Lori E. Lightfoot, Esq.
Partner
Mayer Brown
Chicago, Ill.

Whether handling complex commercial litigation or representing a wrongfully imprisoned pro bono client, Lori E. Lightfoot enjoys developing compelling, fact-based arguments. “I love figuring out what happened and digging into the details,” explains Lightfoot, a partner at Mayer Brown. “I like presenting my client’s position and arguments to a trier of fact and trying to convince them that we’re right.”

The role of advocate comes naturally to Lightfoot, who has had an outspoken disposition since childhood. Her mother, Ann Lightfoot, helped her channel this trait into a professional asset. “My mother made sure that we could speak intelligently in any environment,” says Lightfoot, who also was raised to never compromise her ambitions because of her race. “Because I had that foundation…it gave me the confidence to go into circumstances where I was the only [Black person] and do well.”

Lightfoot earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a juris doctor from the University of Chicago Law School. She began her career as a Michigan Supreme Court law clerk in 1989 and the following year joined
Mayer Brown, serving six years as a litiga-tion associate. Lightfoot spent the next six years as an assistant U.S. attorney before taking on a series of roles with the City of Chicago, including chief administrator in the police department’s Office of Professional Standards. In 2005, she returned to Mayer Brown as a partner, and in 2013 was one of two finalists for U.S. Attorney in Chicago.

Outside of her professional role, Lightfoot pays much attention to the plight of at-risk youth, partly through her involvement with Link Unlimited, a Chicago nonprofit serving economically disadvantaged high school students. She believes it’s critical to teach children about respect, dignity, sense of community, and about thinking about things beyond yourself. “A lot of those lessons are missing dramatically in a lot of communities.”

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