Photo of Jeffrey A. Risch


University of Tulsa College of Law, J.D., 1998, highest honors

Illinois State University, B.S., 1994

Jeff wouldn’t practice law if he couldn’t practice in labor and employment. He takes enormous pride in advising and defending the foundation of our economy: employers. Every day he arises with a passion to aggressively and responsibly represent clients in a broad range of industries.

In his practice, Jeff handles matters involving countering various union tactics; responding to government audits; defending discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination claims; avoiding employee wage and hour controversies; complying with prevailing wage laws; litigating employment contract disputes and unfair competition controversies; upholding independent contractor and contingent workforce relationships; and negotiating collective bargaining agreements.

Jeff has many years of both private practice and in-house counsel experience. He represents employers throughout the U.S. and has taken several prominent cases successfully through arbitration, administrative hearing, trial and, when necessary, appeal. Jeff advises employers with the purpose of providing them the most efficient avenue to effectively manage. A prolific author and presenter, Jeff is often asked to speak on trending topics in the labor and employment arena by clients and educational providers around the country.  If you have ever been lucky enough to see Jeff present, you know you are excellent hands in any negotiation or a courtroom!

A former manager and current business owner, Jeff understands and relates to the objectives of his clients. He applies his passion for business and employers in his work as chairman of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Employment Law & Litigation Committee, chapter labor counsel for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Illinois, and chapter labor counsel for the Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association.

As chair of the firm’s expansive, management-side Labor and Employment Practice Group, Jeff oversees a team providing comprehensive counsel to employers across the country. As a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Jeff helps to set the strategic vision for the firm and ensures that each of the firm’s clients receives the best possible experience working with SmithAmundsen.


  • Selected to The Best Lawyers in America© in Employment Law - Management: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Recognized as "40 Illinois Attorney Under 40 to Watch" by the Law Bulletin: 2010
  • Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers list: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Selected to the "Top 100: Illinois Super Lawyers" list: 2017, 2018
  • Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" list: 2012
  • Selected by the Leading Lawyers Network as a "Leading Lawyer" in management side employment law

Memberships & Involvement

  • Member: SmithAmundsen Executive Committee
  • Illinois Chamber of Commerce: Chair, Employment Law Council; Chair, Employment Litigation Committee; Chair, Employment Law Committee; Lead Attorney, HR Audit Task Force; Board Member
  • Chapter Labor Attorney, National Labor Advisory Board: Associated Builders & Contractors of Illinois
  • Chapter Labor Counsel, Member: Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association
  • Labor Advisory Committee: Underground Contractors Association; Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association
  • Board of Directors: Marklund 
  • Member: Illinois State Bar Association; Oklahoma Bar Association; Kane County Bar Association; HR Illinois Advisory Board; Valley Industrial Human Resource Association
  • Labor Law Advisor: Midwest Truckers Association; Fishing Contractors Association of Illinois

News & Press Releases


Contributing Author, SmithAmundsen's Labor & Employment Law Update, a labor and employment advisory blog.

Contributing Author, Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Chamber Dispatch, an HR advisory blog.


  • Illinois Employment Law Handbook, 4th Edition
    Illinois Chamber of Commerce, 2016
  • Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2015
  • Illinois Guide to Hiring and Firing
    Illinois Chamber of Commerce, 2014
  • Illinois Employment Forms, 2nd Edition
    Illinois Chamber of Commerce, 2013
  • Legal Rights Manual for Construction Contractors
    Associated Builders and Contractors Illinois Chapter, Inc., 2013

Presentations & Events