Stephanie A. Scharf

Stephanie A. Scharf

"We are experienced, determined and committed. We work together to prove our value every day to our clients and to each other."


Stephanie A. Scharf is one of America’s preeminent attorneys and is the founder of Scharf Banks Marmor LLC.  Over the course of her extraordinary career, Stephanie has developed a global reputation both as a courtroom advocate and as a sophisticated counselor addressing her clients’ most intractable and mission critical problems. Stephanie has tried civil and criminal jury and bench trials, has managed pre-trial, trial and appellate phases of litigation, and has advised clients on litigation avoidance and risk mitigation at the enterprise level. Her broad substantive experience includes the litigation of complex commercial disputes, class action defense, product liability and mass tort defense, insurance coverage for corporate policy holders, and employment litigation.

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 doctoral 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.

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 and the Firm were profiled for the “unique quality of their work” in the Chicago Lawyer cover article, “Work at a Very High Level.”

In addition to her highly visible legal practice, Stephanie has long been one of the nation’s leading lawyers promoting the advancement of women in the profession. She was Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession (2017-2020). She 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; and co-chaired the ABA Presidential Initiative, Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law. Beyond her legal training, Stephanie also earned a Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences with a focus on social and organizational psychology and statistical analysis of large data sets. Before practicing law, she managed large national data-driven initiatives in the areas of health and employment.

Stephanie frequently combines her skills in data analytics to develop 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 composed other innovative reports and analyses, including Walking Out the Door: The Fact, Figures and Future of Experienced Women in Private Practice (with co-author Roberta Liebenberg). This important study received national attention for its multidimensional perspectives on the status of women, men and managing partners in legal environments, 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 a number of 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. US Business News has selected Stephanie as the Best Commercial Dispute Litigator-Illinois, and also selected Scharf Banks Marmor as Best Women-Owned Corporate Law Firm-USA.


Commercial Cases and Appeals

  • Represented the City of Chicago in a multibillion dollar claim for injunctive relief filed by American Airlines and United Airlines to stop the O’Hare Modernization Program, the largest civil construction program in the United States. After expedited motion practice and discovery, the litigation was successfully resolved, and the Program is proceeding to completion American Airlines, et al. v. City of Chicago, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
  • Represented financial services clients in successfully defeating claims for securities fraud, breach of contract, and class action claims over performance of an investment fund.  Dismissal of all claims by the District Court was affirmed in the Seventh Circuit.  Wu v. Prudential Fin., Inc., 651 Fed. Appx. 549 (7th Cir. 2016).
  • Won multiple trial and appellate decisions in favor of the Cook County Sheriff who was sued by former Sheriff’s officers seeking to invalidate their terminations for misconduct on the ground that they were disciplined by an improperly constituted administrative agency. Successfully developed application of the de facto officer doctrine for several appellate and trial level decisions including  Lopez v. Dart et al., 2018 IL App (1st) 17-1773; Cruz v. Dart et al., 2018 IL App (1st) 170915; and Acevedo v. Cook Cty. Sheriff’s Merit Bd, 2019 IL App (1st) 181128.
  • Represented food manufacturer against claims of fraud and misuse of trademarks and trade names for a consumer food product. After motion practice, the case was dismissed by the trial court, with the dismissal affirmed on appeal by the Seventh Circuit. Hunter v. PepsiCo, Inc., 631 Fed. Appx. 445 (7th Cir. Ill. Nov. 6, 2015).
  • Represented manufacturer/importer in a royalties and merger contract dispute, involving the importing and sale of products from China.  Successfully resolved through mediation conducted under auspices of the court. CCG v. Rubbermaid Commercial Products et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Represented global pharmaceutical company in federal trial of employment discrimination/off-brand marketing issues, resulting in defense verdict on all claims.  Brevoort v. Reliant Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Represented an online education business in obtaining a successful dismissal of class-action, consumer fraud, and breach of contract claims, brought by former Institute students. The case involved allegations that the defendant deceptively marketed a continuing education program. Obtained a dismissal in the trial court before a class was certified, with the result affirmed on appeal by the Illinois Appellate Court.  Deweese v. Stratford Career Institute Inc., 2014 IL App (1st) 140074.
  • Represented global company sued under TCPA for alleged improper sending of invitations to educational seminar. Case dismissed after early briefing and fact-finding. North Suburban Chiropractic Clinic, Ltd. v. Merck & Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130885 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 13, 2013).
  • Represented manufacturer in commercial dispute over liability for thousands of underlying tort claims recently arising out of the operation of a business that was acquired and later resold through a series of corporate mergers and transactions.  Successful no liability judgment for client, affirmed on appeal. Fisher Controls Int’l, L.L.C. v. Pharmacia Corp., 2008 Iowa App. LEXIS 109 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2008).
  • Represented pharmaceutical manufacturer in multi-national dispute over commercial supply of contaminated pharmaceuticals. The matter involved litigation in the U.S. against the chemical company supplier and additional claims made by client corporate customers in Japan, Great Britain and other countries. A series of confidential dispute resolutions in the U.S. and Japan resulted in (a) making the client’s customers whole, and (b) recovery from the supplier.
  • Represented market-leading composite photography company in action filed under the Illinois Trade Secrets Act, for tortious interference and violation of non-competition agreement. Successfully resolved on the eve of preliminary injunction hearing. Digital Pix and Composites LLC v. Vantine Imaging, LLC, Circuit Court of Kane County, Illinois.
  • Represented defendant in Qui Tam action alleging fraudulent claims for payment of a specialty prescription medication. A motion to dismiss was granted, disposing of all claims against client. United States ex rel. McDermott v. Genentech, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90586 (D. Maine., Dec. 14, 2006)

