Richard T. Kienzler
Freeborn & Peters LLP
Commercial litigation
40 Under Class – 2019

Rick Kienzler is one of those rare attorneys who shines in every situation. His peers say he’s as comfortable running point on large cases in which he manages teams of lawyers as he is taking a more personal approach in smaller matters in which he handles every aspect of a case.

Why? It could be because Kienzler is a smart attorney, one who is never outworked on a case and one who will do whatever it takes to best represent his clients.

“Rick is whip-smart, hard-working and able to do it all,” said nominator Matthew Campobasso, a litigator with Chicago’s ElevateNext. “He’s a great writer, a great orator and, above all else, a great person.”

Brad Bergmooser, general counsel with Vernon Hills-based Baxter Credit Union, worked with Kienzler when he, too, worked at Freeborn & Peters. Now, Baxter Credit Union is a client of Freeborn’s that Kienzler has represented in legal matters. And Bergmooser said this young attorney has done, as expected, an outstanding job.

“Rick is the one of the most logical and practical thinking lawyers I’ve ever encountered,” Bergmooser said. “As a client, this is by far the most exceptional skill I look for in retaining counsel. He innately understands that the true value an attorney provides a client is the ability to rationally approach and resolve a matter.”

As Bergmooser says, because the law is so often adversarial, it’s easy to overlook that the truly successful attorneys are those who calmly resolve conflicts, not create them.

And that approach? It epitomizes how Kienzler approaches his practice, Bergmooser said.

Count James Witz, with Chicago’s Littler Mendelson, as another fan of Kienzler’s. He has worked with Kienzler on several significant non-compete trade secret matters. He says that Kienzler played a significant role in at least three TRO and preliminary injunction proceedings on both the offense and defense, all leading to victories.

The most notable? Witz points to the defense of a TRO in federal court in which a significant new hire of a major client was at risk of being enjoined on a non-compete agreement he had signed. Kienzler worked tirelessly over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to respond in a timely and strong fashion. Kienzler and the legal team defeated the TRO and the non-compete was found unenforceable.

When not working for his clients, Kienzler finds time to give back to his community. He has volunteered with the Graceland West Community Association, Legal Aid Chicago and Loyola University Chicago’s moot court program. He is also a past special projects coordinator for The Chicago Bar Association.