Melissa B. Pryor(+)
A graduate of Yale Law School, Melissa is meticulous and measured, intent on devising the optimal solution for her clients. A successful commercial litigator with broad experience, she is especially gratified when she can address a client’s needs beyond a particular litigation objective. Her excellent communication skills allow her to guide clients through every step of the process and offer a candid accounting of possible courses of action. A former NCAA All-American in field hockey, she still plays sports and retains her competitive spirit, on and off the field. She attributes her resilience to her parents, a mixed-race couple who faced various obstacles and successfully transcended their struggles.
Determined. Thoughtful. Perceptive.
Marc O. Beem(+)
A dynamic leader within the firm and in the legal community at large, Marc is widely respected for law reform and civil liberties victories he has obtained through the ACLU, where he currently serves on the national Board of Directors. He brings tremendous energy and focus to his work, as well as an expertise in professional responsibility and in litigation arising from bankruptcy restructuring and financial services. Highly competitive and partial to winning, he relies on creativity and strategy, and is admired by peers and clients alike for his ability to remain composed throughout even the most arduous battles. Outside the office, Marc can be found biking, gardening, and savoring single-malt scotch.
Unflappable. Strategic. Wise.
Thomas M. Staunton(+)
A leading presence in the Chicago legal community, Tom is a past president of the Chicago Council of Lawyers and an officer and original appointee of the Seventh Circuit’s Electronic Discovery Pilot Program Committee. In addition to being well-versed in the intricacies of electronic discovery, Tom has substantial experience in healthcare litigation and legal malpractice defense. An aggressive litigator who never makes it personal, he also serves as a panel attorney representing indigent criminal defendants in the United States District Court. Tom served as president of Tutoring Chicago, where he tutored underserved elementary school students for fifteen years. He is also a marathon runner and an avid supporter of Chicago’s community arts scene.
Communication. Persistence. Loyalty.
Julia K. Schwartz(+)
A former law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner and U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly, Julia is a systematic thinker who enjoys crafting creative and persuasive legal arguments. Julia graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was Executive Topics and Comments Editor of the Law Review. Julia stays connected with her undergraduate alma mater by serving as a Vice President of the Princeton Club of Chicago. In her spare time, Julia plays soccer in a coed recreational league and tends her herb and vegetable garden.
Practical. Deliberate. Rigorous.
Michael L. Shakman(+)
Mike was selected by Chicago Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Chicagoans of the 20th century. He is among the city’s top trial lawyers and plays an active role in all phases of litigation, from initial discovery to closing argument. His practice includes the representation of lawyers and law firms, as well as citizens and businesses adverse to government agencies. Also a political reformer, Mike brought a lawsuit shortly after finishing law school that challenged patronage employment by the City and other government bodies, leading to federal consent decrees still in use today. He has served as chairman of the Chicago Bar Association Professional Responsibility Committee and published widely on subjects related to the duties of lawyers. In his downtime, he races sailplanes competitively.
Honest. Tireless. Understanding.
Edward W. Feldman(+)
A leading member of the bar, Eddie is widely respected within the Chicago legal community. He has served as a special master in federal court and was recommended by Senator Durbin to the White House for a federal judgeship. Driven by a commitment to quality, fairness, and results, he thinks quickly on his feet and remains cool under pressure. With degrees in physics and English, Eddie excels at analyzing and explaining in plain language issues of great technical complexity. He has served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law for 20 years, teaching trial advocacy and professional responsibility. An avid cyclist, he bikes more than 3,000 miles a year.
Insightful. Analytical. Prudent.
Kay L. Dawson(+)
A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Kay utilizes her background in business and client service for the benefit of her legal clients. As a former analyst at Goldman Sachs, she has experience advising clients on complex matters and negotiating with counterparties under pressure. She loves working at Miller Shakman & Beem because of the firm’s unwavering commitment to its clients and its ingrained dedication to the public interest. Kay brings her own passion for achieving client objectives and serving the greater community to her work at the firm. Outside the office, Kay focuses on her lifelong quest for a round of even par golf.
Conscientious. Confident. Prepared.