Insurance Cases and Appeals

  • Represented manufacturer at trial for coverage of ongoing asbestos bodily injury claims, in dispute between client and multiple excess and umbrella liability insurers. Coverage disputes with various liability insurers were resolved before or during trial; disputes with several other insurers are ongoing. John Crane v. Admiral Insurance Co. et al., Circuit Court of Cook County.
  • Trial and appellate counsel representing a manufacturer of the anti-miscarriage drug, diethylstilbestrol. Resulted in coverage of defense costs and indemnities for over 1500 diethylstilbestrol personal injury cases, in a trial result affirmed by the California Supreme Court in the first decision by the Court regarding lost insurance policies. Dart Industries v. Commercial Union Ins Co.. California Supreme Court.
  • Represented manufacturer in commercial insurance disputes over hurricane damage. Obtained a declaratory judgment that a windstorm exclusion did not apply to the insured’s business interruption losses and the court awarded full coverage for the losses. Stryker Corp. v. National Insurance Co., U.S. Federal Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
  • Represented manufacturer in insurance disputes filed in Michigan and Illinois over coverage of an Illinois jury’s award of $124 million in punitive damages involving use of a prescription pharmaceutical, obtaining judgment covering both punitive and compensatory damages.  Upjohn v. Aetna, et al., Michigan Court of Appeals; Gibraltar Casualty Co. v. Upjohn, Illinois Appellate Court.
  • Represented Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois in defending various breach of contract and ERISA claims for health insurance benefits to cover treatment of mental and physical illnesses. Cases held in Illinois federal and state courts, and were resolved pre-trial.

Product Liability and Mass Tort Cases

  • Represented the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) as amicus before the Illinois Supreme Court, supporting a successful challenge to an unprecedented $10.1 billion consumer fraud judgment. Price v. Philip Morris, Inc., 2015 IL 117687.
  • Lead science counsel for chemical company client in development medical defenses to personal injury claims arising from purported ground water contamination by volatile organic chemicals. Personal injury claims were eventually resolved and dismissed before extensive discovery. In re Alleged Environmental Contamination of Pompton Lakes, Superior Court of New Jersey.
  • Represented a chemical manufacturer in toxic tort actions alleging that emissions from an industrial site caused brain cancer, wrongful death and other serious personal injuries to children living around the site. The case involved a number of community actions and government investigations. After conducting expert discovery, obtained a highly favorable settlement and dismissal of all claims.   Victor, et al. v. Keil Chemical, United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
  • Regional counsel/trial counsel in defense of multiple personal injury cases involving first-in-class treatment for diabetes.
  • Focus on developing scientific defenses under Frye/Daubert criteria, depending on jurisdiction. Cases filed in state and federal courts throughout Illinois.
  • Represented manufacturer of a medical device based on biotechnology in personal injury action, Northern District of Illinois. Heisner v. Genzyme Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37322 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 30, 2009).
  • National Coordinating Counsel for Pfizer Inc. defending claims that thimerosal-based childhood vaccines caused autism and other neurological illnesses. Developed and implemented successful strategy for early disposition of over 60 cases filled nationally in state and federal courts, avoiding expensive and extended fact and expert discovery.
  • Lead defense counsel in over 100 pharmaceutical or device actions, involving serious illnesses and/or death, with expert defenses from multiple fields of medicine, psychiatry, epidemiology, and toxicology. Cases filed in state and federal courts throughout Illinois.
  • Lead Science Counsel in multiple product liability and toxic tort engagements in different state jurisdictions. Some matters involved developing a package of science-based defenses in advance of anticipated litigation. Other matters involved developing scientific expert defenses for ongoing litigation and in coordination with firms playing different litigation roles in defending a mass tort or consumer fraud claims.
  • Represented manufacturer of a commercial pesticide against product liability claims for failure to warn about the personal injury risks of exposure. Successfully moved to transfer claims from Chicago to the venue where plaintiff’s farm was located, on grounds of forum non conveniens. Dispute with plaintiff was resolved and claims against client were dismissed with  prejudice shortly after venue transfer.
  • Represented a global pharmaceutical company against failure- to-warn product liability claims in a wrongful death action in Illinois. The matter was resolved using early case assessment. Philipps v. The University of Chicago Hospitals et al., Circuit Court of Cook County.


