Gretchen Harris Sperry is an attorney with a diverse practice that focuses on the unique legal issues that arise at the intersection of law, politics, and government. Her experience as a counselor, litigator and appellate lawyer allows her to examine issues from all angles and provide thoughtful and practical solutions. By representing government agencies and elected officials, as well as the companies and individuals that interface with them, Ms. Sperry is well positioned to advise her clients on complex and highly sensitive matters. As a Special Assistant State's Attorney, Ms. Sperry has successfully defended elected officials and agencies in high-profile constitutional, commercial, and employment-related litigation. She also represents companies and individuals in investigations by regulatory and law enforcement agencies, and conducts corporate internal investigations. In addition, Ms. Sperry counsels businesses on regulatory and compliance matters before various state and local agencies, and advises them on proposed legislative initiatives. Ms. Sperry is experienced in litigation and investigations in both the state and federal court systems, at both the trial and appellate levels.
Prior to joining Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in March 2014, Ms. Sperry was a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Mary Jane Theis and the Honorable Maureen E. Connors in the Illinois Appellate Court. During her time in the Court, Ms. Sperry assisted in researching and drafting judicial opinions and dispositional orders in all areas of the law, including insurance coverage, contract disputes, corporate and partnership formation, fiduciary duty, personal injury, professional liability, declaratory judgment actions, appellate jurisdiction, evidentiary issues, and criminal matters.
Among her law school accomplishments, Ms. Sperry served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Michael T. Mason, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She was also the Publication Editor for the Annals of Health Law and a Senior Research Fellow for Dean Michael J. Kaufman. She was a member of the Dean’s List and earned the CALI Award for the highest grade in Legal Writing and Education Law. Ms. Sperry also competed on the Giles Sutherland Rich Intellectual Property Moot Court Team.
Ms. Sperry is an active member of the legal community. She was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Character and Fitness Committee of the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at two Chicago law schools teaching Appellate Advocacy. She also serves as the Treasurer of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association and is actively involved in the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.
- Illinois Supreme Court
- Appointed to Character and Fitness Committee of Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar (2014–present)
- Appellate Lawyers Association
- Elected as Treasurer (2016–2017)
- Elected as Member of the Board of Directors (2013–2015)
- Co-Chair, Cases Pending Committee
- Seminars Committee
- Women's Bar Association of Illinois
- Mary Heftel Hooton Fund Committee (2014–present)
- Nominating Committee (2013–2015)
- Chicago Bar Association, Judicial Evaluation Committee (2013–2015)
Honors & Awards
- Recognized as an Illinois Emerging Lawyer by Leading Lawyer Magazine
A selection of Ms. Sperry's representative matters includes:
- Serving as second chair counsel in a bench trial that resulted in the successful defense of a school district in an eminent domain action.
- Assisting with successful lobbying efforts to amend the Eminent Domain Act and secure expansion of a south suburban tollway and interchange as part of the State's $750 million tollway plan.
- Negotiating and drafting contracts for the acquisition and development of school sites.
Coordination of construction managers, contractors and engineers, as well as all government approvals, for a school district's $450 million school building initiative.
- "Motion Practice in Civil Court," IICLE program, April 21, 2016.
- "Advanced Appellate Practice Seminar," emcee and presenter, Appellate Lawyers Association's, April 18, 2016.
- "3L Practical Skills Training Seminar," Loyola Law School, 2013–present
"Appellate Lawyers Association Advanced Appellate Practice Seminar," master of ceremonies and moderator, April 2015.
"Real Talk on Women in the Law: Grit and the Growth Mindset," facilitator, American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, April 2015.
- "Insurance Coverage Issues," panelist, Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, October 2013.
- "Law Practice Management Seminar," panelist, Chicago-Kent Executive Program for Chinese Law Practitioners, Chicago, Illinois, June 2013.
Ms. Sperry is the author of a bimonthly column in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin titled "On The Docket," in which she analyzes cases that will be heard by the Illinois Supreme Court in its forthcoming term. She also contributes regularly to The Brief and Cases Pending, both publications of the Appellate Lawyers Association. She authored the introduction, case analysis and discussion questions for "Education Law and Policy," (Aspen 2004), written by Michael J. Kauman. Following is a selection of her articles and other publications:
"Record on Appeal," chapter 20, and "The Appendix," author, chapter 24, IICLE's Civil Appeals (Illinois): State and Federal, 2015 edition.
"Supreme Court to address med-mal privilege, administrative hearings," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, On the Docket, January 8, 2015.
- "Two state high court cases have lawyers and employers on alert," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, On the Docket, June 19, 2014.
- "Illinois Supreme Court looks at self-critical analysis, insurance case," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, On the Docket, May 1, 2014.
- "Supreme Court takes on duty of care in two new cases," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, On the Docket, February 27, 2014.
- "Illinois Supreme Court to address Frye, property rights," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, On the Docket, December 24, 2013.
- "The Value of Flexible Work Arrangements," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, June 17, 2013.
- "Panel Discusses Communication Styles," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, July 3, 2012.
- "Illinois Supreme Court Expands Legal Duty for Employers," WBAI Newsletter, Fall 2012.
- September 23, 2016
- July 11, 2016
- July 1, 2016
- October 28, 2015
- January 27, 2015
Ms. Sperry served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for Ravenswood Community Child Care Center, a nonprofit preschool and day care center benefitting teen mothers. She has volunteered as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago.
J.D., Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 2005
• Publication Editor, Annals of Health Law
B.S., Psychology, University of Wisconsin at Madison, 1999
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois