A sophisticated strategist on corporate employment issues, Kelly Petrocelli helps mid-market to Fortune 500 companies defuse disputes in the courtroom and avert them in the office. Kelly frequently appears as lead and co-counsel before state and federal courts in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana, as well as before federal administrative agencies, and also helps clients protect and grow their organizations through effective advice on employment practices.

Employment Litigation

Kelly represents clients when they encounter challenges related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII, Equal Pay Act and similar employment statutes. In addition to representing them in the courtroom, Kelly also advocates on employers’ behalf before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and other state and local agencies charged with investigating employment claims.

Employment Counsel

When she’s not litigating on their behalf, Kelly helps employers strengthen their operations and organizational culture through provident counsel on:

  • Wage and hour classification issues
  • Hiring practices
  • Employment policies and procedures
  • Complex leave of absence issues
  • Workplace injuries
  • Sexual harassment investigations
  • Discipline and termination issues

Kelly also assists clients in transactional matters by providing critical advice on compliance with local, state and federal employment laws in the context of mergers and acquisitions – and, when necessary, reductions in force to respond to changing market forces.

Kelly is a contributor to the firm's LaborSphere blog, which provides coverage and insights on breaking cases, recently enacted legislation and a broad range of employee benefits and labor issues.

Government Experience

Prior to entering the legal field, Kelly worked in Washington, D.C., for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan


Indiana University Maurer School of Law
J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif (2002)

James Madison College at Michigan State University


  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois - Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award, 2004

Awards Methodology

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