Professional Activities


American Bar Association:

  • Chair, Commission on Women in the Profession, 2017-2020; Member, Governing Council, Fund for Justice and Education, 2020-2021; Co-Chair, Presidential Initiative on Long-term Careers for Women in the Law, 2017-2019; Special Advisor, Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360, 2015-2016;  Commissioner, Commission on Women in the Profession, 2012-2015; Task Force on Gender Equality, Co-Chair Compensation Committee, 2012-2014.
  • Fund for Justice and Education: Member, Advisory Council, 2020-2021.
  • Products Liability Committee: Co-Chair, 2005-2007; Co-Chair, Subcommittee on Experts, 1997- 2004; Co-Chair, 2000 Mid-Year Meeting; Co-Chair, National Institute on E-Commerce, Fall 2000; Co-Chair, Regional Institute on Preparing the Expert Case, May,1999; Co-Editor, Product Liability National Newsletter, 1997-2000; Co-Chair, Women in Products Liability Regional Institute, Fall 2000 and  Fall 2001.
  • Mass Torts Committee: Editor, Mass Torts Newsletter, 2001.
  • Presidential Committee on Bioethics and the Law, Member, 2005-2006.

DirectWomen: Board Member, 2014-present.

National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL): President, 2004-2005; Member, Board of Directors, 2000-2008; Founding Chair, Committee for Evaluation of Supreme Court Nominees, 2005- 2006; Founding Chair, Survey of Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, 2006-2015. Public Service Award, 2017; Outstanding Member Award, 2002.

NAWL Foundation: Founding President & Board Member, 2009-2014.  Organized structure, strategic plan and fundraising. Designed, analyzed and reported on multiple studies of how lawyers advance in the legal profession.

Chicago Bar Foundation: Member, Board of Directors, 2013-2016.

Illinois Bar Foundation: Member, Board of Directors, 2005-2007.

PLAC (formerly Product Liability Advisory Council): Sustaining Member, 1999-Present; Case Selection Committee, 2005-2016.

National Institute for Trial Advocacy: Faculty Instructor, 1992-1995.


  • The Economic Club of Chicago: Member, 2006-present.
  • The Youth Campus: Member, Board of Directors, 2000-2009.
  • Museum of Science and Industry: Member, President’s Council, 2001-2005.
  • Chicago YWCA – Leadership Circle Board Member, 2001.
  • Circuit Court of Cook County: Chief Judge’s Public Guardian Committee, 1997-2000; Chair, Best Interest of the Child Sub- Committee, 1995-1996.
  • Chicago Senior Businesswomen’s Forum: Steering Committee, 1996-2000.

Publishing & Speaking

Publications:  Legal Issues

  • S. Scharf, G. Sax and S. Marmor (eds.),  Product Liability Litigation: Current Law, Strategies and Best Practices, 3rd Edition. Practising Law Institute (PLI), 2023.
  • S. Scharf, G. Sax and S. Marmor (eds.),  Product Liability Litigation: Current Law, Strategies and Best Practices, 2nd Edition. Practising Law Institute (PLI), 2021.
  • S. Scharf, G. Sax, S. Marmor, and M. Churma, “Expert Evidence — Law, Strategies and Best Practices.”  Product Liability Litigation: Current Law Strategies and Best Practices, 2d Edition. Practising Law Institute (PLI), 2021.
  • “Update on the Law: Illinois Imposes Strict Liability for Sexual Harassment by Any Supervisor.” Client Alert, April 2009.
  • “FDA Proposes Revised CBE Rules and Reiterates Preemptive Authority,” FDLI’s UPDATE, Issue 2, March/April 2008.
  • “Punitive Damages in the Supreme Court: How Much is Too Much?” FDLI’s UPDATE, Issue 3, May/June 2007.
  • “Foreign Plaintiffs Battle to Keep Class Claims in U.S. Courts,” Co-Author, FDLI’s UPDATE, Issue 1, January/February 2007.
  • “New Rulings in Drug Cases Highlight Debate Over Preemption,”, October 2006.
  • “FDA’s Comments Herald New Strength for Preemption Defense in Drug Product Litigation,” Co-Author, FDLI’s UPDATE, Issue 5, September/October 2006.
  • “The Use of Toxicology in Tort Litigation: A Survey of Federal and State Jurisdictions,” Editor, American Bar Association, May 2005.
  • “FDA Issues Final Guidances for Pharmaceutical Risk Assessment and Risk Management,” Jenner & Block Client Alert, March 2005.
  • “A Business Approach to Minimizing Product Liability Litigation,” Minimizing Product Liability Litigation (Aspatore Books), 2005.
  • “Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices,” presented at TechLaw Group, Inc. International CLE Session, April 2004.
  • “The Evidentiary Impact of Regulatory Action on Product Litigation in the United States,” Product Liability Advisory Council, March 2004.
  • “The Use of Epidemiology in Tort Litigation: A Survey of Federal and State Jurisdictions,” Editor, American Bar Association, July 2003.
  • “Secondary Evidence Need Not Recreate Language of Missing Insurance Policy, California Supreme Court Rules,” Jenner & Block Insurance Newsletter, 2003.
  • “Marketing Pharmaceutical Products on the Internet: Managing Risks and Limiting Liabilities in the World of E-Commerce,” Products Liability, American Bar Association, Vol. 12, No.2, 2001.
  • “Communications Specialists Help With Damage Control,” U.S. Business Litigation Magazine, February 1997.

