Jim has recovered tens of millions of dollars in damages in individual and class actions arising under federal wage and hour laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage laws, other complex litigation, and catastrophic personal injury actions involving wrongful death, motor vehicle crashes, products liability, premises liability and construction negligence. In addition, Jim has helped secure groundbreaking and precedent-setting court decisions in the areas of wage and hour law, consumer fraud and employee privacy. Jim has been appointed lead or co-lead counsel on dozens of class actions throughout the United States. He has successfully tried over a dozen major jury trials and argued over 14 appeals as lead appellate counsel before federal and state appellate courts. Jim is also a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Learn more: https://www.stephanzouras.com
Attorney Mark DeBofsky is a member of DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C. as well as an adjunct professor of law at University of Illinois-Chicago John Marshall Law School. He is a prolific author who has written many journal articles and has been a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin since 2004. Mark DeBofsky is also an annual contributor to the ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits published by the American Bar Association and served for many years as a senior editor of Employee Benefits Law published by Bloomberg. Mark DeBofsky is also a frequent speaker and has lectured at conferences sponsored by many organizations, including the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Chicago Bar Association and LexisNexis/Mealey’s. Many of his cases have resulted in precedent setting decisions issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits. In 2008, he was nominated as a finalist for LexisNexis’ Insurance Law Center Policyholder Attorney of the Year award. Attorney DeBofsky is proud to have been recognized by his peers in the legal profession with the coveted AV® PreeminentTM Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®. He was named a Super Lawyer in Employee Benefits/ERISA in every year since 2009, and since 2011, he has been listed among the Top 100 Lawyers in the State of Illinois and among the Top 10 in Illinois in 2017. Recently, the National Trial Lawyers has named him one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the State of Illinois. He has also been ranked by the Leading Lawyers Network.
Amy M. Gardner, JD, CPC, ELI-MP Partner at Apochromatik Amy brings to Apochromatik a unique track record of working with law students as dean of students at a top 5 law school and a successful career practicing law, first as a Skadden litigation associate and later as an associate and then partner at a mid-size Chicago firm. In addition to countless hours completing stand-alone coaching trainings, she is a graduate of the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching. Until March, 2016, Amy was the Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Law School. Through her work as a dean of students, Amy developed an expertise in understanding the unique needs of law students and in tailoring professional education and development opportunities to their needs. Learn More: apochromatik.com
Helen Bloch is the founder of the Law Offices of Helen Bloch, P.C., and it is a certified female owned business. She has over 20 years of legal experience. After graduating from law school, Helen worked as a prosecutor and defense attorney for the City of Chicago. She then worked as an Associate Attorney with Bellows and Bellows, P.C., before founding her firm. Helen works with a diverse range of clients, from fortune 500 executives to employees, and including large corporations to small family owned businesses. She has practiced in state and federal courts, and in arbitration forums, including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. She often works with senior executives to negotiate their employment and severance agreements, and negotiating non competes and non solicits. Helen also has extensive worker’s compensation practice. She routinely lectures on legal and business topics, including gender roles in the law. In addition to her legal work, Helen is heavily involved in her community. She is the past President of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, which awarded her the Presidential Citation in 2015 and the Intra Society Award of Merit in 2001. And she is a member of several other associations. She is also a member of the Lawyers Division of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, a life member of Hadassah, and a member of AIPAC. Helen received her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law, IIT, and received her BA from Yeshiva University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Learn more: https://www.blochpc.com/
Gail is the head of the employment law practice at Loftus & Eisenberg, Ltd. Gail works a range of employment disputes related to race, gender, and other forms of workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Before Loftus & Eisenberg, Ltd, Gail worked for Sowell & Friedman, Ltd., at Dentons, and as a Staff Law Clerk to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She has also taught appellate advocacy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Gail has received several honors and accolades. Leading Lawyers named her as an Emerging Lawyer in Employment Law, and the Illinois Super Lawyer’s Magazine has named Gail as an Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star in Employment Litigation every year since 2017. She was also recognized as a Rising Star in Class Action Litigation. And Gail was named to the 2015 Chicago Jewish 36 under 36 List by the Jewish United Fund. In addition to legal accomplishments, Gail was elected as New Trier Township Trustee in 2017 on a four year term. She also currently sits on the Administrative and Government Affairs Committees of the Jewish United Fund, co-chairs the Legislative Committee of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, serves on the Quality Jobs Council for Women Employed, on her school district’s Community Review Community, on her synagogue’s board, and as a Girl Scout Brownie Leader, and on the Triage Cancer Legal Advisory Council. And she serves on the March of Dimes’ North Suburban Leadership Council and Illinois Government Affairs Committee. She received her M.A./B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her J.D. from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Learn More: https://www.loftusandeisenberg.com/
Professor Gonzalez joined the Chicago-Kent College of Law faculty in 1988. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his law degree from Ohio State University College of Law. In addition to teaching, Professor Gonzalez worked in private practice, worked for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, and as an administrative law judge for the State of Illinois Human Rights Commission. Professor Gonzalez has taught courses in employment discrimination, pre-trial litigation, negotiations, alternative dispute resolution, and advanced legal writing. He also a frequent speaker and author on topics of employment discrimination and wrongful discharge. In 2013, Professor Gonzalez was inducted into the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the organization that recognizes the nation’s top labor and employment attorneys. Learn More: https://www.iit.edu/directory/people/richard-gonzalez
Amit and Max meet on short notice to discuss some exciting legislative developments! NELA-IL's Legislative Committee has been hard at work working to push two different bills. The first amends Illinois wage theft laws to create stiffer penalties for employers who don't pay their workers. That bill just passed both Illinois legislative houses and is ready for Governor Pritzker's signature. The other is exciting, important, and comprehensive non-compete reform. This legislation will improve employee mobility and unanimously passed the Illinois General Assembly. Listen to Amit and Max talk about both bills, why they matter, and about all of the work that went into getting them through.
The founder of the Offices of Catherine Simmons-Gill, LLC. Catherine has an extensive practice in intellectual property, represents clients in commercial litigation and general corporate matters, and has a robust employment law practice. Catherine has been practice law for more than four decades. She was previously the General Counsel for two publicly traded companies, the Chief Trademark Counsel of a pharmaceutical company, and counsel for Sears, Roebuck and Co. She is also an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall Law School and a certified mediator. She graduated law school from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. In addition to all of this work, Catherine is the President of NELA-IL. https://www.nela-illinois.org/
Chiquita Hall-Jackson is The founder of the Hall Jackson & Associates, P.C. She received a B.A. in political science and public law, with a minor in communication studies from Northern Illinois University. She earned her JD from Southern University Law Center, where she served as SULC’s Law Clinic Extern and studied abroad in International Criminal Law and Constitutional Law. In addition, she worked as a mediator at the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. Chiquita’s practice includes pursuing claims for victims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as whistleblower retaliation. https://www.hall-jacksonandassociates.com/