Laura McNally has particular skill in distilling complicated cases into simple themes that lead to seemingly obvious conclusions. Whether the audience is the court, a jury, an arbitration panel, an appellate court or a mediator, Laura’s analytical approach and genuine presentation style are key factors in her clients’ success.
Laura has successfully tried complex commercial cases in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitration. Her cases have included issues of defamation, contract, fraud, trade dress, trade secrets, insurance coverage, and fiduciary obligations. She has represented leading retailers and consumer product manufacturers on issues relating to consumer protection, defamation, and antitrust issues, and she has been quoted in the National Law Journal and Bloomberg News. In addition, she has filed amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Litigation Center, and the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board relating to issues affecting the retail and consumer products industry.
At times, the most important advocacy a lawyer can perform is in the context of settlement discussions. This work requires an additional set of skills beyond those called on in the courtroom. Laura has strengths in quickly identifying opponents’ motivations and concerns and then presenting settlement options in the manner best framed to reach resolution in her clients’ favor. She is a frequent speaker on mediation advocacy, including at the Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference, and she has settled cases ranging from small commercial disputes to mass torts involving hundreds of parties to class actions filed against major international retailers.
Laura serves as a pro bono mediator in the Circuit Court of Cook County and at the Center for Conflict Resolution. She has also represented many clients on a pro bono basis in criminal appeals and civil rights matters, including the first case to establish AIDS-related disability discrimination before the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights. Laura serves as the Chicago chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.
- Tulane Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
Tulane Law Review
- Northwestern University, B.A.
- U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Judge F.A. Little, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
- Recipient of the Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2021-2023)
- Named Legal Aid Chicago’s Hibbler Federal Court Pro Se Help Desk Volunteer of the Year (2020)
- Named among “Top Lawyers in Illinois” in Commercial Litigation by the Leading Lawyers Network (2012-2019)
- Named "Illinois Super Lawyer" in Business Litigation by Thomson Reuters (2005-2013, 2018-2023)
- Hearing Board Member, Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC)
- Faculty Member, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA)
- Mediator, Center for Conflict Resolution and Circuit Court of Cook County
- Treasurer, Seventh Circuit Bar Association
- Associate Editor, The Circuit Rider, The Journal for the Seventh Circuit Bar Association
- Trustee, Seventh Circuit Bar Foundation
- Member, Northern District of Illinois Court Historical Association
- Member, Association for Conflict Resolution
- Member, Appellate Lawyers Association
- Vice-chair of the Board, Recovery on Water (rowing team for breast cancer survivors and patients)