Elena A. Baca

Elena Baca is our exclusively recommended Real Estate Law expert in Illinois on the Advisory Excellence website. If you need assistance in this area, please contact Elena directly using the contact details listed above.

Elena is an associate in the Global M&A Practice Group and a member of the Real Estate Industry Group, based in the Chicago office.

Elena’s practice focuses on acquisitions, dispositions, financings and office and retail leasing.

Elena Baca is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch” for Real Estate Law by Best Lawyers (2021).

Firm Overview:

Supporting our clients around the globe

White & Case is a truly global law firm, uniquely positioned to help our clients achieve their ambitions in today’s G20 world.

As a pioneering international law firm, our cross-border experience and diverse team of local, US and English-qualified lawyers consistently deliver results for our clients.

In both established and emerging markets, our lawyers are integral, long-standing members of the community, giving our clients insights into the local business environment alongside our experience in multiple jurisdictions.

We work with some of the world’s most respected and well-established banks and businesses, as well as start-up visionaries, governments and state-owned entities.

Lizzie Abramson

Lizzie Abramson is our exclusively recommended Divestment Services expert in Illinois on the Advisory Excellence website. If you need assistance in this area, please contact Lizzie directly using the contact details listed above.

Lizzie is a corporate associate in the Chicago office. Lizzie concentrates her practice on counselling clients with respect to their private merger, acquisition, divestiture and financing transactions, both domestically and internationally. Her transaction experience includes representation of privately held clients with a global presence, family-owned and closely held businesses, private equity and venture capital funds, franchisors, family offices and entrepreneurs. Lizzie also advises clients on matters relating to general corporate and governance matters, reorganisations, capital raising, and venture capital investments. Lizzie is admitted to practice law in Illinois and Minnesota.

Firm Overview:

The practice in our Chicago office focuses on Real Estate, Finance, Financial Services and Bankruptcy (including Real Estate Finance, Bankruptcy and Business Reorganisation, Insurance and Reinsurance, Finance, and Project Finance), Litigation, Franchise and Distribution, Intellectual Property, REITS and Real Estate Securitisations, Information Technology, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Environmental, Labour and Employment Law, Corporate and Securities, Venture Capital and Emerging Companies, Trusts and Estates, International Transactions, and Tax.

Cathy A. Birkeland

Cathy Birkeland is our exclusively recommended Capital Markets Law expert in Illinois on the Advisory Excellence website. If you need assistance in this area, please contact Cathy directly using the contact details listed above.

Cathy, Chicago Office Managing Partner and former Global Co-Chair of the Capital Markets Practice, helps issuers, underwriters, and investors execute successful capital markets transactions, and advises public companies and boards of directors on corporate governance and securities law matters.

For more than two decades, Cathy has advised clients on a broad array of capital markets transactions, including:

  • Initial public offerings (IPO)
  • Dual track IPO/M&A processes
  • Spin-off transactions
  • Follow-on offerings
  • Block trades
  • ATM programs

Cathy advises public and private companies of all sizes across the globe, including Fortune 500 companies, emerging growth companies, investment banking firms, investors, and private equity firms. She has experience with numerous industries, including technology, hospitality, REITs, consumer retail, financial services, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.

When counselling public companies and their boards of directors, she draws on her insights into the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and regulatory processes to advise on:

  • ’34 Act reporting
  • Complex disclosure requirements
  • Corporate governance best practices
  • NYSE/Nasdaq listing
  • Securities regulation
  • Tender offers
  • Consent solicitations
  • Private placements
  • Rule 144
  • Section 16
  • Share repurchase programs
  • 10b5-1 trading plans
  • Financial reporting

Highly regarded by clients and peers, Cathy has been named as one of the Most Influential Women Lawyers in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business, which recognised her as a “first-rate capital markets lawyer.” The Chicago Business Journal also named Cathy to its 2018 Women of Influence list.

