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Kristi Nelson
Partner          T: 312.647.2733          vCard         Full Bio

DePaul University of College of Law, 1995, J.D., with Honors

     Order of the Coif

     Editor, The DePaul Law Review

     Academic scholar


The University of Tulsa, 1992,

B.A., cum laude

     Psi Chi National Psychology   

     Honor Society

     Academic scholar

Kristi Nelson has over 25 years of experience litigating commercial matters in state and federal courts including contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair trade practices cases. She has also defended numerous companies in employment discrimination cases arising under federal and state laws. Kristi has tried cases and argued appeals in the federal and state courts for public companies, privately-held firms and individuals. 


Adjunct Professor of Law,

John Marshall Law School,

January 2010 - May 2015

     Workplace Misconduct   


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DePaul University College of Law, Alumni Service Award, 2020

  • Appointed by United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to serve as counsel for the court-appointed Special Master in Shakman v. Democratic Organization of Cook County, Case No. 69-2145. Case involves the State of Illinois’ compliance with the Shakman Consent Decree, which prohibits unlawful political patronage practices in government employment.

  • Dohrmann v. Swaney, Case No. 07 L 1602 (Cook County, IL). Tried and won $2 million jury verdict for estate of decedent in fraud action.

  • Santelli v. Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, Case No. 07 C 5702 (N.D. Ill). Second chaired gender discrimination jury trial and assisted in negotiation of successful settlement following hung jury.

  • Rennell v. Rowe, et al., 635 F.3d 1008 (7th Cir. 2008).  Defended clients in RICO, fraud and breach of contract case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  Won dismissal of RICO claim, drafted appellate brief and successfully argued appeal before Seventh Circuit.

  • Conducted internal investigations of widespread sexual harassment, gender discrimination, transgender harassment and toxic workplace allegations for major publicly-traded entertainment company.


“The Special Master's entire team, including her counsel, Ms. Kristi Nelson, also deserves the profound thanks of the public for their tireless work in promoting the First Amendment rights of government employees.”


- Hon. Judge Edmond E. Chang

"We were very lucky to have Kristi Nelson represent us in 2 very complicated cases.  Kristi is a master strategist as well as a fearless warrior when it comes to representing her clients.  She truly cares about protecting her clients and works hard to deliver the best possible results for them.  Her integrity, tenacity, and fairness are just a few of the qualities that make her so effective during negotiations.  To say that we highly recommend Kristi is an understatement."

- President of corporate client in commercial litigation matter

"If you are looking for a highly regarded employment lawyer, Kristi Nelson is the lawyer you can trust to represent you. Kristi’s counsel is impeccable, whether it is in the initial interview or throughout a mediation. When billing by the hour, she is thoughtful in her communication and direction, and does not waste your or her time. Kristi is exceptional at summarizing extensive details into succinct statements. She addresses your inquiries directly and provides fitting responses to the questions you raise. Whether it is managing a mediation or advising on a severance agreement, Kristi has an expertise in the art of employment matters that cannot be matched, and you can be confident she will represent you with exceptional precision and enthusiasm."

- Executive level client in whistleblower/employment dispute

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