Stephanie A. Scharf represents corporate clients and government entities in litigation and arbitration in a wide range of commercial disputes, class action defense, product liability and mass tort defense, insurance coverage for corporate policyholders, and employment litigation. In three decades of representing clients in federal and state courts, Stephanie has tried civil and criminal jury and bench trials, has managed the pre-trial, trial and appellate phases of litigation, and has overseen the resolution of multiple commercial disputes and complex tort actions. Stephanie frequently counsels companies on ways to avoid litigation and mitigate risks at the product or enterprise level.
Stephanie’s recent engagements include litigation over the scope of a multi-billion dollar facilities use contract; class action defense of distance learning programs; defense of fraud claims involving financial investments; insurance disputes for large corporate policyholders; pharmaceutical product liability defense; contract disputes involving global and small businesses; and the defense of non-competition, trademark and copyright litigation. At trial, she is adept at presenting technical issues to judges and juries, bringing to bear her advanced training in statistical analysis and scientific research. Whether as trial counsel, national coordinating counsel, regional counsel, or as a member of a "virtual firm" created to address specific client problems, Stephanie focuses on framing effective legal strategies and achieving results that serve her client's business goals.
Stephanie and the Firm were profiled for the "unique quality of their work" in the November 2014 Chicago Lawyer cover article, "Work at a Very High Level." US Business News selected Stephanie as the Best Commercial Dispute Litigator-Illinois and also selected Scharf Banks Marmor as Best Women-Owned Corporate Law Firm-USA.
A frequent author and CLE speaker, Stephanie created and is the lead editor of Product Liability Litigation: Current Law Strategies and Best Practices, 2d Edition. Practising Law Institute (PLI), 2021. She has been named a Leading Lawyer and Best Lawyer, was granted the PLAC President's Award, and was selected by Lawdragon Magazine as one of the "500 Leading Litigators in America." She is "AV Preeminent" peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell, reflecting the highest peer recognition for both ethical standards and legal ability.
Stephanie has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences with a focus on social and organizational psychology as well as statistical analysis of large data sets. Before practicing law, she managed large national data-driven initiatives in the areas of health and employment.
Stephanie is one of the nation's leading lawyers for the advancement of women in the profession. She was Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession (2017-2020). She also co-chairs the ABA Presidential Initiative, Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law; and is a member of the Advisory Board of DirectWomen; and a former President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (2004- 2005). She was Special Advisor to the 2015-2016 American Bar Association's Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.
Stephanie frequently combines her skills in data analytics to create cutting edge research on issues of diversity and inclusion. Her most recent report (with co-author Roberta Liebenberg) is Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward. She has also written other innovative reports including Walking Out the Door: The Fact, Figures and Future of Experienced Women in Private Practice (with co-author Roberta Liebenberg). This innovative study received national attention for its multidimensional perspectives of women, men and managing partners about the status, impediments, and avenues for change to create greater gender diversity at senior levels. Stephanie also founded and conducted the NAWL Annual Survey of Women in Law Firms (2006-2014); the National Survey of Women's Initiatives (2012); and the first-ever survey of women as lead counsel in litigation, First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table (2015). She has designed unique and lasting programs, such as the NAWL General Counsel Institute, the NAWL Supreme Court Committee, and the NAWL Summit for Best Practices for Advancing Women in Law.
Stephanie has received many awards in recognition of her work advancing women in the law including: The Chicago Lawyer/Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Salute! Women in the Law Award (2020); the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law Inspiration Award (2020); The Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Myra Bradwell Award (2018); the National Association of Women Lawyers Public Service Award (2017); the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women Founder’s Award (2015); the National Law Journal Two Steps Forward Award (2014); the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Member Award (2002). She was named by Crain’s Chicago 2017 as one of the 50 most influential women lawyers in Chicago.