Lori Lightfoot is a trial attorney, investigator and risk manager. She has extensive experience in every facet of complex commercial litigation in areas ranging from breach of contract and business tort claims; franchisor/franchisee disputes; foreclosure actions and other real estate related litigation; and products liability actions. Lori also has litigated or otherwise resolved disputes concerning employment discrimination, particularly class actions or those involving senior executives. Lori regularly advises clients on avoidance of and preparation for potential litigation.
Lori also regularly advises clients on a range of complex criminal law issues stemming from federal, state or local grand jury investigations or investigations by federal, state or local inspectors general. These client engagements have included internal investigations, preparation of and defending witnesses in interviews with the investigative bodies, compliance with document subpoenas and litigation.
Lori also has direct experience in designing and implementing media and marketing strategies for clients.
Other experience includes advising on all facets of the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) rules and regulations as well as related state and local programs. Lori has served as an expert witness on these matters. She has advised clients on a variety of other matters such as internal compliance, risk management, corporate governance, procurement processes, disciplinary systems, ethics.
Both as a civil litigator and as Assistant US Attorney in the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois (1996–2002), Lori has tried over 20 federal and state jury and bench trials. She has also argued cases in state and federal appellate courts, and she has successfully conducted numerous internal investigations. In addition, Lori has considerable experience in instituting risk-management and compliance practices for municipal government departments, such as police, procurement services, emergency management, homeland security and 9-1-1 emergency call systems.
From 2002 to 2005, Lori worked with the City of Chicago as Interim First Deputy Procurement Officer, Department of Procurement Services (DPS); General Counsel and Chief of Staff, Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC); and Chief Administrator, Office of Professional Standards (OPS) of the Chicago Police Department. At OPS, Lori managed a 100-person office of civilian investigators charged with investigating police-involved shootings, allegations of excessive force and other misconduct alleged against Chicago police officers. She also coordinated joint investigations with state and federal criminal authorities and facilitated the implementation of new compliance and risk-management systems that included redesign of the disciplinary processes for sworn and civilian members, creation of a management intervention program for problem employees, and targeted tracking of litigation costs associated with complaints against department members.
During her service as Interim First Deputy Procurement Officer of the city’s Department of Procurement Services, Lori conducted an across-the-department reorganization and reform of DPS business practices. She was responsible for redesigning Chicago’s minority and women business enterprise program; streamlining the annual $2 billion procurement process; developing training curricula for internal and external use; and creating and implementing vendor and buyer accountability measures.
As Chief of Staff and General Counsel for Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, Lori oversaw the City’s 9-1-1 emergency and non-emergency call systems, emergency response operations, homeland security initiatives and related technologies. She also developed management accountability metrics for each OEMC operational unit. Highlights of her OEMC experience include managing the recovery of the city’s 9-1-1 system following a catastrophic crash and serving as point person for recovery efforts during and following natural disasters, such as large scale fires and weather-related emergencies.
Lori has been associated with Mayer Brown since 2005 and, previously, between 1990 and 1996. Earlier, she served as Law Clerk to The Honorable Charles Levin, Michigan Supreme Court (1989–1990).