Michelle Parthum
MoloLamken LLP
Complex commercial litigation

Michelle Parthum has that rarest of talents: She takes on complex cases, reduces them to their most essential points and is then able to communicate these points effectively to her clients, judges and juries. 

This ability, combined with Parthum's legal smarts, work ethic and dedication to her clients, explains why Parthum has gained such an outstanding reputation among her clients and peers.  In a relatively short legal career, Parthum has achieved great success as a commercial litigator across a broad array of industries in the city of Chicago and beyond.

Following a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, she cut her teeth at New York’s Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.  She joined MoloLamken believing she could play a bigger role in solving clients’ complex problems sooner.  And she has.  

Parthum is no stranger to big cases.  Her matters have involved billions of dollars, multi-jurisdiction disputes, and cutting-edge issues like the rights to ancient artifacts held by the University of Chicago—a matter in which she and her team won an 8-0 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court.  

Parthum has substantial trial experience, having tried multiple federal cases to jury verdicts, delivering opening and closing statements, and conducting witness examinations.  Her experience includes a six-week bankruptcy trial conducted simultaneously before courts in the United States and Canada to determine the allocation of over $7 billion among the debtor estates of a multinational corporation. 

Parthum has significant experience in structured finance litigation, having represented investors in precedent-setting residential mortgage-backed securities “putback” litigation.  She also has considerable experience in securities litigation on both the plaintiff and defense side, having successfully defended a global financial institution against a putative securities class action that traveled through the U.S. Supreme Court and the Second Circuit, and also acted as appellate counsel for a putative class appealing the dismissal of their securities claims in the Fifth Circuit.

Parthum’s performance has earned her praise.  "Michelle is an exceptional litigator," said Jane VanLare, partner with Cleary Gottlieb.  "She is smart, strategic, dedicated and a fantastic oral advocate for her clients.  She was one of the most talented lawyers I have ever worked with."

According to Michelle’s co-counsel in another matter, "Michelle came through in a big way…. She was very responsive, clear in her analysis and insightful into our adversary's motivations."

A former public school teacher, Parthum takes particular interest in mentoring and training other lawyers.  She has served as a faculty member at the University of Chicago Law School’s Intensive Trial Practice Workshop and since 2020 has prepared and presented four different CLEs on topics ranging from deposition skills to attorney-client privilege to well-being and resilience for lawyers.