Michael M. Tresnowski(+)
Mike graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an Articles Editor for the Law Review. A former law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge James B. Zagel and former middle school math teacher, Mike recognizes that trust, communication, and a zealous work ethic are essential to solving tough problems. He embraces MSB’s high ethical standards, reputation for excellence in complex litigation, and long history of community leadership. Mike serves on two young professional nonprofit boards in the Chicago area and tutors students weekly in math and reading. Outside the office, Mike enjoys planning trips with his wife and walking his Miniature Schnauzer through Chicago’s parks.
Sensible. Attentive. Relentless.
Karen L. Levine(+)
Karen is a dynamic and highly successful family law attorney. She focuses on multifaceted, high-net-worth divorce cases that concern a multitude of assets, including those held in close corporations and trusts. Originally a commercial litigator, years of experience handling intricate business lawsuits have provided her with invaluable insight into the financial aspects of complex matrimonial cases, setting her apart from her peers. Before attending Northwestern Law School, Karen obtained a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and spent seven years as a clinical social worker. She sits on the Board of Directors and is on the Executive Committee of the Jewish Child and Family Services. Karen is a great fan and frequent patron of Chicago’s eclectic theater scene.
Passionate. Tenacious. Energetic.
Ronald S. Miller(+)
In addition to being the lead name on our letterhead, Ron grounds the firm in its history and greater civic responsibilities. Ron recently convened the 150th session of his Public Affairs Roundtable, a monthly gathering in which noted politicians, judges, business leaders, and journalists gather at the firm to discuss issues ranging from law to the arts. Highlights of his much-lauded career include serving as lead counsel on three IPOs, serving as counsel for two multiline insurers, and representing hotel developers. His public service awards include the Illinois chapter of ACLU’s Rothschild Award for Lifetime Achievement in Civil Rights, the ABA’s first Pickering Achievement Award and the University of Illinois Humanitarian Award.
Consistent. Sympathetic. Friendly.
Alexandra K. Block(+)
Alexandra holds undergraduate and law degrees from Yale, and was selected as an Illinois "Rising Star in the Business Litigation category by Super Lawyers Magazine and Chicago Magazine. She has played a lead role on commercial matters in state and federal courts and has had success representing clients in numerous employmentrelated matters on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. Her highly strategic and creative approach to the law is balanced by wellhoned, practical litigation instincts and a quick and efficient work style. A trained and certified mediator, she is qualified to mediate commercial, civil rights, and employment matters, and regularly provides pro bono representation to employment discrimination claimants in mediations before the EEOC. Alexandra was raised in Vermont and remains passionate about the outdoors.
Straightforward. Tough. Smart.
Daniel M. Feeney(+)
Dan is often the most trusted voice in the courtroom, not the loudest. For him, preparation and accuracy trump drama and pretense. Dan is drawn to cases that require an in-depth understanding of a client’s business, from the intricate practices of lawyers he defends to the proprietary operations of trade secret and restrictive covenant clients. A legal and civic leader, he serves as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he has taught legal ethics, and has risen to executive positions on the boards of local and international organizations. In his downtime, he can be found at the piano with his kids.
Ethical. Resourceful. Efficient.
Eric A. Oesterle(+)
With a levelheaded approach born of years of experience, Eric navigates conflict with methodical ease. He has successfully represented clients in a broad range of commercial and higher education matters. A number of his cases have been in real estate and construction, including projects such as the O’Hare Water Reclamation Plant, Tampa Bay’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and the renovation of the Chicago Hilton and Towers. He remains very involved with the University of Michigan, from which he received both undergraduate and law degrees, including stints on the Honors Program Advisory Council and the Law School’s Campaign Steering and Legal Development Committees. An avid sailor, Eric competes in the Mac and other sailboat races.
Systematic. Effective. Creative.
Mary Eileen Cunniff Wells(+)
A graduate of Stanford Law School, Mary Eileen clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge William Bauer. A former constitutional and commercial litigator for the City of Chicago, she excels at breaking down complex concepts, crafting creative legal arguments, and devising effective solutions for clients. Mary Eileen served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador before law school and shares the firm’s commitment to public service, collegiality, and the highest professional and ethical standards. She likes to spend her free time exploring Chicago’s parks, museums, and cultural offerings with her family.
