Awards & Recognitions

Locke Lord’s Carolyn Blessing, Jennifer Kenedy and
Andrea Verney Kerstein Recognized as Notable Women in Law by Crain’s Chicago Business

February 20, 2024

Locke Lord Chicago Partners Carolyn Blessing, Jennifer Kenedy and Andrea Verney Kerstein have been selected by Crain’s Chicago Business as 2024 Notable Women in Law honorees. They are recognized for their ability to effect change, serve as a role model and mentor to other women lawyers and promote inclusive practices in the workplace.

Blessing is a member of the Firm’s Women’s Initiative and has been deeply involved with the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, a nonprofit membership association bringing together organizations dedicated to advancing women lawyers. Blessing served in numerous leadership positions with the organization, including currently serving as Co-Chair of the ‎National Board and previously serving as President of the Chicago Chapter. She is a Board Member and Co-Chair of the ‎Professional Development for Chicago Women in Intellectual Property (ChiWIP) and has had significant involvement with the ‎Joffrey Ballet since ‎‎2012, including Co-Chairing its Generation J Leadership Council, for many years.‎

A Partner in Locke Lord’s IP Pharmaceutical Practice Group, Blessing concentrates her practice in IP Pharmaceutical matters, Hatch-Waxman litigation and FDA regulatory counseling. A highly respected thought leader in her field, she regularly speaks and writes on topics related to law, policy and advancement of women in the legal profession. Last year, she was honored by the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women with the Alta May Hulett Award, which recognizes outstanding women lawyers who have significantly contributed to the advancement of women in the legal profession.

Kenedy serves as General Counsel of Locke Lord and is a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. Prior to taking the role of General Counsel, she served as a Vice Chair of the Firm from 2018-2024, Deputy General Counsel from 2017-2024 and was the first female Managing Partner of the Firm’s Chicago office from 2010-2018. Dedicated to leadership and advocacy, Kenedy spearheads a wide range of corporate initiatives and philanthropic programs, including co-founding the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law and Locke Lord’s Women’s Initiative. She also Chairs the Firm’s Flexible Work Arrangement Committee and founded and led its Business Transformation Task Force, ensuring the Firm leads in transforming legal services post-pandemic. Kenedy has held leadership positions in many additional community and professional organizations, including serving as Executive Board Member at Girls, Inc., of Chicago, which delivers programs to help girls thrive in school and life. She is also an Executive Board Member to the Patrick Williams Foundation, a nonprofit started by Chicago Bull Patrick Williams that provides support and resources to socioeconomically disadvantaged minority women entrepreneurs and their small businesses.

A trial lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience, she concentrates her practice on commercial litigation, including trade secret misappropriation and other intellectual property litigation, contractual disputes, employer restrictive covenant counseling and litigation, catastrophic product liability, labor and employment and real estate litigation. Kenedy was also named as a Notable Women in Law in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and a Notable Leader in Employment and Labor Law in 2023 by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Kerstein is a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors, Managing Partner of the Firm’s Chicago office and Chair of the Firm’s Health and Managed Care Litigation Practice Group. Her impact extends beyond her notable legal career, dedicating her time to volunteer work throughout her community. Driven by her passion for helping others, Kerstein leads several donation initiatives in her community, providing essential items like clothing and furniture to those in need. Her core values of giving back and community immersion are further reflected in her meaningful mentorship work with the Firm’s Associates. She is often commended for providing a platform for them to shine and feel seen, something that is crucial for cross-jurisdictional practices to thrive. A distinguished public speaker, Kerstein notably blazed a trail in advocating for flexible work hours and championing work-life balance through myriad well-received speaking engagements during the pandemic.

Kerstein has significant experience representing insurers and reinsurers in insurance and health care disputes and arbitrations, primarily in the life insurance and health insurance lines.

Read Jennifer Kenedy’s, Andrea Verney Kerstein’s and Carolyn Blessing’s profiles in Crain’s Chicago Business (subscription may be required).