For more than two decades, Jennifer Kraft has counseled employers on how to design, implement and maintain cutting-edge employee benefit programs. As a partner in the Employee Benefits group at Seyfarth Shaw, Jennifer assists companies in helping attract and retain employees through their employee benefit plans and navigate through the myriad of intersecting (and ever-changing) benefits laws.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan and received her law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1996. She started her practice in appellate law and argued her first case before the Minnesota Court of Appeals as a second year associate. She joined Seyfarth in 1998, where she initially practiced in the Labor & Employment group, advising clients on the nuances of employment law before shifting her focus to employee benefits in 2000.
Skilled at assisting employers with their employee benefits plans, Jennifer has spent the past year helping employers nationwide address the COVID-19 pandemic by assisting with furlough and medical coverage issues, early retirement and severance plans, and COVID-19 testing and vaccine protocols. This fast-paced practice requires her to quickly digest evolving legal guidance to provide practical advice for her clients. Jennifer also advises clients on fiduciary governance issues related to their retirement and welfare benefit plans and counsels fiduciary committees on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations, an area that is quickly evolving around the globe.
Jennifer leads the Seyfarth Women’s Network in the Chicago office and is the vice- chair of the firm-wide women’s affinity group. She helps drive the firm’s worldwide philanthropic efforts with Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation organization. Jennifer is co-chair of the Leadership Forum for the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law (Chicago). She is a former chair of The Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women, and co-founder of the Mentoring Circles Program. Jennifer also leads the Lawyer Development Committee for the Employee Benefits group, serves as a mentor and coach in the firm’s mentoring programs, and serves on the firm’s Charitable Foundation Board.
Highly regarded by clients and peers, Jennifer is ranked as a leading lawyer in Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation (Illinois) in Chambers USA 2021, and is a “Recommended Attorney” in Employee Benefits in The Legal 500 USA. In 2019, she was named to the Crain’s Chicago list of “Notable Gen X Leaders in Law.”
Jennifer is passionate about helping women succeed in Big Law and beyond. After having her first child, Jennifer became the first associate at Seyfarth to make partner while working reduced hours. She has found inspiration and support in a variety of women’s groups and continuously looks for opportunities to “pay it forward.” In 2020, she authored “Achieving Work Life Balance,” a chapter of PLI’s Stepping It Up: A Guide for Mid-Level Law Firm Associates. She continues to strive for work-life balance in her own life and advocate for and support those forging their own paths. She lives in Chicago with her husband of 25 years and their two teenage sons.