About Nancy Shepherdson

Nancy Shepherdson Articles written 11

Articles written by Nancy Shepherdson

Product of Her Environment

Environmental lawyer E. Lynn Grayson saves companies green

If it takes a pecan grove to settle a case, E. Lynn Grayson is fine with that. Shortly after Grayson arrived at Jenner & Block as a partner in 1994, the Justice Department sued client Tenneco Oil Co. (now El Paso Gas) on behalf of the Native American Sac and Fox Nation as a result of wildcatting—drilling exploratory oil wells—in the 1950s. The company was accused of destroying an aquifer, creating wastelands and wiping out a huge pecan grove. “The case was interesting,” she says, …

Collective Conscience

Jim Franczek is a management-side bargainer, but he never forgets what life is like for working men and women

Jim Franczek likes to kick off collective bargaining with great food: a catered meal, an ethnic feast or just the freshest doughnuts he can find. Anything to get both sides to some commonalities. This kind of attention to detail—plus a 43-year track record of successful labor negotiations—has involved Franczek in some of the largest and most complex collective bargaining in Illinois. He’s represented the city of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Cook County, as well as some of the …

Lifting While Climbing

Angela Elbert has her business clients—and her community—covered

Pedaling vigorously on her stationary recumbent bike at dawn, Angela Elbert gets her blood—and brain—moving by studying cutting-edge legal theories in a field that would put some attorneys back to sleep. Elbert, a partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg in Chicago, is known for helping companies think about their insurance coverage for newer areas: hacking, patent trolling, Internet privacy. She sees her job as persuasive: getting clients to appreciate the seriousness of these risks and …

His Witness

Lessons in Cross-Examination and Life from Chicago Trial Lawyer Jeffrey Stone

In his 52nd-floor office, with its breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and Soldier Field, Jeffrey Stone keeps a collection of antique toy fire trucks to remind him of his early ambition to save lives by running into burning buildings. Though he ultimately took a different path, the co-chair of McDermott Will & Emery has never lost his penchant for saving the day. Stone focuses on complex litigation and white-collar defense. In 2007, he argued a complicated arbitration for Isis …

Powerful Presence

Bruce Pfaff sways juries without raising his voice

In a courtroom in downstate Tazewell County, the 8-foot-tall face of a corporate executive looms over the jury, a projection of his video deposition. The same executive is sitting in the witness stand. Both versions are facing Bruce Pfaff, who is about to get to the heart of the matter for the jury. “After the safety bar was redesigned in 2001 to include a collar and screws, was there any testing that you’re aware of?” Pfaff asks quietly. “Not other than normal function testing,” the …

Everybody Wants to See Joe Gagliardo

Why governors, mayors—and even Donald Trump—have consulted him

You won’t find much about Joe Gagliardo or his cases online. “My whole approach is to be discreet,” says the Chicago labor and employment litigator. He has had more than his share of high-profile clients, including Illinois governors, Chicago mayors, Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios and Donald Trump. “If we’re in the press, we’re not doing our job right. I think it’s an attraction for clients that I’m more interested in their concerns than mine.” It helps, too, that the …

Man of Milwaukee

Why Frank Gimbel loves jury trials and Don Quixote

Frank Gimbel considers it a shame that more cases don’t go to trial these days. In his 49-year legal career he estimates he has been involved in 200 jury trials, both as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, and has enjoyed trying his damnedest to win every one. He’s also had a blast leading the redevelopment effort in downtown Milwaukee for the past 15 years, a task requiring the same persuasive skills, only applied to a jury of politicians and businesspeople. “Frank is one of …

Preparing the Cross (Examination)

Emily Nicklin keeps it simple, believable and fun

Chicago trial attorney Peter King sometimes stops by a courtroom to watch Emily Nicklin take witnesses apart on cross. "Emily has the rare combination among trial lawyers of being intelligent, hardworking and practical," says King, a Canel, Davis & King partner, who has been both an opponent and colleague. "She is able to laugh at herself and understand that juries have a limited attention span: They need to be both convinced and entertained. If a witness makes a mistake, she's all over it, …

The Lawyer Who Saw the Lightning

Stephen M. Glynn and nearly 40 years of moral fitness

In the spring of 1970, Steve Glynn was sitting in a jail cell in a Madison courthouse, bruised from head to toe. Two weeks away from graduating with honors from the UW–Madison Law School, and already a husband and father, he’d dared, that May night, to ask the badge numbers of sheriff’s officers he’d seen roughing up students who took to the streets to protest the invasion of Cambodia. Glynn, then an intern with the ACLU, was with two other law students to document possible police …

The Lawyer Who Brought Down a Governor

How Joseph Power and a “gotcha” moment caused George Ryan’s downfall

Joseph A. Power, a soft-spoken, taciturn lawyer, lives for Perry Mason moments—those supremely satisfying “gotcha” moments when, under intense grilling, a guilty party coughs up an admission. In October 1997, for example, a young woman swimming in Lake Michigan had her foot chopped off by a boat propeller. In court, the police officer on the scene stated he found the foot 157 feet offshore, where no reasonable swimmer should have been. The captain of the commercial boat said the …

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