Patricia Brown Holmes



Direct:  312.471.8745
Fax:  312.471.8701
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A woman of exceptional talent, intelligence and vitality, Patricia Brown Holmes has chalked up enough accomplishments to fill three lifetimes. Over the course of her distinguished legal career, she has practiced law on both sides of the bench in courtrooms at every level, serving as Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, assistant U.S. attorney, assistant state's attorney for Cook County, and Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for Municipal Prosecutions for the city of Chicago.

By the time she ventured into private practice in 2005, Patricia’s skill and experience were firmly established and widely acknowledged. She is one of a handful of Illinois lawyers who have tried cases in state, city and federal court as well as state appellate, federal appellate, and Illinois Supreme Court. She is also co-writer of a brief that was presented before the US Supreme Court.

Over the past decade, in her role as a successful and sought-after defense attorney, she has represented a wide range of public and private corporate clients in complex commercial, regulatory and class action litigation as well as in internal investigations involving financial and accounting fraud, corporate whistleblower allegations, contract disputes, and mail and wire fraud.

Patricia practices the art of communicating with government officials by employing equal measures of conviction, clarity and tact. Her experience on both sides of the bench has given her valuable insight into how to analyze cases from all angles. This rare combination makes her a powerful asset, valuable partner and trusted counselor to a wide range of corporate clients in several industries, among them education, transportation, manufacturing, entertainment, industrial, health care, and food and beverage industries.

  • Experience


      Special Appointments

    • Appointed Special Prosecutor in the Matter of Laquan McDonald
    • Appointed Sole Trustee of the Burr Oak Cemetery Oversight Task Force
    • Appointed Inaugural Chair of the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
    • Appointed Co‐Chair of the Judicial Selection Commission for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • Appointed Chair of the Magistrate Judge Selection Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • Appointed to the American Jury Project Commission for the Seventh Circuit Bar Association

      Teaching Appointments

    • Adjunct Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
    • Adjunct Professor of Law, Loyola Institute for Paralegal Studies
    • Instructor, Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute
    •       Criminal Trial Advocacy Section of the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Education

      • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1986
      • University of Illinois, B.S., 1983

    Bar Admissions

      • Illinois
      • U.S. Supreme Court
      • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
      • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
      • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
      • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • Professional Memberships

    • American Bar Association

      • Section of Litigation
      • Section of Business Law
      • White Collar Crime Committee
      • Section of State and Local Government Law
    • Black Women Lawyers Association Chicago, Inc.

      • Past President and Founder
    • The Chicago American Inn of Court

    • Chicago Bar Association

      • Board of Managers
        • President
      • Blue Ribbon Committee on Juvenile Justice
        • Chair
    • Governor Patrick Quinn’s Cemetery Oversight Task Force

      • Chair
    • Illinois Judicial Council Foundation

      • Chair
    • Illinois Judges Association

      • Co-Chair, Retired Judges Committee
    • Illinois State Bar Association

    • Just the Beginning Foundation, Inc.

      • Board of Directors
        • President
    • Lawyers Club of Chicago

    • Leadership Greater Chicago


    • Seventh Circuit Bar Association

      American Jury Project Commission


    Honors & Awards

    • Chicago Lawyer Person of the Year (2016)

        Chicago Lawyer Magazine, Law Bulletin Publishing Company
    • Peer Reviewed AV® Preeminent™ Martin dale-Hubbell (Since 2008)

    • Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News & World Report (2012-2014, 2016)

    • Illinois Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters (2007-2017)

    • Illinois Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2009-2010, 2012-2015)

    • Top Ten Women Criminal Defense Lawyers, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyer's Network (2011)

    • Chambers USA, Chambers & Partners (2013-2017)

    • Top 50 Women, Illinois Super Lawyers Thomson Reuters (2009-2014, 2017)

    • Top 10 Women Criminal Defense Lawyers, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)

    • Top 100 Women Business Lawyers, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)

    • CCBA Centennial Presidential Award, For Dedication to the Bar, CCBA (2014)

    • Litigation Star, Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation (2009, 2012-2013)

    • Named One of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Illinois, National Diversity Council (2011, 2014)

    • Named a 2013 Business Leader of Color, Chicago United

    • Top 250 Women in Litigation, Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation (2012)

    • Client Service All-Star, BTI Consulting Group (2012)

    • Named 2012 Distinguished Fellow, Leadership Greater Chicago

    • Prestigious Dickerson Award, The Chicago Bar Association

    • 2011 Advocate for Diversity Award, Diversity Scholarship Foundation’s Unity Award Dinner

    • Named One of Twelve ʺ2011 Chicago Women in Lawʺ Chicago Lawyer Magazine

    • Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service’ United States District Court

    • One of the Most Powerful and Influential Women of Illinois, National Diversity Council (2011)

    • Outstanding Alumna Award for Public Service, University of Illinois (2010)

    • National Bar Association Judicial Council Special Chair Award National Bar Association Judicial Council (2009)

    • Who's Who in Black Chicago — Inaugural Edition, News Communications' Marquis Who's Who (2006)

    • Illinois Judicial Council Distinguished Service Award, Illinois Judicial Council (2005)

    • Black Women Lawyers Association Visionary Award, Black Women Lawyers Association (2005)

    • Outstanding Alumni Seaberry Award, For Service to the Legal Community University of Illinois (1998, 2005)

    • Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2011)

    • Posse Power of 10 Award for Commitment to Diversity in Education and the Workforce, The Posse Foundation, Inc. (Chicago) (2014)

    Speeches & Presentations

    • "Yield No More" 2017 Women's Leadership Forum, The Executive Leadership Council, Chicago, IL (July 19, 2017)

    • “Corporate Monitorships, The Nuts and Bolts,” (co-moderator) ABA Criminal Justice Section CLE Program, The Women in White Collar Subcommittee, Chicago, IL (June 15, 2017)

    • CCBA & BWLA Newly Admitted Attorney Reception, (guest speaker) Chicago, IL (May 15, 2017) discussed the importance of civility, honor, and mentoring in the profession.

    • “Benefits and Mechanics of Diverse Partner Integration,” (co-author) Best Lawyers “Women in the Law” Spring Business Edition (April 2017)

    • “China’s New Anti­Corruption Laws: Paper Tiger or Pouncing Dragon,” (co­presenter) MCCA 11th Annual CLE Expo, Chicago, Ill. (March 22, 2012)

    • “Navigating Your Firm,” The Chicago Committee 2017 Law Firm Boot Camp Program for Junior Associates, (panelist) Chicago, IL (February 10, 2017)

    • “What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You: Using Investigations to Protect Your Organization From Loss,” Schiff Hardin Labor & Employment Breakfast Briefing, Chicago, Ill. (October 19, 2011)

    • “When It's Gets Personal: Advice to In­house Counsel on Avoiding Criminal and Civil Liability,” ECOA’s 19th Annual Ethics and Compliance Conference, Bellevue, Wash. (September 21, 2011)