While Jacqueline was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2014, her involvement with the legal field began well before that. As a child of two attorneys and a niece to four more, Jacqueline grew up both familiar with and fascinated by the legal profession. Knowing that she too wanted to be a lawyer someday, Jacqueline took her preliminary steps towards that goal when she was hired to assist the support staff at Patton & Ryan during her summer breaks from the University of Illinois. As an undergraduate intern, she worked with the legal secretaries and paralegals, providing aid with filing, document review, and any work overflow during trials. After college, Jacqueline took another stride towards her goal when she returned to Chicago to attend law school and then rejoined Patton & Ryan as a law clerk. The opportunities afforded by her new role were invaluable; by aiding with trial preparation and setup, attending multiple trials, and drafting pleadings for attorney review, she gained insight into to the most effective oral and written advocacy tactics. She graduated in 2014, and, seven years after she entered the legal field as an undergraduate summer intern, Jacqueline accomplished her goal when she was admitted to the practice of law in Illinois.
Jacqueline focuses her legal practice on disputes involving product liability, catastrophic loss, personal injury, and construction defect. In a number of the firm’s matters on which she has worked, Jacqueline has been tasked with the research and drafting of dispositive motions, trial briefs, and appellate briefs. She has always had an affinity for writing, so her assumption of a research and writing-heavy workload was not by accident. While she spent her undergraduate summers at Patton & Ryan, she spent her academic years developing and honing her writing skills in the University’s English Honors Program. At graduation, Jacqueline’s efforts were rewarded when she was one of only a small handful of students awarded Distinction by the Honors Advising Committee in recognition of meritorious work in the honors seminars, English courses, and on her presentation of the lengthy thesis to the Committee. Now an attorney, Jacqueline credits the rigorous program for providing her the knowledge, discipline, and skills necessary for a career centered on legal writing.
Recently, in a case that has been making headlines in Cook County, Patton & Ryan, LLC successfully defended Brunswick Corporation and Brunswick Boat Group, first against product liability claims, and then against a $25 million settlement procured through the astonishing fraudulent acts of Plaintiffs’ counsel and the court’s own clerk. The incident that spawned this action occurred during a daytime party cruise when Plaintiff Scot Vandenberg became paralyzed after falling from the upper deck of a boat manufactured by Brunswick, but owned and operated by defendant RQM. Although Brunswick built the boat to specifications for a private owner, RQM later purchased the vessel, modified it, and then chartered it for privately booked parties, but allegedly failed to update its safety features or register it for commercial use. The Vandenbergs filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against both Brunswick and RQM, but RQM settled out before trial. After a hard-fought three week trial, the jury received the case on June 9, 2015. While the jury was deliberating, Plaintiffs’ counsel, as the defense team later proved, gained knowledge of a jury note indicating a defense victory, concealed that information from the defense, and then fraudulently procured a $25 million settlement agreement from Brunswick. Unaware of either the settlement or the fraud, the jury returned a signed defense verdict in Brunswick’s favor.
Upon discovering the fraud, Patton & Ryan aggressively pursued post-trial litigation to overturn the settlement and to have judgment entered on the verdict. Jacqueline and a team of Patton & Ryan associates tirelessly investigated the fraud, which eventually led to an evidentiary hearing and exposed further acts of subterfuge and deceit. Following the hearing, Jacqueline and the rest of the Patton & Ryan defense team continued to comb through the trial records, post-trial records, and the newly subpoenaed phone records, amassing still more evidence of the fraud. Employing the evidence the team had discovered as well as her aptitude for writing, Jacqueline was an integral part of the drafting of the expansive post-trial briefs. After months of hard work, the Court entered orders overturning the settlement and reconstituting the jury, but the fight was not over. Plaintiffs twice brought in new counsel, further delaying the proceedings, but in the end, the defense team’s exhaustive efforts were finally rewarded when Judge Lynch entered judgment on the jury verdict in favor of Brunswick.