February 28, 2023

Joanna Horsnail to lead Mayer Brown's Chicago office


Mayer Brown appointed Joanna Horsnail as managing partner of the firm’s Chicago office, effective today. Her appointment marks the fourth consecutive female leader for the firm’s largest office.

With Mayer Brown for nearly 25 years, Joanna is an acclaimed construction and government transactions partner whose practice focuses on design and construction, public and project finance and government transactions around the country.

"Joanna’s well-earned reputation for professional excellence, coupled with her outstanding profile in the Chicago community make her an exceptional choice to lead the office,” said firm chair Jon Van Gorp. “Her natural charisma, approachability as a mentor to many and vision for the office will make her an inspirational and hugely successful leader. I look forward to working closely with her to achieve the growth and development objectives that the firm has for this office, which is where I started my career at Mayer Brown”

Joanna advised on numerous transformational deals for clients such as the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. Recently, she counseled on the deal securing the James R. Thompson Center as the corporate headquarters for Google, hailed as “a milestone in Chicago’s history.” Joanna also counts the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other public and not-for-profit organizations among her many clients.

“I’m delighted to be named office managing partner,” said Joanna of her new post. “I have such tremendous enthusiasm for both Mayer Brown and this office and look forward to guiding the office as we continue our success in Chicago.”

The managing partner role is the latest in a series of high-profile leadership roles Joanna has assumed on behalf of the firm. Most recently, she served as chair of the Diversity Steering Board and an office practice leader of the Finance practice. Additionally, she is a member of the firm’s Project Equity Leadership and Women’s Leadership groups and has served on its Recruiting and Partner Promotions committees.

A tireless volunteer in the Chicago community, Joanna is on the boards of directors for Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the Misericordia Women’s Board. In the past, she has served as a director of Anixter Center, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Women in Public Finance and the PURA Syndrome Foundation. She received a Lifetime Achievement award from Corporate Counsel as part of its prestigious Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards and was named one of Crain’s Notable Women Lawyers in Chicago.

Joanna succeeds Debra Bogo-Ernst, who will be leaving the firm. Prior to Debra, the immediate past office managing partners in Chicago were Britt Miller, who now serves on the eight-member Management Committee, and Rebecca Eisner, who also served on the firm’s Management Committee immediately after serving as office managing partner of the Chicago office.

Joanna, Britt Miller and Jon Van Gorp are all past fellows of Leadership Greater Chicago.

Mayer Brown’s Chicago office is the original office of the firm. It is also one of the largest law offices in Chicago, with deep roots in the community and a prominent place in the city’s history. Founded in 1881, the Chicago office advised on the original incorporations of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Continental Bank, guided Chicago leaders in the city’s phenomenal growth, including the negotiation of the opening of O’Hare Airport to commercial flights, major expansions of O’Hare and Midway airports, and the leasing of the Chicago Skyway (the first long-term concession of an American toll road), and represented clients in some of Chicago’s most storied trials. Finance, corporate, real estate and litigation work are among the office’s widely recognized strengths. Current Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was a partner in the firm immediately prior to taking office.


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