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Patricia Costello Slovak


"Irish Charm and Experience Make Her One of Illinois' Finest"

Leading Lawyers Network, September 2007

Patricia Costello Slovak concentrates in labor and employment law on behalf of management.

She has extensive experience representing management in all facets of labor and employment relationships, including:

  • Litigating employment and labor claims in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies
  • Representing employers in arbitrations, mediations and collective bargaining negotiations
  • Counseling employers in compliance issues

Her clients include retailers, universities, utilities, manufacturers and assembly operations.

In the employment arena, Ms. Slovak has tried both jury and non-jury cases and has argued numerous motions for summary judgment. She has represented employers in various alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including mediation and arbitration.

In the traditional labor arena, Ms. Slovak has tried unfair labor practice and representation cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements, handled strikes and union organizing campaigns, and defended numerous labor arbitrations.

Ms. Slovak has defended employers against whistleblower and retaliation claims at the agency level and in court. These claims have been brought under Sarbanes-Oxley, the Energy Reorganization Act, federal and state discrimination statutes, and state wrongful discharge/whistleblower statutes.

She is a current member of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, a past chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Labor and Employment Law, which has more than 20,000 members, and former Commissioner on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

Speeches and Presentations

"Employment Law for Law Firms: Best Practices for Law Firms as Employers," (moderator) American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law Webinar (April 2, 2014)

"Ask the Experts," (panelist) Protecting Your Company in 2014, Schiff Hardin Labor and Employment Breakfast Briefing, Chicago, Ill. (Oct. 23, 2013)

"Independent Contractors: Another Legal Minefield for Employers," (moderator) Schiff Hardin Webinar (Dec. 11, 2012)

"Independent Contractor or Employee? Minimizing Exposure from the Gray Areas of the Franchise Relationship," American Bar Association’s 35th Annual Forum on Franchising, Los Angeles, Calif. (Oct. 3-5, 2012)

"Assessing the Impact of the Board's Changing Composition and the Status of Labor Law Reform Initiatives," American Conference Institute's National Advanced Forum on Labor-Management Relations, New York, NY (October 28, 2010)

"Background Checks in the Digital Age: Using Technology Legally and Effectively," National Retail Federation, HR Executives Summit 2009, San Diego, Calif. (October 15, 2009)

"The Next Generation of Arbitrators and Advocates - From Where Will They Come?" National Academy of Arbitrators 2009 Annual Meeting, Chicago, Ill. (May 20-23, 2009)

"Prospects for the Future — What We Can Anticipate From The Obama Administration," American Bar Association/Committee on the Development of the Law Under the NLRA, San Diego, Calif. (March 1-4, 2009)

"Fair Measure: Toward Effective Attorney Evaluations," American Bar Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY (August 9, 2008)

"Reasonable Accommodation," ALI-ABA Employment and Labor Relations Law for the Corporate Counsel and the General Practitioner, Chicago, Ill. (May 1, 2008)

"Union Organizing in a Changing Economic and Political Scene," National Retail Federation, Longboat Key, Fla. (April 3, 2008)

"Labor Due Diligence in Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures," American Conference Institute's National Forum on Labor Management Relations, Chicago, Ill. (February 26, 2008)

"How Many Whistles Can You Blow? Limiting Employers' Liability in Whistleblower Cases," National Retail Federation, Longboat Key, Fla. (April 27, 2006)

"The NLRA at Seventy — Where it is and Where it Should Go - The Immediate View," The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, NY (May 25, 2005)

"Employment, Immigration and Labor Law for the Franchise World," American Bar Association 28th Annual Forum on Franchising, Orlando, Fla. (October 20, 2005)

Awards and Honors

AV Rated — Martindale-Hubbell
Best Lawyers in America — Employment Law (Management); Labor Law (Management) "Lawyer of the Year"; Labor and Employment Litigation
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
Founder's Award — Chicago Bar Association's Alliance for Women (2011)
Illinois Super Lawyers — Employment and Labor; Employment Litigation: Defense; Top 50 Women Illinois Super Lawyers
Leading Lawyer — Employment Law: Management; Labor Law: Management, Illinois Leading Lawyers Network
Top 100  Women Lawyers;
Top 10 Women Business Lawyers;
Top 10 Women Litigators;
Leading Lawyer — Labor and Employment, Chambers USA — America's Leading Lawyers for Business
PLC Which Lawyer? — Chicago — Labor and Employment Lawyer
Who's Who Legal — International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Labor and Employment
Who's Who Legal — Illinois, Labor and Employment


University of Chicago Law School(J.D., 1977)
Saint Louis University(B.A., 1973)

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association
Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary 
Section of Labor and Employment Law 
      Past Chair
Commission on Women in the Profession
      Former Commissioner
Committee on Development of Law Under the
      National Labor Relations Act
            Past Co-Chair
National Retail Federation
Employment Law Committee
Chicago Bar Association
Alliance for Women Committee
      Past Co-Chair
HR Advisor
Advisory Board
Institute for Law and the Workplace
The Kenneth M. Piper Endowment Advisory Board
National Association of College and University Attorneys

Civic and Charitable Memberships

Theatre School Board, DePaul University
Chicago Foundation for Women
Board Member
Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project, Inc.
Past Board Member