She regularly speaks on capital markets and corporate governance matters at industry conferences. She serves on the Executive Committee of the annual Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate & Securities Law Institute, sponsored by Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Edward John Manzke

A gifted personal injury lawyer, Edward John Manzke excels in understanding the facts and law concerning how a client was injured, and in developing a legal strategy to win just compensation. He is passionate about representing injured people who are at a low point in their lives and need legal help. A lawyer since 1992, Ed has won verdicts and favourable settlements for his clients in the following cases:

  • Personal Injury
  • Car Accident
  • Bus Accident
  • Environmental Contamination
  • Toxic Chemical Exposure
  • Wrongful Death
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Defective Products Liability
  • Premises Liability
  • Construction Accidents

Ed has been selected as an Illinois “Super Lawyer” for 2006, 2007, 2009- 2018. Considered among the best in their profession, Super Lawyers represent the top 5% of the practising attorneys in Illinois. Ed’s personal injury cases have been the subject of extensive media coverage and have appeared on multiple news outlets, including CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and MSNBC. Most recently, Ed appeared on MSNBC’s “Caught On Camera” television show to discuss one of his recent personal injury cases. The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin has also recently featured Ed’s work in a multi-million dollar DuPage County personal injury case.

In the past fifteen years, Ed has recovered over $100 million dollars for his clients. Here are a few examples of his successes:

In 2018, Ed recovered $4 million dollars for his clients in personal injury cases. In 2016 and 2017, Ed recovered over $5 million in verdicts and settlements in personal injury and environmental contamination cases.

During 2014 and 2015, Ed secured over $6 million for his clients in cases ranging from wrongful death, and product liability to automobile accidents and premises liability. Ed is believed to be the first plaintiff’s attorney in Illinois and one of the first in the country, to successfully prosecute a wrongful death case involving the negligent manufacture of synthetic drugs.

In 2013, Ed recovered over $8 Million on behalf of his personal injury clients and victims of environmental contamination.

In 2012, Ed finalised a settlement of over $2 million on behalf of a high school student injured by a fall during her gym class. In 2011, he resolved an environmental class action lawsuit for over $8 million. In 2010, he recovered $1.35 million dollars on behalf of a client injured in an automobile accident. During 2009, Ed recovered over $17 million dollars on behalf of his personal injury clients and victims of environmental contamination. In 2008, Ed won a jury verdict of $4.74 million on behalf of a firm client who was injured as a result of medical negligence. In 2007, Ed recovered $8.5 million on behalf of a client who was injured in an automobile collision. In 2006, Ed obtained a jury verdict of $1,050,000 for the wrongful death of a college student on behalf of a family whose daughter was killed while a student. This verdict is the largest ever recorded in Knox County, Illinois. Ed’s jury verdict of $2.35 million of behalf of one of the Firm’s small business clients was featured in Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Illinois’ largest verdicts during 2004.

Over the past several years, Ed has dedicated himself to several environmental class action and toxic tort cases, fighting for the innocent victims of groundwater, air and soil contamination. The results of these legal battles have been outstanding and include recovery of over $72 million in damages for victims of environmental pollution and the development of new legal precedent making it easier for innocent families to seek relief as a class of citizens. Ed is most proud of the fact that through the Firm’s efforts, over 16,000 people have been provided with a safe source of drinking water. Ed’s extensive work in environmental litigation has led him to be named as an expert witness in environmental litigation matters.

Ed has represented his clients in the Illinois Supreme Court, the Illinois Appellate Court, Illinois state courts and federal courts throughout the country. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received his B.A. in Economics. As an undergrad, Ed was named a George Huff award winner, recognising his proficiency in scholarship and athletics. While an undergrad, Ed was a member of the Dean’s List and earned a varsity letter in basketball. Ed continued his studies at the University of Illinois where he received his law degree and was a member of the Dean’s List.

Ed is a member of the American Association for Justice, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and the Illinois, Chicago, and DuPage County Bar Associations. He has been a volunteer advocate for the Illinois Pro Bono Center, helping disabled children maintain their governmental benefits. Ed has taught “Effective Business Communication” at the University of Illinois, and multiple courses at the American Institute for Paralegal Studies. Ed has also lectured on environmental law issues at the Chicago Bar Association.

