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Steve Ciszewski











  • Appeals
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Employment Litigation
  • Insurance Litigation
  • Professional Liability


Steve has helped clients successfully resolve a wide range of sophisticated business disputes, with an emphasis on employment and insurance disputes.  Steve also frequently represents private and closely held companies and partnerships in their commercial litigation.  Specific examples of Steve’s work are listed in the Representative Cases section below.

Clients and lawyers who have worked closely with Steve describe him as:

  • “A go to advisor” and a “thoughtful, intelligent and common sense lawyer who understands the needs of his clients” who has an “astute understanding of the many factors that impact a client’s decision making.”
    – Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel of an international insurance services company
  • “Exactly the type of lawyer you want to have with you in the trenches during hard-core litigation.”  Steve “consistently demonstrated excellent judgment and great strategic instincts as well as remarkable insight into the workings of the court.”
    – Founding partner of a Kansas City, MO law firm
  • “Ignoring time zones and responsive at all hours, Steve gave us sophisticated and nuanced legal analysis tempered by an acutely practical judgment” and he “was always calm, pleasant and professional.”
    – Partner in the Los Angeles, CA office of an international law firm

In addition to achieving superior results, Steve continuously explores way to make the litigation process more efficient for his clients.  He recently obtained a White Belt Certification from the Legal Lean Sigma Institute, which focuses on process improvement and project management.  Whenever possible, Steve works to implement efficiencies using the following approach:

  • Having an open and frank discussion at the outset of any new matter to allow the client to explain its litigation objective and budget and Steve to explain the expected benefits, risks and costs of the case;
  • Maintaining a continuous and open line of communication throughout the case;
  • Facilitating an ongoing dialogue about how the litigation is unfolding, the strategies available at each phase of the case and how those developments and strategies fit the client’s overall litigation objective and budget.

The Chicago legal community has taken notice of Steve’s exceptional performance.  In 2012, the Chicago Law Bulletin named Steve to its “40 Under 40” list, honoring 40 of the most talented Illinois attorneys under the age of 40.  Illinois Super Lawyers magazine also recognized Steve as a “Rising Star” every year from 2009 through 2013.

Steve is part of the leadership of the Insurance Law Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).  He oversees the Section Council’s web video program, which publishes web videos on insurance-related topics.  He also participates in the Section Council’s meetings, which shape the ISBA’s position on insurance-related legislation pending in the Illinois Legislature.

Steve is a frequent volunteer at his alma mater, the University of Illinois College of Law. In 2014, he was named to the College of Law’s Alumni Advisory Board.  And for the last five years, he has returned to the College of Law to judge moot court competitions and to mentor students interested in a litigation practice in Chicago.  Steve’s time during Law School and undergraduate studies at Illinois made him a die-hard Fighting Illini fan, which has been very difficult in recent years.  While the Illini struggle to get back to the Rose Bowl and Final Four, Steve will keep listening to country music, reading books about history, learning about the use of advanced analytics in sports and following the political battles of the day.

Representative Cases

Employment Matters

  • Represented employers in claims to enforce non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements against former employees
  • Represented employers in claims to protect trade secrets and commercial/proprietary information
  • Represented employers to recover advance draw payments that exceeded the former employee’s actual earned compensation
  • Defended employers against minimum wage and overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Defended employers against claims under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act
  • Defended employers and individuals in company management against various business tort claims asserted by former employees
  • Represented employee asserting claims for discrimination and retaliation based on national origin

Insurance Matters

  • Represented professional errors and omissions carrier in coverage dispute decided on a late notice defense
  • Represented surplus lines insurance carrier to minimize exposure in coverage action
  • Represented policy-holder in successful claim for payment under property loss coverage
  • Represented insured asserting a malpractice claim against its insurance broker for failing to procure the correct type and amount of insurance coverage

Other Commercial Matters

  • Represented private-equity fund asserting its rights as a minority shareholder in one of the fund’s investments
  • Represented limited partner in successful suit against general partner for attempting to fraudulently conceal and convert the partnership’s assets
  • Represented closely held company in commercial real estate and lease dispute with landlord
  • Successfully defended national law firms against claims of legal malpractice in complex commercial cases


  • University of Illinois College of Law (J.D. 1998), Magna Cum Laude; member, National Moot Court Team; member, Moot Court Board; Rickert Award for Excellence in Oral Advocacy; American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.S., Finance, 1995), Cum Laude


  • Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois, Central District of Illinois and Western District of Wisconsin
  • Prior Pro Hac Vice admissions in courts throughout the country, including Delaware, Florida, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania


  • American Bar Association, Member, Litigation Section and Committees on Employment & Labor Relations, Insurance Coverage Litigation, Commercial & Business Litigation and Professional Liability Litigation.
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member, Insurance Law Section, Labor and Employment Law Section and Corporate Law Department.


  • Editor, Handbook on Disputes Involving Closely Held Companies and Author, Chapter 5, “Rights to Inspect Company Records,” published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2015.
  • Arbitration Agreement Incorporated by Reference and Not Waived by Sub’s Acts,”  Al Rushaid v. Nat’l Oilwell Varco, Inc., Case Note, American Bar Association Section of Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee News & Developments, July 22, 2014. PDF
  • The Changing World of Electronic Discovery Link
  • Panelist, Chicago Bar Association Seminar, “How to Be Successful in the Law: Top Attorneys Under 40,” April 16, 2013


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