Awards & Recognitions

Locke Lord’s Jennifer Kenedy and Kevin Kelly Honored as 2023 Notable Leaders in Employment and Labor Law by Crain’s Chicago Business

November 20, 2023

Chicago Partners Jennifer Kenedy and Kevin Kelly have been named by Crain’s Chicago Business as 2023 Notable Leaders in Employment and Labor Law.

Kenedy, who serves as Vice Chair of Locke Lord, concentrates her practice on complex commercial litigation, including trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, employment, restrictive covenant and other contractual/noncompete disputes. In 2022, she led a 12-attorney team in a $200 million bet-the-company noncompete, trade secret and unfair competition case in the District of Delaware involving a battle over AI-enabled telehealth technology that exploded post-pandemic. The case involved a sale of business and the interpretation of four separate noncompete agreements. After a continuance on the eve of the jury trial and subsequent rulings where the Judge excluded material parts of the plaintiff’s expert testimony and proposed evidence, the matter settled in favor of Locke Lord’s client Andor Health. Kenedy is a sought-after speaker on labor and employment issues, presenting at the American Intellectual Property Law Association and at Practising Law Institute’s (PLI) Advanced Trade Secrets and Advanced Noncompetes and Restrictive Covenants, and authoring PLI’s 2023 Illinois chapter on noncompete law. She was recently selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honor society composed of less than one-half of 1 percent of American lawyers who are chosen based on effectiveness and accomplishment in litigation and trial work, along with ethical reputation.

In addition to her full-time national trial practice, Kenedy has held numerous leadership roles in the Firm and community. She was the first female Managing Partner of Locke Lord’s Chicago office and co-founded and led the Firm’s Women’s Initiative. She serves as the Firm’s Deputy General Counsel and founded and Chairs Locke Lord’s Business Transformation Task Force, ensuring the Firm leads the industry in transforming the way it provides legal services in a post-COVID-19 world. Kenedy also Chairs the Firm’s Flexible Work Arrangement Committee. She is a Board Member of Business Counsel, Inc., an international network of trial firms, and a member of the Sedona Conference on Trade Secrets. She co-founded and was on the inaugural Board of Directors for the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, a nonprofit membership association bringing together organizations dedicated to advancing women lawyers. She also co-founded Women Office Managing Partners to facilitate the sharing of best practices. She’s been recognized with awards for her efforts to empower women. Kenedy has held leadership positions in many additional community and professional organizations, including The Fairway Network, former Chicago Bear Allen Robinson’s Within Reach Foundation and The Executives’ Club of Chicago.

Considered the preeminent labor attorney in Chicago in the residential property arena, Kelly is labor counsel to the Apartment Building Owners and Managers Association of Illinois (ABOMA). In this role, he coordinates the negotiation of the collective bargaining agreements between ABOMA and SEIU Local 1 covering janitorial and door staff employees in numerous high-rise residential buildings in Chicago. He also provides day-to-day labor-relations advice to numerous condominium associations and property management companies in Chicago. In 2022, he coordinated the negotiation of the ABOMA-SEIU local door staff collective bargaining agreement. Kelly actively participates in ABOMA events, including speaking on labor issues at ABOMA’s annual educational seminar for community association managers. Additionally, he is a frequent speaker on labor issues impacting the residential property management industry in other settings, and he has spoken on these issues at such forums as the Chicago Bar Association Condominium Subcommittee and the Community Associations Institute.

Kelly leads Locke Lord’s involvement with The Chicago Lighthouse, a world-renowned social service organization serving the blind, visually impaired, disabled, and veteran communities with comprehensive vision care and support services. He ensures the Firm’s continuing and active participation in the Lighthouse’s annual dinner and other Lighthouse events.

Read the Crain’s Chicago Business profiles on Kenedy and Kelly (subscription may be required).