Allison, a partner in the Compensation & Employment and Litigation groups, is a versatile employment litigator, trial attorney, and counselor who brings considerable experience to meaningfully expand Barack Ferrazzano's offerings after spending more than a decade handling high-profile and “bet-the-company” matters for diverse clients across the country.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Allison’s employment litigation practice emphasizes claims of discrimination and harassment in private lawsuits, as well as government agency actions under federal and state anti-discrimination statutes on behalf of claimants. Allison also has served as co-counsel in several federal and state wage and hour collective action matters. She has successfully litigated and resolved numerous single-plaintiff cases through effective discovery management, motion practice, and settlement. In addition, Allison has on multiple occasions played a lead role in implementing sophisticated, and ultimately successful, defense strategies in high-profile multi-plaintiff and class action cases. Her past clients include a Fortune 5 telecommunications conglomerate, a Fortune 15 auto manufacturer, and a leading global pharmaceutical company.
Between 2017 and 2019, Allison secured complete defense victories in multiple trials. She served in the role of a Special Appointed Attorney General while defending a former Illinois State official against highly publicized claims of retaliation involving underlying allegations of sexual harassment and assault in a bench trial. In two separate matters in 2017 and 2019, Allison tried as a lead defense counsel claims of discrimination and retaliation against a Fortune 50 aerospace company and defense contractor, both times securing jury verdicts in state court.
More than a litigator, Allison is a strategic partner to her clients, and as such devotes a significant portion of her practice to counseling clients facing a variety of workplace challenges. Allison has experience as a secondee to clients, most recently in 2020, and brings valuable in-house perspective to the solutions she proposes. Having served on practice group “#MeToo” and Diversity & Inclusion task forces, Allison has in recent years expanded her practice to include handling sensitive workplace investigations involving executives and employees at all levels and projects relating to developing diversity strategy. Amidst the current public interest in racial justice and equality issues, Allison has been involved in diversity and inclusion “crisis” investigations for retail clients.
Allison’s other recent counseling experience has involved serving on a rapid-response COVID-19 (coronavirus) task force, where she supervised a team of nearly 70 attorneys and became particularly knowledgeable about state and local restrictions on commercial activities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. A highly proficient non-native Spanish speaker, Allison has also counseled clients regarding nuances in Puerto Rico employment laws.
Immediately prior to joining Barack Ferrazzano, Allison was a sought-after attorney in the Chicago labor and employment group of global firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. She previously worked in fundraising and grant writing, serving in positions in large cultural institutions in New York, and at the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
Allison maintains a successful pro bono practice that includes representing immigrants seeking asylum and other relief under federal immigration laws, honorably discharged veterans seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and branches of the armed forces, and first-time home buyers formerly housed in Chicago Housing Authority units and receiving Section 8 benefits. Allison received her alma mater’s Distinguished Alumni Public Service Award in 2017.
Outside the Courtroom
Outside of work, Allison enjoys spending time with her boisterous young family, cooking food from her native Jamaica, running around her neighborhood, and (pre-COVID) scouring estate sales for mid-century modern furniture from significant makers.
Representation of Sephora in negotiations with Kohl's on a long-term strategic partnership to create a new era of elevated Beauty at Kohl's, marrying Kohl's expansive customer reach and omnichannel convenience with Sephora's prestige service, product selection and exceptional beauty experience.
Activities & Honors
- Selected, Dean's Attorney of the Year for Public Service, Washington University School of Law (2017)
- Member, Young Professionals Board, Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) (2014-2017)
- Recipient, Peggy Brown Fund Fellowship in Labor & Employment Law (2006)
- Member, New York City Urban Fellow (2004)
- Member, Black Women Lawyers Associated of Greater Chicago
Speaking Engagements & Presentations
Articles & Publications
- December 22, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- November 23, 2020 – Law360 Expert Analysis
- October 22, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- December 1, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- September 28, 2020 – Mentioned, Crain's Chicago Business
- September 18, 2020 – Mentioned, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
- Barack Ferrazzano Expands Employment & Litigation Services With Addition Of New Partner Allison PowersSeptember 14, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
Washington University School of Law, J.D., 2008
Northwestern University, B.A., 2002
Bar & Court Admissions
- State of Illinois
- State of Missouri
- U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court - Southern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court - Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court - Northern District of Ohio
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 8th Circuit