Publications: Diversity Issues

  • “Family or Career? The Challenges and Solutions to Parenting in the Legal Profession,” Stephanie Scharf and Paulette Brown, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, October 17, 2023.
  • “Legal Careers of Parents and Child Caregivers: Results and Best Practices from a National Study of the Legal Profession,” Stephanie Scharf, Roberta Liebenberg, and Paulette Brown. American Bar Association, October 2023.
  • “Where Does The Legal Profession Go From Here? Lawyers Tell Us How and Where They Want To Work.” Stephanie Scharf and Roberta Liebenberg, American Bar Association, September 2022.
  • “Numbers Don’t Lie,” Highlighted interview in 2022 Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, January 28, 2022.
  • “Hybrid Work Policies – Key to the Recruitment, Retention of Women and Lawyers of Color,” Roberta D. Liebenberg, Paulette Brown and Stephanie A. Scharf,, October 25, 2021.
  • “Hybrid Work Models Are Key To Gender Parity in Law Firms,” Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf, Law360, July 2021.
  • “Law Firm Talent Must Reflect Shifting US Demographics,” Stephanie A. Scharf and Roberta D. Liebenberg, Law360, June 2021.
  • “Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward,” Stephanie A. Scharf and Roberta D. Liebenberg, American Bar Association, April 2021.
  • “Working Mothers Need a ‘New Deal’ to Survive the ‘New Normal,” Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf,, April 2021.
  • “Five Ways Firms Can Avoid Female Attorney Exodus During the Pandemic,” Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf,  Law360, October 2020.
  • “Law Firms Must Note Pandemic’s Outsize Impact on Women,” Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf, Law 360, July 2020.
  • “Walking Out the Door – The Facts, Figures and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice,” Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf, published jointly by the American Bar Association and American Lawyer Media Intelligence, November 2019.
  • “Looking Out for Women in the Workplace,” Stephanie A. Scharf, Interview with Start TV, November 2018.
  • “The Power of Partnering,” Stephanie Scharf, N. Nate Saint Victor and Antonio C. Castro.  NAMWOLF, December 2016.
  • “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table,” Stephanie A. Scharf and Roberta D. Liebenberg, American Bar Association,  July 2015.
  • “NAWL Annual Survey of Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms,” Authored or co-authored each annual report from 2006-2014. National Association of Women Lawyers, 2006-2014.
  • “The Strategy, Structure and Scope of Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms,” NAWL Foundation, 2012.
  • “Power of the Purse; How General Counsel Can Impact Pay Equity for Women Lawyers,” Lauren Rikleen, Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf, American Bar Association, 2012.

