When her friends and colleagues describe Valerie Brummel, they invariably say she is “smart“ and “nice.” Both are apt, but they overlook one other important quality she has as a lawyer. As befits a former Michigan All-State tennis player, Valerie confidently and strategically plays to win. She focuses much of her time on written advocacy and has found that a well-turned brief is as satisfying an event as a sharply placed first serve.
Valerie gained valuable insight about judicial decision-making as a law clerk for a federal judge in Chicago. While in that unique position, Valerie managed several trials by serving as the point-of-contact for attorneys throughout multiple stages including pretrial motion practice, jury selection, and entry of judgment. She also advised the judge on complex legal issues and drafted dozens of judicial opinions in a wide variety of civil and criminal cases.
Valerie is not only an effective advisor: she’s also a forceful advocate. While pursuing her J.D. at Northwestern, Valerie worked as a student attorney at the Center on Wrongful Convictions, where she litigated her client’s petition for habeas corpus during an evidentiary hearing in the Northern District of Illinois, and the judge granted the petition in 2018.
Valerie brings her skillset and trademark passion to her work at Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila. Since joining the firm, Valerie has represented Fortune 500 companies facing class action litigation by drafting motions, briefs, and settlement agreements. She has provided legal counsel to clients ranging from manufacturing companies to architecture firms. In addition, Valerie has defended a national university in Title VI and Title IX litigation and served as an external investigator for educational institutions. She also authored ethics opinions and policies for a municipal corporation.
In her free time, Valerie enjoys playing fetch with her dog, exploring Chicago’s abundant restaurant scene, and, of course, playing tennis.
Law Clerk, Hon. Andrea R. Wood, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2018 2019)
Judicial Extern, Hon. Robert M. Dow, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2014)
- Defended Fortune 100 company in class action litigation in federal court.
- Defended a prestigious university in litigation alleging racial and sexual discrimination and harassment in state court.
- Conducted multiple Title IX investigations at an elite liberal arts college.
- Written ethics opinions and policies for a municipal body politic.
- Counseled clients ranging from manufacturing companies to architecture firms.
- Conducted pro bono work on behalf of wrongfully convicted individuals bringing actual innocence claims.
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, J.D., 2017, cum laude
Center on Wrongful Convictions
Deputy Managing Editor, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology
Teaching Assistant: Torts
Foundation of the Federal Bar Association Robert A. McNew Scholar
Kirkland & Ellis Scholar, Criminal Law
John Henry Wigmore Scholar
University of Michigan, B.A., Psychology, 2013, with honors
James B. Angell Scholar
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
“The Development of Qualified Immunity, How It Has Shielded Unprecedented Police Misconduct, and What Lies Ahead," (author) Illinois State Bar Association's Bench & Bar Section Newsletter (June 2020, vol. 50, no. 8)
“Illinois Imposes Price Controls in Wake of COVID-19,” (co-author) (March 26, 2020)
“Perfect timing: The right time to release legal holds," (co-author) Illinois State Bar Association's Bench & Bar Section Council Newsletter (July 2018, vol. 49, no. 1)
Parental Kidnapping, Criminal Contempt of Court, and the Double Jeopardy Clause: A Recommendation for State Courts, (author) 106 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 315 (2016)