Jennifer Ballard focuses her practice on supporting employers, human resources and in-house legal counsel with all aspects of workforce management. Her clients include large and small businesses, trade and professional associations, and state and local government organizations. Ms. Ballard is experienced in all aspects of employment law, from day-to-day advice to complex employment litigation. She regularly counsels employers on matters spanning from hire through termination, including employee background checks, leave and disability considerations, misclassification issues, employee misconduct and other disciplinary matters. Ms. Ballard's practice also includes reviewing employment policies and handbooks and providing manager and employee training in anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and a variety of other employment law related topics to minimize potential employment liabilities and ensure compliance with the many state and federal laws governing the workplace. She also works with clients in handling compliance issues, responding to audits and investigations, and developing best practices for minimizing the risk of a subsequent retaliation claim.

In addition to her employment practice, Ms. Ballard has substantial experience in traditional labor law matters. This includes advising and representing employers during union organizing efforts, collective bargaining negotiations, strike preparation, grievance and labor arbitrations, and administrative hearings before the National Labor Relations Board and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

Professional Background

Ms. Ballard joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP as an associate in September 2008. Previously she was law clerk at the firm since 2006 and a summer associate in 2007.

Professional Affiliations

  • Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago, Board Member (2013–present)
  • Women's Bar Foundation, Board Member (2013–present)
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Board Member (2012–2016)
  • The Committee on Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions of the Seventh Circuit, Deputy Reporter (2012)
  • Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, Co-Chair (2011–2012)

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized as an "Emerging Lawyer" by Leading Lawyers Magazine (2015 & 2016)
  • Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine (2012–2016)
  • Named by DiversityMBA Magazine to the "Emerging Leader" section of its "Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders" list (June 2009)


Her presentations include:

  • "Puzzling Personnel Predicaments," Hinshaw's Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2016.
  • "Shattering the Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good for You, Good for Society and Good for Business," LGBT Affinity Network, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Out & Equal Chicagoland, Chicago, Illinois, October 2015.
  • "Sex, Drugs and Gun Control: Today’s Headlines in Your Workplace," Hinshaw's Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2015.
  • "Effective Claims Handling: A Proactive Approach to Identifying and Minimizing Risks in Senior Living Facilities," 2015 Senior Living Conference, Naperville, Illinois September 2015.  
  • "What All Employers Should Know About the NLRB's Current Activities," Hinshaw's Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2014.
  • "Employment Law Update," DuPage SHRM Legislative Update, Lisle, Illinois, March 2014.
  • "Non-Union Employers Beware: The NLRB is Watching You," Hinshaw's Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2013.
  • "Social Media and the Ethics of Your Practice," Chicago Bar Association 2011 Breaking Barriers Building Bridges Program, Chicago, Illinois, November 2011.
  • "Termination Scenario," an interactive workshop session, Hinshaw's Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, October 2011.
  • "Riding the Wave: Understanding the Ups and Downs of Social Media," roundtable discussion, Hinshaw and the Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, February 2011.
  • "The Obama Administration's Employment Law Initiatives (and Some State Law, Too)," Hinshaw's 2010 Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2010.
  • "An Employer’s Guide to Maneuvering Through the Social Networking Minefield," Hinshaw Breakfast Roundtable, Chicago, Illinois, March 2010.
  • "Retaliation Claims Avoidance and Managing the Employee-Plaintiff," Hinshaw's 2009 Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2009.


  • "State of the Unions: Is Your Company Vulnerable to a Union Campaign?" Corporate Counsel Connect, September 2014.
  • "How To Hire, Manage, and Terminate Employees," co-author, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education publication, June 2014.
  • "NLRB Jurisdiction," co-author, Chapter 1, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education publication entitled "The Labor Law Handbook," co-author, 2010 and 2013 editions.

Ms. Ballard also regularly contributes to Hinshaw’s monthly Employment Law Alert, providing articles, analysis and perspective on federal court and National Labor Relations Board decisions, federal statutory amendments and federal agency opinions and policies. She has also contributed to Hinshaw’s The Lawyers’ Lawyer Newsletter – Recent Developments in Risk Management.


J.D., Certificate in Health Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 2008

  • Senior Editor, The Annals of Health Law Journal

B.A., magna cum laude, Economics, Spelman College, 2005