2017 Forty Attorneys Under 40 Presentation

Trisha  Rich
Trisha Rich
Holland & Knight LLP
▶Commercial litigation and Professional Responsibility law
40 Under Class – 2017

While earning a string of successful results in commercial litigation with Holland & Knight, Trisha Rich is also making her mark across the broader professional community by shaping the way the law is practiced.

As a champion of legal ethics and professional responsibility, she provides assistance to her law firm and lawyer clients on fundamental matters such as fee disputes, conflicts, confidentiality and privilege, and professional disciplinary issues. Rich founded and coordinates the Attorney Defense Initiative, the first privately sponsored pro bono initiative in the nation that focuses on assisting impaired lawyers facing disciplinary charges. She also teaches legal ethics and professional responsibility as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law, and she is widely viewed as an expert in the field of professional responsibility. In addition to her work in the field of legal ethics, Rich has a bustling practice in commercial litigation, where she represents a wide variety of clients, including national and international companies, small businesses, municipalities and state agencies, and individuals.

“I have always found Trish to be a thoughtful and engaging attorney,” said Thomas Gray with Whitt Law, who worked closely with Rich in his former role as General Counsel of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois. “She is very good at understanding complex legal issues and finding efficient and favorable solutions for her clients. She’s incredibly good at making witnesses feel comfortable and teasing out important information.”

Her peers say that Rich’s success is well-earned. This is one attorney who never stops hustling for her clients, researching the relevant facts and law, and logging long hours, they say.

“Trisha is not someone who waits for things to be handed to her,” said Eric Dorkin with Chicago’s Clark Hill PLC. “She aggressively pursues what will best serve her clients.”

And while Rich has earned a string of successful results for her clients, she has also gained a reputation as one of the most devoted providers of pro bono work in the city.

Dorkin points to a constitutional challenge to a federal conviction that he worked on with Rich; the two lawyers jointly received the Northern District of Illinois Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service in 2011 for their work in the matter.

Victor Henderson with the Chicago law firm of Henderson Parks said that Rich is passionate about pro bono representation. “She is a thoughtful and diligent lawyer,” Henderson said. “She cares passionately about her clients and the law. She is a consummate professional who is able to understand her clients’ needs and strategically think about how to best achieve those goals.”

She has contributed more than 2,250 pro bono hours to various clients in need, and consistently volunteers with a diverse group of legal aid organizations. This year, she was selected as the recipient of the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation’s prestigious Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award, and Holland & Knight has recognized Rich’s commitment with several firm honors, including naming her a Pro Bono All-Star each year she’s been at the firm. In 2014, Rich was selected as a Holland & Knight Rising Star, for inclusion into the firm’s leadership and development training program.

In 2016, she also received the firm’s inaugural Living the Commitment Award, an honor given to the firm employee who best exemplified the firm’s commitment to providing superior legal services, embracing diversity, advancing the profession, and giving back to the community. Among her many outside activities, she serves on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois and is currently a member of Crain’s Leadership Academy.

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