Photo of Danessa P. Watkins

Danessa P. Watkins

Partner

Practice Areas

Education

Boston University School of Law, J.D., 2013

Northeastern University, B.S., 2010 

Admissions

Illinois

Massachusetts

Danessa likes to win, whether she is playing a recreational sport or arguing a motion in court. Her clients appreciate her competitive spirit and commitment to helping them achieve their goals.

Through years of representing a diverse clientele, ranging from small business entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, Danessa appreciates that legal representation is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. She dedicates time to understanding her clients’ long- and short-term goals. She then analyzes and explains the options available to her clients before making a recommendation on how to best proceed. Danessa’s professional success is a direct result of her ability to add a personalized touch to her client advocacy.    

As a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group, Danessa defends clients in matters relating to business disputes, computer fraud, products liability, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, she recognizes how disruptive a legal battle can be to daily life and business operations. Danessa is effective in securing swift resolutions for her clients through her meticulous motion writing and creativity in negotiating settlements.

As a member of the Entertainment, Media & Privacy Practice Group, Danessa represents the free speech rights and reputational interests of media clients, businesses and individuals. The continuous advancements in technology and global access present unique challenges for journalists and news outlets in presenting accurate information and protecting their sources. Danessa stays current on the ever-evolving area of First Amendment law and defends the media against libel suits and intrusive subpoenas. The niche areas of defamation, false light and right to privacy also present unique challenges for companies and individuals looking to promote and protect their products, services and image. Danessa counsels clients on how to minimize risk in their publications and advertising. When litigation does arise, her clients value her thorough evaluation of potential exposure and tenacity in defending their reputational interests.

When she is not in the office, Danessa enjoys traveling, hiking and exploring Chicago’s restaurant scene. She participates in the annual Le Tour de Shore 100 mile charity bike race that starts in Chicago and ends in New Buffalo, Michigan. She is also actively involved in local organizations that foster the collaboration and advancement of women business owners.

Memberships & Involvement

  • Member: Chicago Bar Association; Women’s Bar Association of Illinois; ABA Forum on Communications Law
     

Experience

  • Assumed the lead on a case that had been pending for seven years and asserted claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, among others, against a condominium board. Achieved summary judgment on the majority of the counts and, following a bench trial, obtained an entry of judgment in our client’s favor on all remaining claims.
  • Successfully defended a news reporter against claims of  false light, conspiracy and defamation for articles published in connection with a federal investigation into a physician’s unlawful prescribing of controlled substances. The District Court granted our motions to dismiss the original and amended complaints.
  • Achieved a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of a member of a prominent, national professional association of physicians, who was sued for defamation after questioning the potentially unethical tactics of a nominee for president of the association. On appeal, the trial court decision was affirmed by the Second District Appellate Court.
  • After attaining dismissal of claims under Illinois’ Right to Privacy Act, successfully negotiated settlements with eight, geographically diverse plaintiffs alleging false advertising and endorsement under the Lanham Act against a local Chicago business. The final settlement figure was one-third of the original demand.
  • In commercial dispute between business owners asserting crossclaims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, negotiated a seven-figure asset purchase agreement and dissolution of the LLC.
  • Prepared a motion to dismiss a negligence claim filed against a Fortune 500 company that owns and operates wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure across the globe. The plaintiff declined the opportunity to brief our motion and dropped the lawsuit against our client.
  • Following months of investigation and witness interviews, prepared a motion to bar an eight-figure wage loss claim as speculative. Upon receipt of the motion, the plaintiff consented to reducing her damages claim to less than $50,000.
  • Represented a technology company supporting the management and security of public data in a lawsuit against a financial services company, filed pursuant to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Negotiated an offer of judgment for the full amount of damages alleged by our client. 
  • Successfully defended a news publication against intrusive subpoenas demanding reporters’ source information by filing comprehensive objections, which the court upheld.

News & Press Releases