Allison’s practice is devoted to guiding management through the spectrum of workplace challenges and to advocating with zeal when agency actions or litigation loom. In devising custom solutions for clients, Allison capitalizes on 15 years as an employment litigator, trial attorney, and strategic partner, plus a unique set of soft skills that have made her indispensable to clients navigating high-profile matters requiring discernment and discretion.
Allison’s employment litigation practice emphasizes defense of claims of discrimination and harassment in private lawsuits, as well as government agency actions under federal and state anti-discrimination statutes. Allison also has served as defense counsel in several federal and state wage and hour collective action matters and has successfully litigated and resolved numerous single-plaintiff cases through effective discovery management, motion practice, and settlement. Moreover, she 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. Allison’s current and past clients include Fortune-ranked corporations in the luxury, fashion and retail, banking, telecommunications, motor vehicle, and pharmaceutical sectors.
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 issues. Having been seconded multiple times to clients, Allison brings valuable in-house perspective to the solutions she proposes.
In March 2022, Allison was appointed by the Illinois Governor to the role of Commissioner of the Executive Ethics Commission (EEC), a key agency for sweeping ethics reform for the State of Illinois. Allison, who serves in this critical role alongside her position as partner at the firm, will complete the time remaining in the vacancy to which she was appointed and will, upon state senate confirmation, serve successive four-year terms. She is the only Black woman and currently the youngest sitting Commissioner on the EEC.
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.
Before joining BFKN, Allison was a sought-after attorney in the Chicago labor and employment group of a global firm. Prior to her legal career, Allison worked in fundraising and grant writing, serving in positions in large cultural institutions in New York, and at the New York City Emergency Management Office.
- State of Illinois
- State of Missouri
- State of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 8th Circuit
- 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
- Washington University School of Law, J.D., 2008
- Northwestern University, B.A., 2002
Litigation & Agency Enforcement Actions
- 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.
- 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.
- Represented motor vehicle client in high-profile multi-plaintiff systemic race discrimination matters with national press coverage.
- Represented pharmaceutical client in nationwide gender discrimination case with putative class of approximately 1,500.
- Represented telecommunications client in long-running race discrimination class action, with class of approximately 400.
- Represented retail client in EEOC representative action on behalf of approximately 150 claimants in case alleging disability discrimination.
- Represented clients in wage and hour collective actions and subsequently defend against, and resolve, individual cases following decertification.
Investigations & Audits
- Handle sensitive workplace Code of Ethics investigations involving complainant and accused executives and employees at all levels.
- Lead crisis investigations and develop reputation protection strategies for retail clients.
- Conduct privileged disparate impact, pay equity, and other self-critical analyses.
Compliance & Counseling
- Counsel clients through complicated workplace questions, including employee disciplinary matters and terminations, wage-hour compliance, COVID-19 safety and business restrictions, enforceability of restrictive covenants, executive employment agreements and severance, and transaction and post-transaction diligence and reviews.
- Crain’s Rising Stars in Law (2021)
- Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) (2022-2023)
- Dean's Attorney of the Year for Public Service, Washington University School of Law (2017)
- Fellow, Peggy Brown Fund Fellowship in Labor & Employment Law (2006)
- Fellow, New York City Urban Fellows Program (2004)
- Commissioner, Illinois Executive Ethics Commission (Governor's Appointee) (2022-Present)
- Member, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
- Board of Directors
- Chair, Board Development Committee
- Member, Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago
- Member, Young Professionals Board, Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) (2014-2017)