Monica Khetarpal has the winning ability to be firm when needed and compassionate when appropriate. She knows the intricacies of her specialty, employment law with a sub-specialty in higher education, and she balances advocacy for her clients, business acumen and dedication to her community.
This combination has led to a thriving career and the respect of her colleagues.
“Monica is making her mark on Chicago’s legal profession as an impressive lawyer,” said Kerryann Haase Minton, managing partner of the Chicago office of Michael Best & Friedrich.
Minton should know. She retained Khetarpal to assist her with a matter with which Michael Best had a conflict two years ago. Minton pointed out she had plenty of contacts and options, but she chose Khetarpal because Minton knew just how talented an attorney she is.
“I specifically chose Monica because I knew she would not only attack the legal issues carefully and strategically, but that she had the finesse to manage the personalities,” Minton said.
As Minton expected, Khetarpal dove into the relevant data methodically, taking the time to investigate the facts and understand the law firm’s goals. Khetarpal was savvy in her approach with the various players, balancing their interests, goals and personalities.
With so much talent, it’s little surprise that Khetarpal has risen so steadily at her firm. She was made equity partner at Jackson Lewis at age 34, and serves as co-chair of the firm’s nationwide Higher Education Group. She and her co-chair built the group from the ground up in 2015, and it now serves more than 300 schools, assisting them with issues ranging from sexual misconduct matters to tenure disputes.
Scott Rice, campus legal counsel for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said that Khetarpal has a knack for solving problems for her clients, and doing so in the most efficient and effective ways.
“I have found Monica to possess tremendous judgment, collegiality and dedication to her clients and our profession,” Rice said. “She has an enviable ability to maintain calm focus during challenging matters. As a client, I am very appreciative of Monica’s demonstrated ability to market the skills and acumen her team can bring to a project while not appearing remotely pushy or over-marketing the potential client.”
Cassandra Miller, a partner with Chicago’s Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin, says Monica balances her legal career with a commitment to diversity and inclusion without sacrificing time with her family and community. “She cares passionately about her career and is a skilled litigator and counselor. She makes time to mentor women inside and outside of her firm and is dedicated to the recruitment and retention of women and minorities. At the same time, she volunteers at school fundraisers regularly, chaperones field trips and has deep ties and friendships in our local community.”
Despite the demands of her career, Khetarpal takes time to co-chair Jackson Lewis’ Asian Attorney Resource Group and serves as the diversity liaison for the firm’s Chicago office. She launched a program called Practicing and Parenting, which assists other parents within her office.
Recently Khetarpal’s hard work was acknowledged when she was awarded the Advocate for Diversity Award by the Diversity Scholarship Foundation.
Khetarpal’s success as a lawyer and her ability to balance a demanding career with family and volunteer work make her stand out from the crowd as she makes her mark in the legal world and community.