Ralph Dado is a partner in Kirkland's white collar (Government, Regulatory & Internal Investigations) and litigation groups. His white collar practice focuses on investigations, monitorships, and corporate criminal defense, and his litigation practice focuses on high-stakes, large-scale civil matters.

A centerpiece of Ralph’s practice is the conduct of robust investigations and monitorships. His investigations work occurs at all levels of companies and other entities, including in the C-suite and at the board. A significant portion of this work is non-public, but as public examples, Ralph’s team investigated Valeant Pharmaceuticals on behalf of its board regarding its relationship with Philidor and accounting issues, and Ralph recently completed the investigation of Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne on behalf of Stanford’s board regarding allegations of research misconduct. As an example of a monitorship, from 2017–2022, Ralph was a principal member of the team responsible for monitoring Pacific Gas & Electric stemming from its 2016 conviction for the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.

A substantial part of Ralph's practice is dedicated to white collar defense work. These matters are typically successfully resolved without adverse government enforcement. As two public examples of Ralph’s practice, his team was responsible for BP's criminal defense in the Department of Justice's investigation into the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil rig explosion and oil spill, and they defended Abbott Laboratories in a Department of Justice investigation related to its marketing of the drug Depakote. Over his career, Ralph has defended companies in many different sectors against investigations involving, among others, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), numerous United States Attorneys’ Offices and various state agencies.

Ralph also has extensive civil litigation experience focused on high-stakes, large-scale matters. Examples of his work include BP's MDL trial for the DWH oil rig explosion and oil spill, defense of AbbVie in consumer protection litigation in Louisiana state court, nationwide defense of General Motors related to ignition switch recalls, defense of the City of Chicago in its lead pipe water contamination litigation in Illinois state court, and defense of BP in several hundred cases in federal courts concerning personal injury claims allegedly associated with DWH spill response efforts.

Before joining Kirkland, Ralph worked as a principal researcher and analyst for Judge Richard Posner and Professor William Landes. His contributions to their work are acknowledged in a number of published books, including The Behavior of Federal Judges: A Theoretical and Empirical Study of Rational Choice (Posner, Landes & Epstein, 2012); The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy (Posner, 2010); A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent Into Depression (Posner, 2009) and articles, including "Why (And When) Judges Dissent: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis" 3 J. Legal Analysis 101 (Posner, Landes & Epstein, 2011); "Rational Judicial Behavior: A Statistical Study" 1 J. Legal Analysis 775 (Posner & Landes, 2009); and "Uncertainty Aversion and Economic Depressions" 52 Challenge 25 (Posner, 2009).


Thought Leadership


The University of Chicago / Northwestern Joint Workshop on Judicial Behavior, Participant & Paper Author, 2008–2010

Georgetown University Liberal Arts Seminar, Participant, 2002–2003

Memberships & Affiliations

Member, Board of Advisors, Catholic Charities

Member, Union League Club of Chicago

Member, Omicron Delta Epsilon


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2010Illinois


  • English
  • Latin


  • University of Chicago Law SchoolJ.D.2010
    Rex Lee Scholar
  • Georgetown UniversityB.A., Economics & Political Sciencemagna cum laude2006
    Degree Honors in Economics