Elizabeth B. Vandesteeg
Sugar Felsenthal Grais and Hammer LLP
▶Bankruptcy, Privacy & Data Security, Litigation
40 Under Class – 2017
Lisa Vandesteeg has earned a series of victories for her clients that would be the envy of attorneys with many more years of experience. It is no surprise that one client has this to say: “I am glad she is on my side. She has a razor-sharp legal mind and a warrior-like courtroom presence.”
“She is a very bright, tireless, tenacious litigator, who has a gift for absorbing just about any subject matter,” said former colleague Mitchell Bryan. “At the same time, Lisa is extremely good at dealing with and working with others, such as clients, witnesses, judges and opposing attorneys.” Bryan points to several key victories that Vandesteeg has earned for her clients. She and Bryan worked together on a five-day trial, with subsequent success on appeal, in a City of Chicago use tax dispute. The pair represented the franchisee of a national retail chain.
This is just one example of the quality of Vandesteeg’s work. Other recent examples include: representing a litigating funding firm in a cutting-edge purchase of a $50 million interest in a judgment award for $26 million from a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee; obtaining a judgment on the pleadings in an alter ego claim against various corporate entities, pulling their assets into an individual’s chapter 7 bankruptcy estate; and guiding a litigation funding start-up through development and implementation of an information security program.
Another of her clients, Linda Jacobs of Bill Jacobs Enterprises, has the following to say of Vandesteeg:
In working with Lisa over the past six years I have come to rely on her legal expertise, creativity, and knowledge. She is someone I’ve come to trust both professionally and personally. While her legal skill sets her apart from her colleagues on its own, what makes Lisa truly unique is her responsiveness and ability to create a personal connection. I know that she truly cares about me, as a client and individual, and is a consummate professional. Her thoughtfulness in this regard is unparalleled in the legal profession and one of the many reasons I’m not surprised she is one of the 40 under 40.
Vandesteeg moved to her current firm with her partner, Jonathan Friedland, about two years ago. The two started working together about a decade ago and, according to Friedland, Vandesteeg “runs through walls to get results for clients.” “Quite frankly,” Friedland, a corporate and bankruptcy attorney, goes onto say, “I cannot imagine trusting litigation for my clients to anyone else, and a number of my clients have expressly told me that she must be involved in all of their litigation matters.”
“Being an insolvency litigator requires work, passion and an understanding of the risks involved for a client, and ability to reach a result in an effective manner,” explains another in-house counsel. “Lisa provides streamlined service while working hard to push the ball forward toward a client’s end goal.”
When not working for her clients, Vandesteeg is an active volunteer for both her community and the legal profession. She participates in the annual Cycle for Survival to raise money for cancer research and is a strong supporter of Girls On The Run. Vandesteeg is also sought-after speaker on data privacy, litigation, and bankruptcy-related subjects. She is an executive editor of two best-seller Thompson Reuters treatises: Commercial Bankruptcy Litigation and Strategic Alternatives For and Against Distressed Businesses. And she was recently also selected as one of the inaugural class of “40 Under 40” by the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Most importantly, Vandesteeg carves out time each day to spend with her husband, daughter, and son. Some favorite family activities are making dinner together, riding bikes, and watching silly TV shows. And she and her husband also plan vacations for SCUBA, hiking, and golf – without the kids.