Intuitive. Pragmatic. Persuasive.
Diane F. Klotnia(+)
Well known for her command of legal ethics, Diane is active in matters involving impact litigation, addressing issues such as First Amendment free speech. Among her career highlights is establishing the right of a minor under Illinois law to retain her own chosen counsel in an abuse and neglect matter. Adept at analyzing the issues, Diane thinks creatively to devise the most effective solutions for her clients. A member of the adjunct faculty at Northwestern University Law School, she teaches trial advocacy and ethics, and has also served on several boards and executive committees, including the ACLU of Illinois/ Roger Baldwin Foundation and the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Deliberate. Precise. Resolute.
Zachary J. Freeman(+)
Before becoming a lawyer, Zac worked in international development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa, and in public policy for Human Rights Watch. These experiences taught him that there are no easy solutions to complex problems, a perspective that serves him well in understanding and advising clients. A graduate of Princeton University and Northwestern Law, he particularly enjoys cases that raise unsettled legal principles, allowing him to argue, not what the law is, but what it should be. Zac enjoys working on pro bono matters with clients, such as the ACLU and Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and likes to spend his free time traveling the world with his family.
Enterprising. Practical. Dedicated.
William J. Katt(+)
A cum laude graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, where he was a Senior Articles Editor of the Law Review, Bill clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Marvin E. Aspen and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Diane S. Sykes. Bill takes pride in developing and executing creative solutions to his clients’ needs, whether through positive litigation outcomes or negotiated resolution. At MSB, he values the focus on ethics and professional responsibility that permeates the firm. He enjoys spending time at home in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago with his wife and two daughters and their dog Max.
Reliable. Collaborative. Innovative.
Mr. Beem’s practice consists of commercial disputes, including litigation involving professional responsibility, contractual disputes, securities law, the liability of corporate directors and other company officers, constitutional law and real-estate-related matters. In addition, he is involved with bankruptcy matters, workouts and related litigation. Mr. Beem also advises non-public schools and other not-for-profit entities.
Mr. Tresnowski focuses on complex litigation in federal and state courts, managing all aspects of a case including discovery, motion practice, and trial. He has represented both individuals and companies in commercial disputes, and has experience representing clients in disputes with government entities, including issues such as land use and antitrust.
Ms. Wells has represented companies, individuals, and government agencies and officials in complex litigation matters in both state and federal court. Her practice involves a wide variety of substantive areas of the law, including legal ethics, constitutional law, commercial law, professional liability, FOIA, and family law matters.
Ms. Block represents clients in a variety of litigation matters, focusing on defending legal malpractice claims and advising attorneys and law firms with respect to professional responsibility and ethical issues. She also has broad experience representing both employees and employers in employment contract, non-competition, and employment discrimination and harassment litigation before the state and federal courts and the EEOC. Additionally, she advises independent schools on employment and compliance matters. Ms. Block also has been involved in First Amendment and other civil liberties litigation as counsel for parties and amici.
Ms. Block is a trained and certified mediator and has been involved in several dozen cases that have resolved successfully through mediation.
Ms. Dawson has experience representing clients in federal and state court. Her cases have included corporate disputes, class actions, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud matters. Ms. Dawson also has experience defending attorneys and law firms in legal malpractice disputes. Additionally, Ms. Dawson has represented clients in several complex high net worth divorce cases.
Mr. Feeney has experience in a variety of commercial litigation matters, with substantial experience defending lawyers and law firms in legal malpractice suits. He also advises law firms and lawyers regarding their professional and ethical obligations and has taught a course on legal ethics as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. In his general litigation practice, he has represented an array of business ventures in restrictive covenant, trade secret, copyright, trademark and right of publicity matters and has represented individual clients in disputes regarding the control or dissolution of closely held entities and related fiduciary duty claims. He regularly advises clients in disputes with governmental entities, including land use, public contracting and FOIA matters.
His practice encompasses cases in both state and federal courts at the trial and appellate level. In 2008, the Chicago Law Bulletin selected Mr. Feeney as one of 40 Illinois Lawyers Under Forty to Watch.
