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

A significant portion of Ralph’s white collar defense work is non-public. These matters are typically successfully resolved without adverse government enforcement action. Two public examples of his practice are BP's criminal defense in the Department of Justice's investigation into the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Abbott Laboratories’ criminal defense in a Department of Justice investigation related to the company's marketing of its 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.

A substantial part of Ralph’s practice is dedicated to internal investigations and court-ordered monitorships. Like with his government defense work, many of Ralph’s internal investigations are successfully completed without public disclosure. As an example of a publicly disclosed investigation, Ralph’s team was responsible for the internal investigation of Valeant Pharmaceuticals on behalf of its Board of Directors related to its relationship with Philidor and accounting issues. As an example of a court-ordered monitorship, Ralph recently completed a five-year monitorship of the California utility Pacific Gas & Electric stemming from its 2016 conviction for the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.

Ralph also has extensive civil litigation experience focused on high-stakes, large-scale matters. Examples of his work include BP's MDL trial arising out of the Deepwater Horizon 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 Deepwater Horizon spill response efforts.

Prior to 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