Rachel Cowen is a partner and highly regarded employment litigator in McDermott Will & Emery’s labor and employment practice group, sitting in the firm’s Chicago office where she focuses her practice in various employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases in federal and state courts.
Her experience includes prosecuting and defending employee mobility and trade secret litigation on an emergency injunctive basis. She also counsels employers facing union organizing activity and picketing, and has successfully tried numerous cases before the National Labor Relations Board. She also handles collective bargaining and labor arbitrations. Additionally, Rachel represents financial services companies and professional engineering firms in unfair competition cases.
In recent years, she has carved out a reputation as a leading name in the area of gender and pay equity and has conducted a number of pay equity reviews on behalf of corporate clients.
On the labor side, she counsels employers facing union organizing activity and picketing, and has successfully tried numerous cases before the National Labor Relations Board. She also handles collective bargaining and labor arbitrations.
Beyond her impressive client work, Rachel is fiercely committed to pro bono service. She brings the same level of attention and dedication to her pro bono matters as she would with her largest clients. Most notably, Rachel worked with Northwestern Law School’s wrongful conviction program on the same case for a number of years, ultimately succeeding after much perseverance.
While Rachel has an intensely busy practice, often handling multiple litigation matters, C-Suite investigations and advice, and other high-stake client matters, she is also a devoted mentor. Whether she is splitting credit with junior female partners or seeking out opportunities to give associates exciting work that expands their skills and gets them entrenched in client relationships, Rachel is a tremendous leader at the firm.
Rachel is a known thought leader in the employment space and regularly presents to clients on topics including the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictive covenants, workplace harassment prevention, and diversity and inclusion. To further promote inclusivity in the profession, Rachel co-chairs the firm’s Women in the C-Suite and Office of the General Counsel and Employer Think Tank events aimed at moving the needle on diversity and inclusion.
Rachel’s work in the employment space has not gone unrecognized. She was most recently included in Crain’s Chicago Business’ “Notable Women in Law 2020” list and has also been recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a Labor & Employment Star and is included in The Legal 500 U.S. 2020 Rankings as well as Chambers USA.
Rachel received her B.A. from Eastern Illinois University and later received her J.D., graduating from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law with high honors, Order of the Coif.