Speaking Engagements: Legal Issues

  • “Law Firm Leaders Panel Discussion”, SCG Legal, San Francisco, CA, September 24, 2022.
  • “Law Firm Leaders Panel Discussion” SCG Legal, Berlin, Germany, May 12, 2023.
  • “Finding the Story Between the Lines,” Annual Conference: Legal Technology Discussion about uses of technology and AI to frame presentations at trial, New York, NY, March 22, 2023.
  • “PLAC 2019 Fall Conference,” PLAC, Chicago, IL, October 2-4, 2019.
  • “Mock Trial Opening Statement,” ABA Section of Litigation, New York, NY, May 2019.
  • “What Every In-house Lawyer Needs to Know About Compliance,” Walmart Conference, Bentonville, AR, January 31, 2017.
  • “Alternative Fee Arrangements,” NAMWOLF 2016 Annual Meeting, Houston, TX, September 14-17, 2016.
  • “Religious Liberty in the United States and Israel” (Moderator), Jewish Lawyers Conference, Chicago, Illinois, May 2016.
  • “Jury Selection: How to Find the Needle in the Haystack,” DRI Women in the Law Seminar, Miami, Florida, March 2013.
  • “Update on the Law of Expert Evidence,” Practicing Law Institute’s Federal Civil Update, Chicago, Illinois, October 2012.
  • “Unconscious Bias in Jury Selection,” Product Liability Advisory Council 2012 Spring Conference, Asheville, North Carolina, April 2012.
  • “Update on the Law of Expert Evidence,” Practicing Law Institute’s Federal Civil Update, Chicago, Illinois, October 2011.
  • “Changing Demographics of Jury Pools”, Product Liability Advisory Council Fall Conference, October 2009.
  • “Best Practices for Managing the Risks of Nanotech Medical Products,” Food and Drug Law Institute’s First Annual Conference on Nanotechnology Law, Regulation and Policy, February 2008.
  • “Risk Management Strategies for Prescription Medical Products,” Central Business Intelligence, December 2007.
  • “Post Sale Duty to Warn, Recall, and Retrofit: Prescription Devices and Pharmaceuticals,” American Bar Association, August 2007.
  • “Appellate Advocacy in Illinois: Best Practices for Written and Oral Argument,” National Association of Women Lawyers, July 2007.
  • “Drug/Device Co-Development: Litigation Risk Management Strategies,” 50th Annual FDLI and FDA Conference, April 2007.
  • “Hone Your Skills: Negotiate!” University of Chicago Women’s Business Group, October 2006.
  • “Post-Marketing Event Reports and Clinical Trial Data: Potential Uses and Abuses in Litigation,” American Conference Institute, June 2006.
  • “Psychology of Expert Testimony,” Product Liability Advisory Council, April 2006.
  • “Assess the Current Regulatory Environment for Risk/Benefit Communication,” The Center for Business Intelligence, November 2005.
  • “Damage Control: Corporate Counsel’s Role in Containing and Resolving Corporate Crises,” Lexis/Nexis Counsel to Counsel Seminar, May 2005.
  • “Risk Assessment and Risk Management Before the Product Launch,” Food and Drug Law Institute, January 2005.
  • “Consumer Fraud Litigation in Illinois,” Product Liability Advisory Council, October 2004.
  • “Consumer Fraud Litigation: Law and Defenses in Illinois,” Product Liability Advisory Council, September 2004.
  • “Risk Analysis and Resource Allocation: The Art of Managing Costs,” Corporate Legal Times Super Conference, June 2004.
  • “Post Sale Responsibilities: Impact of Agency Activities on Product Litigation,” Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC), April 2004.
  • “Our Federalism: Court Problems and Potential Solutions in Multi-District Litigation,” Class Actions and Consolidated Mass Tort Litigation, American Bar Association Joint Seminar of the Environmental Products Liability & Mass Torts Litigation Committees, March 2004.
  • “Mealey’s Fundamentals of Insurance Coverage Law Conference,” October 2003.
  • “Mealey’s Trial Preparation Skills for Paralegals,” April 2003.
  • “Evolving Asbestos Coverage Issues in an Era of Exponential Growth in the Number of Defendants,” Mealey’s Advanced Insurance Coverage Conference: Top 10 Issues for Practitioners, January 2003.
  • “Class Action Defense, Chicago Bar Association Class Litigation Committee,” October 2002.
  • “Post-Sale Duties to Warn, Recall and Retrofit: A Midwest Survey: Manufacturers Face Differing Duties in the Midwest,” American Bar Association, March 2002.
  • “Use of Foreign Experts and Foreign Studies,” American Bar Association Products Liability Committee Annual Meeting, March 2002.
  • “Marketing Products on the Internet: Managing Risks, Limiting Liabilities and Litigating Disputes,” Co-Chair, American Bar Association National Institute, September 2000.
  • “Identifying and Managing Risks of Product Liability Litigation from Internet Sales,” Hackers-Spammers-Cyber-Squatters- Business Torts on the Electronic Frontier, American Bar Association Annual Meeting, July 2000.
  • “Product Issues and New Solutions,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation/Products Liability Committee Midyear Meeting, February 2000.
  • “After Kumho Tire: The Court as the Gatekeeper of Expert Testimony,” Deloitte & Touche Annual Meeting, September 1999.
  • “After Kumho Tire: The Court as the Gatekeeper of Expert Testimony,” Deloitte & Touche National Consulting Conference, Chicago, Illinois, August 26, 1999.
  • “Crisis Management,” Joint ACCA/Chicago Bar Association Seminar, April 1999.
  • “The Court as the Gatekeeper of Expert Evidence,” Chair, American Bar Association Regional Institute, May 1999.
  • “The Media and Products Litigation,” For The Defense Magazine, Defense Research Institute, October 1996.
  • “Immigration Reform and the Federal Law of Employment Discrimination,” The New Simpson-Rodino Immigration Law of 1986 (S. Mailman, ed.), pp.202-223, Prentice Hall, New York, 1986.

