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300 S. Wacker Drive
Suite 3400
Chicago IL 60606
TEL: 312.786.6589
FAX: 312.986.9192
Practice Areas
  • J.D., with distinction, University of Iowa, 2003
  • B.A., magna cum laude, University of Northern Iowa, 2000
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
{ Bio Image }

Jennifer A. Smith


Jennifer’s practice involves representing education clients on a wide range of issues, including matters related to student rights, athletics, special education, labor and employment law, policy development, TIF counseling, and litigation. She has extensive experience in representing public school districts and higher education institutions in investigations and litigation.

Jennifer has litigation and trial experience before state and federal courts, and numerous administrative agencies. Jennifer’s reported cases include: Swan v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, No. 13 C 3623, 2013 WL 4401439 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 15, 2013); Johnson v. Bd. of Educ. Champaign Cmty. Unit Sch. Dist. #4, No. 00-CV-1349, 2009 WL 3765846 (C.D. Ill. Nov. 4, 2009); B.H. v. Joliet Sch. Dist. 86, No. 08 C 4974, 2009 WL 1269256 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 30, 2009).

Jennifer is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and the National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys (NSBA). Jennifer has been selected to present at the 2016 School Law Seminar for the Council of School Attorneys, National School Board Association on “A Legal Guide to Serving LGBT Students.” She presented at the 2015 NSBA Annual Conference on “Sexual Violence and Schools: Navigating Title IX in 2015” and at the 2013 NSBA Annual Conference on “When is Enough Enough? Responding to Bullying Complaints in 2013.”

Jennifer joined the firm in 2008. Prior to joining the firm, she was an attorney at Robbins Schwartz (2005-2008) and Spencer Fane (2003-2005).

Following law school, Jennifer took an immediate professional interest in representing education institutions on athletics issues as a former Division I swimmer. Her passion for working with educators has expanded over her career into the many unique and challenging issues facing schools and universities.

Representative Experience  click to view

  • Successfully defended Illinois school district in novel litigation initiated on behalf of a transgender student regarding state civil rights claims

  • Successfully represented Chicago Public Schools in four lawsuits challenging the Board of Education’s decision to close 49 schools and seeking to halt the closings. The Board prevailed on all four lawsuits, which raised state and federal issues related to school closure, employment, special education, and the rights of minority students and community members.

  • Successfully defended college through trial of breach of contact claim brought by a former doctoral student who alleged free speech violations and discrimination.

  • Successfully defended a class action brought against the second largest school district in Illinois, School District U-46, which challenged the district’s 2004 student assignment plan, alleged the district’s plan discriminated against minority students; the suit also challenged the district’s English Language Learner and other District programs.

  • Represented three Indiana school districts—Hamilton Southeastern Schools, Franklin Township Community Schools and Middlebury Community Schools—in their case against State of Indiana officials alleging the State’s school funding formula is unconstitutional and as a result their districts are not receiving sufficient funding.

  • Prepared Amicus Brief on behalf of the National School Boards Association in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, a case involving whether Michigan violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Successfully defended northwest suburban school districts in lawsuit filed by municipality seeking to claw-back TIF district funds distributed by village at termination of TIF district. Village argued that TIF district was terminated prematurely and that funds distributed to school districts should have remained with village. Circuit Court granted school districts’ motion to dismiss, and village subsequently abandoned all claims against the districts.