Mr. Feldman has over thirty-four years’ experience as a litigator. Following a clerkship in the U.S. District Court, Mr. Feldman spent two years trying criminal and civil cases at Northwestern University Legal Clinic. Since joining this firm in 1988, he has developed an extensive commercial litigation practice cutting across many areas of law, in both individual and class actions in federal and state courts. His areas of concentration include representing lawyers and law firms in legal malpractice, professional responsibility, and fiduciary duty matters. He also has represented many businesses and individuals in disputes with government over constitutional, statutory or regulatory rights. This governmental litigation has included two landmark cases that have transformed Chicago: the Shakman class action against the State of Illinois, Cook County, City of Chicago and other governmental bodies that has reduced once-endemic political patronage; and the Gautreaux desegregation class action against the Chicago Housing Authority, in which Mr. Feldman represented the Court-appointed receiver responsible for developing new, economically and racially desegregated public housing.
Mr. Feldman has been appointed as a Special Master in federal court and been retained as an expert on matters of professional responsibility. His experience also includes RICO, antitrust, securities, consumer fraud, employment and other commercial disputes. Mr. Feldman has been selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers list every year since its inception in 2005, and has taught trial practice and professional responsibility for many years at Northwestern Law School. In 2011, Senator Richard Durbin recommended Mr. Feldman to the White House for nomination to the U.S. District Court in Chicago. In 2018, Mr. Feldman was appointed by Senators Durbin and Duckworth to serve on the Selection Committee for Judicial Appointments in the Northern District of Illinois.
Mr. Freeman has experience in both federal and state court in a variety of contexts. He has represented clients in professional responsibility matters, legal and medical malpractice cases, partnership disputes, including dissolution and partner relocation. Mr. Freeman also has experience in family law matters, contract and lease disputes, defamation, product disparagement, and unfair competition cases, antitrust litigation, civil rights litigation, and employment disputes involving wrongful discharge and the enforcement of restrictive covenants. His state court experience covers all levels of the practice from the trial court to the Illinois Supreme Court. Prior to joining Miller Shakman & Beem, Mr. Freeman clerked for the Hon. Ruben Castillo in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Freeman served as a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa from 1996 to 1998 and worked at Human Rights Watch from 1998 to 2000.
Mr. Friedman is experienced in litigating a variety of claims at both the trial and appellate levels, including matters related to estate planning and estate administration, real estate and property taxation, RICO and antitrust claims, legal malpractice claims, and issues of ethics and professional responsibility.
Ms. Klotnia has litigated many complex commercial and legal malpractice cases and is well known for her command of legal ethics. She has represented clients in cases involving legal malpractice defense, attorney disciplinary matters, corporate and partnership disputes, derivative actions and shareholder disputes, RICO litigation, contract disputes, commercial mortgage foreclosure, environmental law, constitutional law and federal civil rights. Ms. Klotnia has been selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers list in 2005, 2006 and every year since 2008.
Ms. Klotnia has been involved in cases in the U. S. District Courts in Illinois, Hawaii, Kansas and Pennsylvania and in the state courts of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Delaware and has participated in appeals to the U. S. Supreme Court, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for the Third Circuit, and to the Illinois Appellate Court and the Wisconsin Appellate Court.
Ms. Levine’s practice centers around handling disputes between individuals – primarily entrepreneurs – in both the business and personal arenas. In the personal arena, Ms. Levine concentrates on complex, high net worth divorce cases. She brings to these cases a business litigator’s perspective. Further, Ms. Levine’s former career as a social worker, where she worked in crisis intervention, helps her understand the emotional strain of a divorce. In the business arena, Ms. Levine concentrates on partnership disputes, disputes in close corporations and other disputes between individuals that once had close, personal working relationships. Ms. Levine also handles litigation involving business litigation matters. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Mr. Miller has had years of experience in hotel development, financing and operations. In addition, his practice has included developing major office and condominium buildings as well as corporate law, insurance law and trust law.