Speaking Engagements: Diversity Issues

  • “Family or Career? The Challenges and Solutions to Parenting in the Legal Profession,” Stephanie Scharf and Paulette Brown, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, October 17, 2023.
  • “Parenting and Legal Careers: What Do We Know and What Are Next Steps?” Fordham University Women, co-speakers Roberta Liebenberg and Paulette Brown, Webinar, October 13, 2023.
  • “Gender in the Legal Profession: Where Do We Stand and What’s Next?” 2023 Federal Practice Institute hosted by U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, Concord, NH, Co-speaker Kelly McNamara Corley, September 29, 2023.
  • “The Impact of Parenting on Legal Careers,” SCG Legal Annual Conference, New Orleans, September 21, 2023.
  • “Women, Motherhood and Careers in the Law,” presentation to ABA TIPS Women’s Affinity Group, Webinar, August 21, 2023.
  • “Is There a Penalty? Parenthood and Child Caregiving and its Impact on Gender Equality in the Legal Profession,” ABA Annual Meeting, Co-panelist with Roberta Liebenberg, Paulette Brown and ABA Commission on Women members, August 5, 2023.
  • Chair, DirectWomen International Conference for Women Lawyers, “Unlocking the Secrets of International Board Opportunities”, London, June 29, 2023.
  • “Taking Charge of Your Career,” Workshop presentation to Women’s Forum, PLAC, Chicago, IL, April 26, 2023.
  • “The Power of Partnering,” hosted by Toyota, Webinar, February 28, 2023.
  • “Female Leadership in the Legal Profession,” Keynote Speaker, Northwestern Law Women’s Leadership Coalition (WLC), February 3, 2022.
  • “The New She/Cession,” Berkeley Research Group (BRG), Webinar, November 17, 2021.
  • “The $250,000 Difference: What Does Gender Have to Do With It?,” Illinois State Bar Association, Webinar, November 12, 2021.
  • “Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward,” Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, Hersey, PA, November 5, 2021,
  • “Practicing in the Pandemic: What We’re Learned and Strategies as We Move Forward,” Westlaw, Webinar with co-speaker Roberta D. Liebenberg, November 4, 2021.
  • “Post-Pandemic Workplace: The Challenges Faced by Women,” Illinois State Bar Association, Webinar with co-speakers Paulette Brown, Tiffany R. Harper and Lea Gutierrez, October 22, 2021.
  • “A Discussion on Self-Advocacy,” Lawline DEI Summit 2, with co-speakers JoAnne Epps and Roberta Liebenberg, Webinar, October 25, 2021.
  • “Women in Law,” Career Development Workshop, Defense Research Institute, Boston, MA, with Paulette Brown, October 13, 2021.
  • “Practice Forward for Law Students,” University of Miami, with Roberta D. Liebenberg, Webinar, October 7, 2021.
  • “A Presentation on the Impact of the Pandemic on Women Globally, in the United States, and in the Legal Industry,” Kutak Rock LLP, Webinar, October 6, 2021.
  • “Covid-19 and the Impact of Diversity and Inclusion in the Practice of Law, Webinar with co-speakers Roberta D. Liebenberg, Cyndie Chang and Fatima Goss Graves, September 30, 2021.
  • “Women in Employment Law,” NAWL webinar, “Preventing Burnout and Stress,” AHN, Webinar with co-speakers Paula Davis-Laack and Roberta D. Liebenberg, September 28, 2021.
  • “Law Firm Leaders Panel,” SCG Legal, San Francisco, CA, September 24, 2021.
  • “Women of Color in the Law,” Practicising Law Institute (PLI) – Women Lawyers Leadership 2021, Webinar, September 23, 2021.
  • “Mothers in the Law: Confronting the Challenges and Celebrating the Victories,” American Bar Association Commission on Women, Webinar, September 22, 2021.
  • “Tips for Making the Transition Back to the Office Less Stressful,” SCG Legal, Webinar, August 4, 2021.
  • “Motherhood and Caregiving Bias in the Legal Profession: Dismantling the Systemic Barriers to Entry,” ABA Commission on Women, Webinar, July 28, 2021.
  • “Chancellor’s Forum COVID-19’s Impact on the Legal Profession,” Philadelphia Bar Association, Webinar, June 14, 2021.
  • Co-Chair, ABA World Forum for Women in the Law: “Women, Power and Disrupting the Status Quo,” January 27-29, 2021.
  • “Fireside Chat on Legal Practice: What Will Change and What Will Be the Same,” SCG Legal (For the Americas), Webinar, December 9, 2020.
  • “Fireside Chat on Legal Practice: What Will Change and What Will Be the Same,” SCG Legal (For Europe), Webinar, December 1, 2020.
  • “A Conversation for Women Law and Their Firms Foundation for Success Now and Moving Forward,” SCG Legal, Webinar, with Roberta D. Liebenberg and Lisa A. Borsook, November 18, 2020.
  • “The New Normal of Global Corporate Board Membership,”  DirectWomen, Webcast, November 17, 2020.
  •  “Report on the Progress of Women in the Law” NAWL General Counsel Institute, Webcast, November 12, 2020.
  •  “Women in the Law: What New Research Tells Us About Achieving Meaningful Gender Diversity,” With Roberta D. Liebenberg and Pauletta Brown, November 10, 2020.
