Cara M. Rafanelli


Cara began her journey toward trial advocacy while studying law at the University of Tulsa College of Law. Serving as an intern for the Honorable James O. Ellison of the Northern District Court of Oklahoma, she fell in love with being in the courtroom. After receiving her JD, Cara was admitted to the Bar of Illinois and honed her legal skills with an insurance defense firm representing clients in state and federal courts in the areas of product liability, construction defect, and premises liability.

After several years of practice, Cara continued her career by opening her own practice and representing clients from both the plaintiff and defense side of personal injury. She was able to greatly expand her areas of expertise and became a Certified Mediator with Cook County Court Annexed Mediation as well as a chair qualified Arbitrator with both Cook and Du Page County Mandatory Arbitration programs. Cara brings the experience and wisdom of decades of trial practice to Patton & Ryan and will continue to zealously represent clients at both the state and federal levels.


  • College University of New Mexico, BA History, 1985
  • Law School University of Tulsa, JD, 1988


  • State of Illinois
  • Northern District of Illinois
  • Federal Trial Bar
  • Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court of the United States


Illinois State Bar Association

In the Community

  • Principal Flute/Alto – St John of the Cross Parish Contemporary Ensemble
  • Member – Chicago Southwest Suburban Chi Omega Alumnae Association


  • Music: Flute, Voice, Piano
  • Fitness: Figure Competition with Ultimate Fitness Events
  • Horses: Owning and Showing American Saddlebred Horses; Why Not Wyatt in Country and Classic Pleasure and I’m A Peach in Park and Park Pleasure