In addition to his legal career, Ed believes strongly in community involvement. For several years, Ed served on the Board of Directors for Naperville Youth Basketball Association. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the “H Foundation,” a local non-profit organisation raising money for cancer research. Ed has also served as a director of a Naperville based non-profit organisation raising money for victims of depression and anxiety disorders and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Community Career Center, a Naperville based non-profit organisation dedicated to helping people struggling to get back into the workplace.

Martha Watt

With more than 30 years of marketing, sales and consulting experience, Martha Watt has developed a strength for building valuable solutions that help Fortune 1000 corporations with complex human performance challenges. Martha is also passionate about working with organizations to ensure and continually improve the client and employee experience.

In her role with Gagen MacDonald, Martha is responsible for marketing and business development, working with an outstanding team to enhance brand value and increase visibility of the firm. Her responsibilities include: corporate brand and marketing oversight; industry, solution and client marketing support to the consulting teams; and business development support for the company.

Prior to joining Gagen, Martha was the VP sales, marketing and customer experience for a boutique consulting firm focused in change management, learning and communications services to Fortune 1000 companies. She helped launch the firm’s change management practice, oversaw the learning and change management leader roundtables, and provided sales and marketing leadership and support in driving the company transformation plan.

Martha’s career has included sales, marketing and consulting roles in technology, management and human capital consulting and in the recruiting and learning space. She has supported Fortune 1000 clients in a variety of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, insurance/financial services and consumer products/retail.

Martha is currently a member of the Association of Change Management Professionals, Association of Talent Development, and the Executive Club of Chicago and serves on the Board of the Kellogg Executive Women’s Network, a group of 3,500 Kellogg women alumni. She also has served on many not-for-profit boards and foundations focusing on education, children and women’s leadership development.

Martha has a Masters Degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Strategy, Marketing and International Business. She has her Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Industrial & Operations Engineering from University of Michigan.

Firm Overview:

Gagen MacDonald is a strategy execution consulting firm specializing in internal communication, employee engagement, culture change and leadership development. We work inside companies to move corporate and operating strategies off the shelf and into the workplace, turning them into reality. Whether you’re making major operational changes, building your brand or launching an entirely new strategy, business transformation is required for success.

To drive change, we help create an employee mindset toward alignment, action and urgency to improve business performance and make your company a better place to work. We help you to achieve the results you desire by ensuring employees have the information they need and the inspiration to act.

Kathleen Zellner

Kathleen Zellner is our exclusively recommended Civil Rights Law expert in Illinois on the Advisory Excellence website. If you need assistance in this area, please contact Kathleen directly using the contact details listed above.

Kathleen has the rare distinction of having won major verdicts in civil and criminal cases. Most trial attorneys only try cases in one area of law. Ms. Zellner has won first degree murder trials, multi-million dollar civil verdicts, criminal and civil appeals, and post-conviction exonerations.

She is the only trial attorney in the United States who has won 5 multi-million dollar record verdicts in the span of 11 months. She currently has the highest civil rights verdict in the United States calculated per months of incarceration, totalling $1 million per month. Additionally, she has the highest false arrest settlement, calculated at $1,550 per minute for a total of $1.4 million for a 90 minute false arrest. There is no other civil rights attorney in the United States who has won larger verdicts when the months of incarceration or the minutes of false arrest are calculated. By monthly comparison, a $21 million verdict for 11 years would be $159,000 per month. Another example is a $9 million verdict for 4 years imprisonment, totals $187,500 per month.

The underlying premise of Zellner’s remarkable success is that she is not just “practicing” law, she is getting unparalleled results. Her ability to win in the courtroom, no matter the type of case, is the result of her creative trial strategies to winning for the victims of injustice.

Firm Overview:

The Law Offices of Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates is based in the Chicago, Illinois, area. Our team of trial lawyers concentrates on winning major civil rights violations, medical malpractice, prisoner abuse, criminal appeals, post-conviction, and habeas actions throughout the United States. We deal decisively and courageously with legal matters that profoundly affect the lives of people from all walks of life.