Mr. Miller has been listed in "Best Lawyers in America," "Who's Who in American Law," "Who’s Who in America" and "Who’s Who in the World." He has served as board member and president of the Board of Visitors of the University of Illinois Law School. He also served on the DePaul Law School Advisors Council and Northwestern Law School’s Institute for International Human Rights. Mr. Miller is chair of the Advisory Board of the Illinois ACLU. He was board chair of the Chicago chapter of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and is a lifetime trustee of that organization’s national board. He is the recipient of the Chicago chapter’s first Award for Lifetime Achievement in Civil Rights, and in 2003 the national body of the Lawyer’s Committee honored Mr. Miller with a Special Recognition Award. In 2002, Mr. Miller was inducted as one of eight awardees as a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers at the Illinois State Bar Association's 125th Anniversary celebration. He is also the recipient of the ABA’s Pickering Award, the Illinois ACLU’s Rothschild Award and the American Constitution Society’s Chicago Legal Legends Award.
Mr. Oesterle has 40 years of litigation experience in a wide-range of complex commercial matters including bankruptcy, breach of contract, class action, construction, employment, environmental, fiduciary duty, franchise, fraud, higher education, insurance coverage, legal malpractice, lender liability, patent, real estate, theft of trade secret and other matters in both federal and state trial and appellate courts, and in arbitration and mediation proceedings throughout the country.
Ms. Pryor practices in federal and state court. She has represented clients in a variety of areas including: breach of contract and breach of warranty matters, employment disputes involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants, fraud claims, and breach of fiduciary duty matters. Ms. Pryor also has broad experience representing clients in domestic relations matters, concentrating on complex, high net worth divorces. Additionally, Ms. Pryor represents attorneys and law firms in legal malpractice cases.
Mr. Shakman serves as lead counsel in a wide range of litigation including corporate, contractual, commercial and partnership disputes, professional liability matters, construction disputes and arbitrations, antitrust, trade regulation and product liability litigation. He has also served as lead counsel for public bodies and private citizens in litigation involving governmental actions across a wide range of subjects.
Mr. Shakman frequently represents attorneys, law firms and other professionals in partnership and professional responsibility matters. He may be best known for the federal court Shakman Decrees, which have enjoined patronage hiring and firing of public employees in Chicago and Illinois.
Mr. Katt practices in federal and state court. His practice focuses on commercial and family litigation. Mr. Katt advises lawyers and law firms on ethical issues, including representation in legal malpractice litigation. He frequently represents businesses and individuals in commercial litigation involving complex commercial fraud, patent infringement and other intellectual property violations, unfair competition, breach of contract, and employee separation issues. He also frequently represents high-net worth individuals in divorce and related proceedings.
Mr. Staunton represents clients in a wide range of commercial litigation, including health care disputes and disputes relating to partnership and corporate governance, real estate, and general commercial law. He frequently represents defendants against claims of legal malpractice. He also has experience representing clients on issues relating to bankruptcy, securities law, trademark, restrictive covenants, and employment discrimination. He has played a leadership role in the Seventh Circuit’s Electronic Discovery Pilot Program Committee and its efforts to improve the practice of e-discovery in the federal courts. He has tried cases, and argued appeals, in state and federal court. He has extensive arbitration experience, including arbitrations before the AAA, the NYSE, FINRA, and the AHLA.
Mr. Weisman has significant trial and litigation experience in both the criminal and civil spheres. He has served as counsel in more than 100 federal criminal matters, and has tried approximately 16 cases to juries, including public corruption matters, fraud, and other federal criminal violations. He has handled all stages of the federal criminal process, including pretrial investigation, trial, sentencing, and appeals. While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Mr. Weisman held various supervisory positions including Deputy Chief of General Crimes Section, and Senior Litigation Counsel. Additionally, he received several awards for his work, including two national Director’s Awards issued by the Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Weisman was selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers list in 2013 and 2014.
Mr. Weisman has represented commercial clients in civil disputes as well, and has tried several civil matters to federal juries. In addition, he has represented private clients in connection with federal investigations and grand jury inquiries, and has conducted internal investigations for corporations and due diligence work on behalf of potential investors.
Ms. Schwartz practices in federal and state court. She has represented clients in commercial litigation matters, including professional responsibility matters, legal malpractice cases, and partnership disputes. Ms. Schwartz also has experience in family law matters, contract disputes and civil rights litigation.