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Deane B. Brown

F 312.604.2663
Deane B. Brown, a Shareholder with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., has earned a highly regarded reputation in the Chicago legal community as a tenacious, strategic and skilled advocate for her clients. 

An accomplished lawyer for 30 years, Ms. Brown has extensive experience representing executives and employees in all areas of employment law, including severance negotiations, employment discrimination claims and retaliatory discharge cases.  Ms. Brown represents clients who have been the victims of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and disability discrimination.  She represents women who have been sexually harassed in the workplace, sales representatives who have been wrongfully denied bonuses and commissions, and executives in challenging overbroad and unenforceable non-competition agreements, among many other types of employment matters.  Ms. Brown regularly represents clients in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights and in federal and state courts.

Ms. Brown is extremely experienced in representing C-Suite and senior executives in public and private companies in negotiating and drafting employment agreements.  She handles sophisticated equity and compensation issues involving long-term and short-term incentive plans, stock options, and restricted stock unit agreements.  Ms. Brown also assists clients in negotiating signing and retention bonuses, non-compete and non-solicit provisions as well as confidentiality and trade secret agreements.  She also handles shareholder and partnership agreements.

Ms. Brown is a leader in the Chicago legal community.  She currently serves as President of the Illinois Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), and previously served as President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Chair of the ISBA Bench & Bar Section Council, and Chair of the ISBA Professional Conduct Committee.  In addition, Ms. Brown is a strong supporter of other professional women.  She served as President of the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago and is a founder of the Exclusive Professional Women’s Networking Group (EPWNG).

Ms. Brown has been repeatedly recognized as a top lawyer in Illinois. In May 2020, Ms. Brown was one of 50 Honorees selected for the Inaugural Women In Law Award, sponsored by The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin & Chicago Lawyer Magazine.  The Women In Law Award honors women lawyers for their work to mentor and promote other women in the profession, their success in the legal community and being a shining example of leadership.  For the last eight years, Ms. Brown has been named to the list of Top 100 Lawyers In Illinois and for more than a decade, she has been named to the list of Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois in all practice areas, in Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine.  Only the top 5% of lawyers in Illinois are selected as Super Lawyers, using a multi-step evaluation process involving a statewide survey of lawyers, independent panel research and in-depth evaluation of background and experience by practice area.

Ms. Brown has also been selected by her peers for inclusion in the 2010 and all subsequent editions of The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law.  She has been recognized in Leading Lawyers Network Magazine-Women’s Edition as being among the Top Ten Women Lawyers in Illinois among all practice areas; the Top Ten Women Business Lawyers; and the Top Ten Women Litigators.  Ms. Brown has received an AV rating under the Martindale-Hubbell® Lawyer Rating System, indicating that she has “reached the height of professional excellence” and “is recognized for the highest level of skill and integrity.”

In addition, Ms. Brown has been honored for her contributions to the legal profession.  In 2015, Ms. Brown received the Top Women Lawyers In Leadership Award by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.  This award is given to outstanding women lawyers serving in a leadership role, who have excelled within their chosen field and who have gone beyond traditional mentoring to create new pathways for other women.  In addition, Ms. Brown was named by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company in 2012 as one of 15 women attorneys in the legal community making a unique impact on the profession.


Boston University School of Law (J.D. 1990) — Note Contributor, Boston University Annual Review of Banking Law
University of Cambridge, England (M.Phil 1987)
The Johns Hopkins University (B.A. 1986)


Illinois (1990)
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Professional Recognition

Top Women Lawyers In Leadership Award (2015) by Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
Named Top Ten Women Lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyers Network Magazine-Women’s Edition (2012)
Named Top 100 Lawyers In Illinois by Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine (2013-2020)
Named Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois by Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine (2009, 2010 & 2012-2020)
Named Top 15 Women Attorneys in the legal community making a unique impact on the profession by Law Bulletin Publishing Company (2012)

