CHICAGO — Nov. 11, 2019 — Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP today announced that Sulema Medrano has joined the Chicago office as a partner in the Insurance practice. Medrano comes to the firm from SmithAmundsen LLC. She is the 16th insurance litigation partner to join Drinker Biddle this year.
An accomplished trial lawyer, Medrano’s commercial litigation practice is focused primarily on complex insurance issues across property and casualty, life insurance, long-term care, surplus lines, professional liability, bad faith and consumer fraud cases.
“Sulema is a terrific addition to our national insurance practice,” said Andrew C. Kassner, Drinker Biddle’s chairman and CEO. “She is an experienced trial lawyer, having successfully defended high-profile insurance clients in federal district and circuit courts. She joins a deep — and growing — bench of skilled insurance litigators, and we are pleased to welcome Sulema to Drinker Biddle.”
Prior to entering private practice, Medrano served as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, Illinois, beginning in the Criminal Appellate Division and then moving to the Domestic Violence Division. During her nearly two years in the state’s attorney’s office, she litigated more than 23 trials to verdict and successfully defended more than 18 appellate cases on behalf of the People of the State of Illinois on issues including ineffective assistance of counsel, excessive sentencing, proper jury instructions and the adequacy of the trial evidence.
“We have one of the premier insurance industry platforms in the country, and Sulema brings impressive litigation skills and substantial trial experience that add further depth and versatility to those capabilities,” said Stephen A. Serfass, chair of the firm’s Insurance practice. “She is also active in the legal and business communities, and has earned a strong reputation for her collegial and collaborative approach. That, coupled with her superb advocacy skills, make her an excellent fit for Drinker Biddle.”
Medrano earned her B.A. degree from Michigan State University and her J.D. degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law. While in law school, she served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Ruben Castillo, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
A leader in a number of professional organizations, Medrano has served as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Region IX and chair of its Commission on Women. She is a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Gun Violence and has served as a board director of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.
Medrano’s recognitions include being honored as “Latina Lawyer of the Year” by the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, one of the “Top Lawyers Under 40” by the Hispanic National Bar Association, among the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s “Top 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40” and Chicago Kent College of Law’s “Outstanding Young Alumna.”
The 26th partner to join Drinker Biddle in 2019, Medrano builds on the addition in March of a high-profile 15-partner class action litigation team. Based in Washington, D.C., and in the firm’s new Hartford, Connecticut, office, the group defends financial institutions, life insurers, mutual funds, investment firms and banks in high-stakes matters, including securities, ERISA, RICO and pension cases.