Emily Nicklin has been lead trial counsel in both jury and bench trials, as well as arbitrations, in various state and federal venues including Arkansas, California, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. Her practice includes cases (both individual and class actions) concerning professional liability for accountants and consultants, securities and common law fraud, contract, tort (including product liability and personal injury), employment discrimination, constitutional law and municipal law.

Principal Representations

Emily has represented a variety of clients, including Accenture; BP/Amoco; City of Chicago; Deloitte & Touche LLP; Dow Chemical Company; Dow Corning; Ernst & Young LLP; FMC Corporation; Forstmann Little & Company; Medtronic, Inc.; Monsanto; Morgan Stanley; Navistar International Transportation Company (formerly International Harvester); PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP; PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (Canada); and Ubiquitel, Inc.

Education and Professional Background

Emily is a graduate of the University of Chicago (B.A. 1975, Phi Beta Kappa: junior year; J.D. 1977, Order of the Coif). She clerked for the Honorable George N. Leighton of the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois from 1977 through 1979, when she joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP. She became a partner in 1983 and served as a member of the Firm Management Committee in 1995 to 2010. She served as Deputy Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago from 1989 through 1991.



Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Ranked in The Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News and World Report, Best Lawyers® (1995–2024); selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© as one of the best in Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation (2010–2024)

Selected by peers as an “Illinois Super Lawyer” (2005–2024)

  • Named one of the “Top 100: Illinois Super Lawyers” by Super Lawyers (2021–2022, 2024)
  • Named one of the “Top 50 Women: Illinois Super Lawyers” by Super Lawyers (2005, 2009–2012, 2018, 2020–2022)
  • Profiled as the number one woman in Business Litigation in Illinois in “Preparing the Cross (Examination)” — Super Lawyers, February 2009
  • “Emily has the rare combination among trial lawyers of being intelligent, hardworking and practical.” — Illinois Super Lawyers 2009

Named as a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation (2021–2024)

Named in the Lawdragon “Hall of Fame” (2023) 

Ranked in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business in Litigation: General Commercial (2003–2024)

  • “She’s a super smart and very talented lawyer,” — Chambers USA 2023
  • “Emily is widely considered to be one of the premier trial lawyers in Chicago." — Chambers USA 2021
  • “She’s just amazing - she is great in court and has excellent judgment." — Chambers USA 2021
  • “Emily Nicklin is an ‘outstanding trial lawyer’ who has deep experience in the litigation arena.” — Chambers USA 2016
  • “Emily Nicklin has a formidable reputation for her handling of cases concerning professional liability, tort and securities fraud,” and has “tremendous courtroom strength.” — Chambers USA 2014, 2012
  • “Emily Nicklin 'is a seasoned trial lawyer with first-class client care.’” — Chambers USA 2011
  • “Emily Nicklin is a revered trial lawyer…known for her strength in accounting-related work." — Chambers USA 2008
  • “The 'high-energy and gifted' Emily Nicklin 'has a commitment and dedication to winning that is unparalleled…” 'She sees the case thematically,' remarked one client, 'from day one she is thinking about how to tell our story to a jury.'" — Chambers USA 2007
  • “'Tenacious litigator' Emily Nicklin makes an impact in trials across the country… Satisfied clients include accountancy and consulting firms who appreciate her 'outstanding' service in an increasingly intense regulatory climate." — Chambers USA 2006
  • “The 'fabulously skilled and diverse' Emily Nicklin…drew admiration for high-profile employment litigation and professional liability disputes, usually involving consultants and accountants." — Chambers USA 2005

Named one of the "Notable Nonprofit Board Leaders" by Crain's Chicago Business (2021)

Named one of the "Top 250 Women in Litigation" (2012–2018) by Benchmark Litigation

Chosen as one of "America’s Top 50 Women Litigators" in The National Law Journal

Named by Leading Lawyers Magazine as a Leading Lawyer (2004–2018, 2023)

  • Listed among the top Lawyers in Illinois for Commercial Litigation (2023)
  • Number one Leading Woman Business Lawyer in Illinois (2007–2018)
  • Listed among the top three Leading Women Lawyers overall in Illinois (2007–2018)
  • Listed among the top three Leading Women Litigators in Illinois (2008–2018)

Emily has "earned an excellent reputation for representing accountancy firms." — The Legal 500 U.S. 2012

She is recommended as an attorney that should be considered, as one client stated, "at the highest level of effective courtroom lawyers." — The Legal 500 U.S. 2007

The Best Lawyers Business Edition, "Women In The Law," recognized for Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation (2017); The American Lawyer “Litigation Department of the Year” (2008); profiled in “30 Tough Lawyers” in Chicago Magazine (March 2002); The International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigation LawyersGlobal Counsel’s Dispute Resolution Handbook; and The American Lawyer “Forty-five Under 45” (December 1995).

Memberships & Affiliations

Emily is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago and immediate past-Chair and current Executive Committee member of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees.


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1977Illinois


  • English
  • Spanish


  • University of Chicago Law SchoolJ.D.1977
    Order of the Coif
  • University of ChicagoB.A.1975
    Phi Beta Kappa (junior year)