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Debra R. Bernard



Co-Chair E-Discovery Services & Strategy Group

Debra Bernard is a partner in the Commercial Litigation practice. Debra focuses her practice on intellectual property and complex commercial litigation and has worked with businesses ranging from mid-size corporations to FORTUNE 500 companies in a variety of industries.  She also has substantial electronic discovery experience both domestically and internationally. 

Debra's practice encompasses extensive experience in the litigation, arbitration and mediation of all types of intellectual property claims including Lanham Act actions, trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement and patent infringement. Debra also has experience in the litigation and arbitration of tortious interference claims, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class actions, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act claims, right of publicity class actions, unfair competition, non-competition covenants, contract disputes, civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) actions, antitrust actions, claims under the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act and fiduciary duty claims. Debra has led teams in formulating discovery plans, motion practice and litigation strategy with the ultimate result of successful summary judgment outcomes and settlements. Debra also has substantial experience in providing advice and developing protocols in connection with attorney-client privilege and work product issues. Debra has also conducted in-house privilege seminars.

The landscape for discovery in both mid-range and complex litigation has changed dramatically due to the ubiquitous use of technology in business, recent case law, evolving ethical and competence standards.  As co-chair of Perkins Coie's E-Discovery Services & Strategy (ESS)  practice, Debra is actively involved in a number of e-discovery related organizations, including the Seventh Circuit Discovery Pilot Project Committee, and is a frequent speaker on e-discovery issues around the country. Debra is well versed in current case law and relevant technology and her electronic discovery experience includes advice and counseling in the legal and practical aspects of domestic and international electronic discovery obligations. She manages substantial electronic discovery matters including handling negotiations as to scope and procedures for electronic discovery, managing the litigation hold process company-wide, vendor evaluation and selection, the identification, preservation and retrieval of active data, the restoration of backup data and overseeing teams engaged in the electronic screening, review and production of electronically stored data.  Additionally, Debra provides counseling and advice on privilege issues and on protocols for conducting privilege review.  Debra has experience dealing with the European Union (EU) privacy directive, blocking statutes, the Hague Convention and other issues raised by the requirements of international discovery.  Additionally, Debra assists clients in the evaluation and recommendation of technology solutions to manage data and implement litigation readiness and e-discovery processes.

Professional Recognition

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2015: Electronic Discovery and Information Management Law

Professional Leadership

  • Kroll Ontrack, Advisory Committee, 2010
  • Seventh Circuit E-Discovery Pilot Program Committee, 2009 - 2013
  • The Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Protection (WG1), Member 
  • The Sedona Conference WG1 Sub-Group on "The Case for Cooperation - Toolkit for the Bench," Drafting Team Member
  • Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Standing Committee on Discovery, 2006 - 2009
  • Harvard Business School, Executive Education, Leading Professional Service Firms, Participant, November 2008
  • The Hon. Justice Anne Burke's Judicial Selection Committee, Member, 2008 - 2012
  • Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, Board of Directors, 2007 - 2010
  • Near North Montessori School, Board of Directors; Nominating Committee, Chair, 2013 - 2014
  • Tryon Farm Homeowners Association, Board of Directors, 2010 - 2012 
  • Howard Brown Health Center, Board of Directors, 1994 - 1995
  • Bon Foster Lambda Legal Annual Event,Co-Chair, Host Committee, 2007; Member Host Committee, 2008 - 2009
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association

Related Employment

  • IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, Adjunct Professor, 2011 - 2013
  • Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, Chicago, IL, 1997 - 2007
  • Keck, Mahin & Cate, Chicago, IL, 1989 - 1997
  • Miquelon & Associates, Chicago, IL, 1985 - 1989


  • Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 1985
    with honors
  • University of Illinois, B.A., Political Science, 1981

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Trial Bar of the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois