Professional Biography

Debra R. Bernard Partner

  • Chicago

    D +1.312.324.8559

    F +1.312.324.9559


    131 South Dearborn Street, Suite 1700

    Chicago, IL




A litigator to the core, Debra Bernard devises efficient, collaborative and novel strategies to resolve disputes across a range of legal issues and practices, including class action defense of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims, biometrics claims and other consumer and privacy claims, as well as other areas of commercial litigation. Debra provides counsel to clients in a number of industries, including technology, education, retail and consumer products.

A partner in the Commercial Litigation practice, Debra leads teams in all phases of litigation, including the formulation of discovery plans, motion practice and litigation strategy with the ultimate result of successful summary judgment outcomes, class certification defeats and settlements favorable to her clients. Some examples of Debra’s successes include a recent defeat of class certification in a TCPA case against Obama for America and the DNC; a dismissal with prejudice against Getty Images in a right of publicity class action prior to discovery; and summary judgment in favor of Riddell on a $40 million counterclaim for false advertising.

Debra also provides counseling to corporate clients and political law clients on TCPA compliance issues and other privacy related issues such as biometrics and data management as well as litigation risk management, and e-discovery related issues such as data retention and preservation, technology, e-discovery protocols and best practices. Debra lectures nationally on a number of issues, including issues relating to data security, biometrics, the TCPA and e-discovery. She was recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2015 for Electronic Discovery and Information Management Law.

Debra is strongly committed to pro bono and chaired the Pro Bono Committee for the Chicago office, she also serves and has served on several boards and committees in legal services related organizations as well as on the board of directors at her daughter’s Montessori school.

Professional Recognition

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

*The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no certificate, award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

Professional Leadership

  • Midwest IoT Council, Policy Committee, Member
  • Biometrics Institute, Member
  • Near North Montessori School, Board of Directors; Nominating Committee, Chair, 2013 - 2014; Board Secretary 2015 - 2017 school years
  • The Hon. Justice Anne Burke's Judicial Selection Committee, Member, 2008 - present
  • National Immigrant Justice Center Leadership Board, 2014 - present
  • Seventh Circuit E-Discovery Pilot Program Committee, 2009 - present; former Co-Chair of Survey Subcommittee
  • Kellogg School of Management Executive Education, Strategic Leadership Program, 2016
  • Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, Board of Directors, 2007 - 2010
  • Harvard Business School, Executive Education, Leading Professional Service Firms, Participant, November 2008
  • Tryon Farm Homeowners Association, Board of Directors, 2010 - 2012
  • Lambda Legal National Leadership Council 2013 - 2015
  • Bon Foster Lambda Legal Annual Event, Co-Chair, Host Committee, 2007; Member Host Committee, 2008 - 2009
  • The Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Protection (WG1), Member
  • Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Standing Committee on Discovery, 2006 - 2009

Related Employment

  • IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, Adjunct Professor, 2011 - 2015
  • Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, Chicago, IL, 1997 - 2007
  • Keck, Mahin & Cate, Chicago, IL, 1989 - 1997
  • Miquelon & Associates, Chicago, IL, 1985 - 1989





Areas of Focus

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Illinois

  • Supreme Court of the United States

  • 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


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