  • “Alliance for Women Speaking Initiative,” Chicago Bar Association, Webinar, October 27, 2020.
  • “The Pandemic and Women in the Law Planning for Success as We Move Forward,” Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A., Webinar, with Roberta D. Liebenberg and Pauletta Brown, October 22, 2020.
  • “The Pandemic’s Outsize Impact on Women: Keeping Your Career On Track During Unprecedented Times,” The Catholic University of America, Webinar, with Roberta D. Liebenberg and Paulette Brown, October 7, 2020.
  • “The Pandemic’s Outsize Impact on Women: Keeping Your Career On Track During Unprecedented Times,” Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, Webinar, with Roberta D. Liebenberg and Paulette Brown, October 6, 2020.
  • “The Pandemic’s Outsize Impact on Women: Keeping Your Career On Track During Unprecedented Times,” National Association of Women Lawyers, Webinar, with Roberta D. Liebenberg, September 30, 2020.
  • “Current Status of Women in the Legal Profession,” 2nd Circuit Conference on Women in the Law, New York, NY, Webinar, September 25, 2020.
  • “Where Are We Now and Where Do We Go from Here?” NCWBA, Chicago, IL, Webinar, with Roberta D. Liebenberg,July 31, 2020.
  •  “How to Maintain Inclusivity for Law Firms in a Remote Environment,”  LawLine, New York, NY, with Roberta Liebenberg and Paulette Brown, July 17, 2020.
  • “Making a Short Story Longer: Strategies for Building Legal Careers for Women,” Webcast, American Law Institute, June 18, 2020.
  • “Study Women and the Business of Law,” New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey, Webcast, May 15, 2020.
  • “Law Firm Gender Gap,” ALM, Webcast, Chicago, IL, March 6, 2020.
  • “Walking Out the Door: Why Are Women More Likely Than Men to Leave Law?” Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast, December 19, 2019.
  • “2nd Annual Women in Law Conference,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Chicago, IL, December 5, 2019.
  • “We May Have Come a Long Way Baby…But Miles To Go,” ABA Woman in Litigation, Chicago, IL, November 14, 2019.
  • “Long Term Careers for Women in the Law:  What Do We Know and What Can We Do About?” Federal Bar Association of the Southern District of Texas, Houston, TX, September 17, 2019.
  • “This Talk Isn’t Cheap: Women of Color & White Women Attorneys Find Common Ground,”  American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, New York, NY, With Paulette Brown, Aracely Munoz Petrich, Lauren Goldberg, September 12, 2019.
  • “Growth Mindset: Resilience, Grit and Risk-Taking,”  Pfizer Leadership Summit on Women in the Law, New York, NY, May 8, 2019.
  • “Breaking into the Boardroom: The Pathways and the Process,” DirectWomen, Chicago, IL, April 2019.
  •  “Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law: Results of New Research,” Women’s Power Summit on Law & Leadership/Center for Women in Law at The University of Texas,  Austin, TX, April 2019.
  • “ABA Initiative on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law,” Shearman & Sterling, New York, NY, February 2019.
  • “Law Firm Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion,” George Mason University/Antonin Scalia Law School, Arlington, VA, November 2018.
  • “Our Greatest Resource: Each Other,” Crew Lehigh Valley 2018 Annual Legacy Event, Bethlehem, PA, October 2018.
  • “Bias 2018, Workplace Harassment – You’ve Read About This in the News?…#MeToo,” McDonald’s, Chicago, IL, September 2018.
  • “Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law,” American Bar Association, Chicago IL, June 2018.
  • “Gender Diversity and the Legal Profession,” Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, NY, June 2018.
  • “A Current Glance at Women in Law,” ABA Section of International Law Annual Conference, New York, NY, April 2018.
  • “George Boyer Vashon Lecture,” Duane Morris LLP, Philadelphia, PA, April 2018.
  • “May It Please the Court,” Symposium at the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, April 2018.
  • “ABA Presidential Initiative/Commission on Women Research Project Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women Lawyers of Color,” ABA, Chicago, IL, March 2018.
  • “Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law,” Women, Influence, and Power in the Law Conference, Washington, D.C., October 2017.
  • “Women Lawyers in the Courtroom,” Boston, MA, June 7, 2017.
  • “Addressing Gender Bias and Advancement and Retention of Women in Law Firms, the Profession, and the Courts,” New Jersey State Bar Association, Atlantic City, NJ, May 17, 2017.
  • “Surveys on Women Lawyers as Lead Counsel and Trial Counsel in Complex Litigation,” Center for Women in Law Conference, Houston, TX, February 23, 2017.
  • “First Chairs at Trial,” American Bar Association/Product Liability Committee, Philadelphia, PA, November 3, 2016.
  • “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table,” American Bar Association, Webinar, November 2016.
  • “How I Got My First Big Break!” Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, Chicago, IL, September 2016.
  • “First Chair at Trial,” National Association of Women Lawyers, New York, NY, July 12, 2016.
  • “Rainmakers: Born or Bred?,” Women Legal 2016, Chicago, IL, May 19, 2016.
  • “Women Lawyers in the Courtroom,” The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, IL, April 21, 2016.
  • “Legal Careers for Women,” Women’s Mentoring Program/University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, Illinois, April 7, 2016.
  • “You Hit Like a Girl: Overcoming the Challenge of Unconscious Bias.” American Bar Association/Section of Litigation, Chicago, Illinois, November 2015.
  • “Breaking into the Boardroom: The Pathways and The  Process,” DirectWomen, Chicago, Illinois, November 17, 2015.
  • “First Chairs at Trial More Women Need Seats at the Table,” Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, IL, October 8, 2015.
  • “Women as Leaders in Law: Where Are We Now,“ Phillip Corboy Law Center, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, IL, September 25, 2015.
  • “Women as Lead Counsel at Trial: What You Can Do to Take the Lead,” American Bar Association, Chicago, IL, August 1, 2015.
  • “Negotiating Scenarios for Women Lawyers,” Thompson Reuters Conference, Chicago, IL, May 28, 2015.
  • “Solutions and Best Practices for Diversity in the Legal Profession,” Diversity Summit/Missouri Bar Association, St. Louis, MO, May 20, 2015.
  • “Defining a Successful Women’s initiative,” National Association of Women Lawyers, West Point, NY, May 1, 2015.
  • “Negotiating Your Own Compensation: It’s Not About the Money,” American Bar Association, Chicago, IL, February 17, 2015.
  • “30 Women Blackstones,” ISBA, Chicago, Illinois, August 22, 2013.
  • “The Role of Women’s Initiatives in Advancing Women Lawyers,” National Association of Women Lawyers Webinar, April 2013.
  • “Capture Your Power: Your Role in Advancing Yourself and Other Women in the Legal Profession,” American Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois, March 2013.
  • “Breaking the Class Ceiling,” New York University School of Law Symposium, March 2013.
  • “Results of the First National Survey of Women’s Initiatives,” National Association of Women Lawyers Annual Meeting, New York, New York, July 2012.
  • “Flex Time Work Policies,” Walmart Conference, Bentonville, AR, June 2010.
  • “What Am I Worth? Attorney Compensation and Law Firm Billing in the New World Order,” Duff & Phelps CLE seminar, Chicago, Illinois, June 2010.
  • “What Should You Do? Lessons Learned and Lessons to Be Learned About Business Development,” Women Lawyers Alliance Inaugural Member Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, May 2010.
  • “Women in the Profession: Where We Were, Where We Are, Where We Should Be,” Ohio Women Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, Dayton, Ohio, May 2010.
  • “National Association of Women Lawyers Annual Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms,” American Bar Association on Women in the Profession, July 2009.
  • “Managing Diversity Expectations Between In-House and Outside Counsel,” Martindale-Hubbell and Lexis Nexis, Washington, DC, April 2009.
  • “Managing and Developing Your Legal Career,” ABA Women in Products Liability Ninth Annual Regional CLE Workshop, New York, New York, November 2008.
  • “Increasing the Use of Diverse Suppliers,” Westchester and Fairfield County ACCA Diversity Summit Conference, October 2008.
  • “Impact of Attrition on Women in Large Firms on Judicial Diversity and Judicial Independence,” National Association of Women Judges Mid-West Regional Conference, August 2008.
  • “Bridging the Gap: Disparity in Compensation and the Gender Equation,” Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association, March 2008.
  • “Negotiating Your Compensation and Severance,” Minority Corporate Council Association’s 7th Annual CLE Expo, March 2008
  • “2007 National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms,” National Conference of Women’s Bar Association, February 2008.

Practice Areas

  • Complex Litigation & Appeals
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Life Sciences
  • Pay Equity
  • Employment Counseling & Litigation


  • J.D., University of Chicago Law School
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • M.A., Stanford University
  • B.A., Rutgers University
  • Advanced Training in Clinical Trials Management, University of Chicago

Admissions and Qualifications

  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois, N.D. Indiana, W.D. Michigan

Prior Experience

  • Kirkland & Ellis, LLP - Associate, Partner (1985-1995)
  • Jenner & Block, LLP - Partner (1995-2007)
  • Schoeman, Updike, Kaufman & Scharf - Partner (2007-2012)