News Release

Locke Lord’s Wasim Bleibel and Nicholas O’Conner Selected for The Chicago Committee’s Inaugural Pathway to Partnership Program

July 20, 2020

(CHICAGO) July 20, 2020Chicago Associate Wasim Bleibel and Senior Counsel Nicholas O’Conner have been selected as Fellows in The Chicago Committee’s inaugural Pathway to Partnership program. The program is designed to help senior associates and other lawyers develop client relationships and increase the number of diverse partners at large law firms in Chicago.

“As a longtime supporter of The Chicago Committee, the ‎Firm is thrilled to participate in the first year of this innovative program, which aligns with Locke Lord’s strategic plan for diversity and inclusion,” said Michael Renetzky, Managing Partner of Locke Lord’s Chicago office. ‎“We are proud ‎‎of Wasim and Nick for being selected, as it speaks volumes to their talent and will provide unmatched ‎opportunities to strengthen their networks and continue to grow their careers.”

Bleibel, a member of the Firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, represents pharmaceutical, biotechnology, beverage, software and energy companies in intellectual property litigation, strategy and regulatory matters. He has significant experience representing clients in patent infringement litigation arising under the Hatch-Waxman Act and advising on related regulatory matters before the Food and Drug Administration, such as market exclusivity issues and Citizen Petitions. Bleibel is a member of The Richard Linn American Inn of Court, Advisory Council for the Linn Inn Alliance, Board of Managers for the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago and the American Writers Museum, among other organizations. In 2019, he was chosen as a participant in The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s ‎Pathfinder Program and was selected by Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization (JTB-‎APO) as a recipient of its 5 Under 40 Award for legal professionals in the Chicago area. ‎

As a member of Locke Lord’s Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group, O’Conner concentrates his practice on business, financial services and aviation litigation. He is also a member of the Firm’s multidisciplinary Cannabis Industry Group. O’Conner frequently defends companies in litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Truth in Lending Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act and state consumer fraud and unfair or deceptive business practices statutes. O’Conner is a member of the Chicago Children's Museum Metropolitan Board and a captain of Legal Prep Charter Academy’s mock trial team. He was recently selected for the 2021 Leadership Greater Chicago Signature Fellows Program, and he also received JTB-APO’s 5 Under 40 Award in 2018.

Locke Lord has been a longtime supporter of and participant in The Chicago Committee’s leadership and initiatives. Chicago Partners Ernesto Palomo and Bilal Zaheer currently serve as elected members of the organization’s Board of Directors. The Chicago Committee seeks racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession by collaborating with its law firm and corporate membership to: drive sustainable institutional change at law firms and corporate legal departments; provide professional development; and cultivate the community of minority lawyers through programming and leadership opportunities.

Diversity and inclusion are integral to Locke Lord’s strategic plan for success. The Firm has an active Diversity and Inclusion Committee dedicated to the recruitment, retention and promotion of lawyers of varying ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations, languages, nationalities and religions. To read more about Locke Lord’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, please click here.


About Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord is a full-service law firm with global reach and 21 offices designed to meet clients’ needs in the United States and around the world. The Firm has a history that spans more than 130 years and is a leader in the middle market arena. Locke Lord focuses on providing the highest levels of commitment, quality and service to clients across its five Key Sectors: Energy and Infrastructure; Finance and Financial Services; Insurance and Reinsurance; Pharmaceutical; and Private Equity. In addition, the Firm advises clients across a broad spectrum of other industries, including fund formation, venture capital, health care, public finance, real estate, technology, cybersecurity and white collar, while providing a wealth of experience through its complex litigation, intellectual property, tax, regulatory and transactional teams.