Memberships / Admissions

Women’s Bar Association of Illinois — Ex Officio, 2012-2013 — President, 2011-2012 — First Vice President, 2010-2011 — Second Vice President, 2009-2010 — Treasurer, 2008-2009 — Member, Board of Directors, 2007-2008 — Co-Chair, WBAI Public Office Committee — Member, The Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening
Professional Women’s Club of Chicago — President, 2006-2007 — Vice President, 2005-2006 — Chair, Programs Committee, 2003-2005 — Advisory Committee Member, 2008-present
United States Magistrate Merit Selection Panel and Merit Review Panel — Appointed as Panel Member by Chief Judge of the United States District for the Northern District of Illinois, 2012-2013
Illinois Bar Foundation — President, June 2019-present — First Vice President, 2018-2019 — Second Vice President, 2017-2018 — Third Vice President, 2016-2017 — Fellows Chair, 2015-2016 — Board Member, 2013-present
Illinois State Bar Association —Member, Labor & Employment Law Section Council, 2018-2019 —Member, Standing Committee on Women & The Law, 2018-2019 —Ex Officio, Bench & Bar Sectional Council, 2018-2019 —Chair, Bench & Bar Section Council, 2017-2018 —Vice Chair, Bench & Bar Section Council, 2016-2017 —Secretary, Bench & Bar Section Council, 2015-2016 — Appointed to Bench and Bar Section Council, 2012-2014 — Chair, Assembly Rules and Bylaws Committee, 2012-2014 — Appointed to Special Task Force on the Future of the Courts, 2013-2014 — Appointed to Assembly Governance Committee, 2013-2014 — Elected to the Assembly, 2011-2014 — Secretary, Standing Committee on Supreme Court Rules, 2010-2011 — Appointed to the Legislation Committee, 2009 — Chair, Standing Committee on Professional Conduct 2005-2006 — Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Professional Conduct 2004-2005 — Secretary, Standing Committee on Professional Conduct 2003-2004 — Member, Standing Committee on Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, 2000-2001
Chicago Bar Association — Member, Committee to Prevent Attorney Malpractice, 2000-2007
Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers
Provisor’s Network — Executive Committee Member

Speeches & Presentations

“6 Reasons I Support the Equal Rights Amendment as an Employment Lawyer.” Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Blog, wbaiillinois.org (April 28, 2017).
“Malpractice by ‘of counsel’ tough to sort out.” Lawyers’ Forum (Mar. 1, 2013).
“May Lawyers Sell Discounted Services on a ‘Deal of the Day’ Site?” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Oct. 23, 2012).
“Rule Tries to Address Intentionally ‘Conflicting Out’ Lawyers.” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Sept. 18, 2012).
“Some Actions Should Not Occur When Responding to an ARDC Beef.” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Aug. 28, 2012).
“Lawyers Must Not Mislead the Public.” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (July 12, 2012).
“Ethical Considerations Exist in Advertising with Client Testimonials.” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (June 11, 2012).
“From Office Sharing to Letterhead: The Ethics of Holding Yourself Out to the Public,” Illinois Bar Journal (July 2001).
Contributing Author, “Base Offense Level and Specific Offense Characteristics,” Practice Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines published by P. Bamberger (1993).
“Pretrial Discovery in Federal Court,” Federal Criminal Practice published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (1992).
Note Author, “Basic Banking: Has the financial Services Industry Severed the Lifeline of Low-Income Consumers?,” Boston University Annual Review of Banking Law (1990).
The Equal Rights Amendment: Why It Still Matters and How It Will Affect Our Future, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois (October 2016).
A Discussion on Employment, Labor & Inclusion, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois (May 2016).
Women Leaders in Labor and Management, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois (May 2016).
How to Get the Business: A Conversation with Givers and Getters, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois (Apr. 2015).
Using Grit and Growth Mindset to Advance Women in the Law, Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago, Illinois (Feb. 2015).
Marketing Mayhem: Gaining Clients While Playing By The Rules, panel discussion, Law Bulletin Seminars, Chicago, Illinois (May 2012).
Overcome Gender Stereotypes and Transform Your Career, panel discussion, Women’s Leadership & Mentoring Alliance, Chicago, Illinois (Apr. 2012).
Young Lawyers, Young Leaders, panel discussion, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Program at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois (Apr. 2012).
Family Law Initial Client Intakes and Ethical Considerations in Family Law, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois (Nov. 2011).
Taking Diversity Seriously: Being a Woman in the Legal Industry, Chicago Lawyer Off The Pages Diversity Conference, Chicago, Illinois (Nov. 2011).
Ethical Considerations in Divorce, Illinois Institute For Continuing Legal Education, Chicago, Illinois (Nov. 2010).
Ethical Issues For Attorneys And Experts, Law Seminars International, Chicago, Illinois (Mar. 2006).
Avoiding Malpractice, CBA Young Lawyers Section Seminar on Professional Responsibility (Mar. 2001).
Conflicts of Interest in Family Law Practice, CBA Matrimonial Law Committee Seminar (Feb. 2001).
Ethical Issues Relating to Office Shares, Of Counsels, Co-Counsels and Independent Contractors: Ethical Issues Regarding Firm Names and Letterhead, ISBA Ethics Seminar (Dec. 2000).


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