Kathleen Carlson
Sidley Austin LLP
Class actions and commercial litigation and disputes

Ask Kathleen Carlson's peers and they will tell you: There are few lawyers they would rather be in the trenches with than this commercial litigation pro. 

Consider Alexis Dunton, Executive Director and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co. She worked with Carlson at Sidley Austin for nearly six years. The pair spent many long days, and several all-nighters, on high-stress litigation cases. Dunton credits Carlson with showing her what first-rate client service and legal advice looks like. 

Dunton points to one fast-paced and high-stakes merger litigation in which she and Carlson had to file two reply briefs in less than 24 hours. "I recall not only Kathleen’s consistently calm demeanor, but also how well she managed everyone on the team through that experience and made sure that we were set up for success," Dunton said. The result of this hard work? Carlson's team defeated the motion set for hearing that day and ultimately succeeded in obtaining a complete dismissal of the case.

"Her legal work is not only exceptional, she is for all lawyers a model of integrity, professionalism and devotion to her clients," said William Conlon, chairman of the City of Chicago Board of Ethics, mediator with the Chicago Bar Association Mediation Service, and a retired Sidley partner who previously served as Sidley’s General Counsel and as a member of the Executive Committee.

With such a successful record, it is not surprising that clients turn to Carlson to handle the biggest legal issues. For example, Carlson defended a Fortune 50 company in an employment-related dispute brought by the company's former chief financial officer, which settled on terms favorable to Carlson's client. She also represented Elaine Wynn in high-profile litigation against Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts.

As her peers say, Carlson is not only a consummate professional, she also routinely produces outstanding results. 

David Graham, retired Sidley partner, worked with Carlson on a high-profile securities fraud case for a corporate client that had previously spent years defending an earlier securities fraud matter. The client dreaded the thought of becoming embroiled again in expensive, time-consuming litigation. 

Carlson served as the lead for this case, and thanks to her work, the case was dismissed in its entirety early in the litigation. Carlson then convinced the plaintiffs to forego appealing the dismissal. 

"Kathleen was never daunted or intimidated by the complexity of a matter, much less by our adversaries," Graham said. "Instead, she would simply go ahead and master all the facts and law, and then display that mastery in everything she did. Even when she was quite junior, she displayed a quiet confidence and that got communicated to our clients and to our opponents. Woe to the opponent who thought they were about to take advantage of a more junior attorney!"