mr. Mitchell was selected as one of “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 To Watch” – 2006, one of “Who’s Who in Black Chicago,” five times in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 as one of Super Lawyers Magazine “Illinois Rising Stars,” featured in the October/November issue of Uptown Magazine as one of the Nation’s Top Lawyers and as One of The Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence and as WVON’s 40 Game Changers 40 and Under.

In 2013, Mr. Mitchell became the founding President of the Bronzeville Neighborhood Collaborative (BNC). Mr. Mitchell is also a member of the City of Chicago Police 2nd District Advisory Committee and the Court Advocacy Committee.  In 2014, Mr. Mitchell received the C.F. Stradford Award from the Cook County States Attorney's Office.

In the spring of 2017, Mr. Mitchell was appointed as the Father’s Auxiliary Chair of the Chicago Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Mr. Mitchell was also recently recognized as a Pillar of the Bronzeville Community by Andre and Frances Guichard, the Mayor and First Lady of Bronzeville.

Mr. Mitchell is president of The Stephen Mitchell Law Group, PC, which is one of Chicago’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firms.  The firm represents individuals and their families in personal injury and wrongful death cases.  Mr. Mitchell has handled cases in federal and state court and has obtained very successful results for his clients.                                                 

Mr. Mitchell is also a prominent collector of African American Fine Art with hundreds of pieces in his personal collection and is co-owner of Gallery Guichard, one of the nation’s most prominent art galleries. 


Recognized by her peers as a "Super Lawyer" and/or “Leading Lawyer” in professional liability since 2007, Ms. Stewart has established a successful practice concentrating in the areas of ARDC defense, legal malpractice, commercial litigation, and representation of other professionals before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

After graduating from Northwestern University Pritzker Law School in 1994, Ms. Stewart served as a prosecutor at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (“ARDC”) where she investigated and litigated hundreds of attorney disciplinary cases. In 1999, she was promoted to Senior Counsel to the Administrator of the ARDC, a position she held until leaving the ARDC for private practice in 2002.

Ms. Stewart has served as both a consulting and a testifying expert in the legal ethics field and regularly advises and represents governmental entities, corporations, law firms, and individual lawyers in ethics matters. For example, she has conducted internal ethics investigations, including Himmel investigations, for some of the largest law firms in Chicago. She has also represented attorneys and law firms in relation to motions to disqualify and for sanctions, fee disputes, and partnership matters.  Ms. Stewart was appointed as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney in both Cook and Winnebago Counties with respect to ethics matters, and previously chaired the CBA’s Committee on Professional Fees.

 


Reena Bajowala is a partner in Ice Miller’s Litigation Group, where her practice focuses on information technology, data security and privacy and employment matters. She regularly counsels and defends information technology (IT) companies (including software developers, cloud-based storage providers and tech startups), online and brick-and-mortar retailers, manufacturers and automotive industry clients in technology-related and employment (ERISA and FLSA) disputes. 

Reena advises sellers and buyers of IT services with respect to their rights and defends them in disputes, under a wide variety of laws, including contract, tort, copyright, trade secret and trademark law. She assists clients with evaluating business decisions relating to call centers and data centers around the globe. Reena helps navigate clients through issues relating to emerging technologies, including blockchain and artificial intelligence. She also provides advice to clients regarding data privacy and security issues.

With a demonstrated ability to deal with the intricacies of class, collective and plan-wide litigation, Reena defends employers and service providers in federal actions involving the FLSA and ERISA. She is adept at dealing with issues arising from the Class Action Fairness Act, Multi-District Litigation and hybrid action procedures. She also works with companies in consumer fraud and deceptive practice litigation and investigations. 

Reena is deeply committed to the community. She serves on the advisory board of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation. She also serves on the board of the Albany Park Theater Project. Her previous service includes the Public Interest Law Initiative, the National Immigrant Justice Center and Apna Ghar.

Reena is recognized for her public interest work in the areas of fair housing, civil rights and human trafficking. In 2005, she founded the Origins Fellowship at the University of Michigan Law School, which has distributed almost $125,000 to dozens of students working to advance the public interest. 

Reena works to advance diversity in the legal industry. She is a 2013 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. She received the "Best Under 40" award from NAPABA, the POW! Award from Womenetics and a "Most Powerful and Influential Woman" award from the Illinois Diversity Council in recognition of these efforts. 

Reena joined the Firm in 2018 after spending more than 12 years as an associate and partner at an AmLaw 70 firm based in Chicago.