jeffnowak.jpegJeff Nowak is a shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C., the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management.  Jeff represents private and public sector management clients in all areas of labor and employment law.  He regularly counsels and litigates single- and multi-plaintiff matters relating to employment discrimination and traditional labor claims, and has extensive trial experience before labor arbitrators, judges and juries, in both federal and state courts and before administrative agencies.  He has extensive experience dealing with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including counseling clients on compliance with FMLA regulations, conducting FMLA audits and training, and successfully litigating FMLA and ADA lawsuits.

Due to his FMLA focus, Jeff serves on the editorial board of the Family and Medical Leave Handbook, a comprehensive HR publication which addresses the complex requirements of the FMLA, and he also serves as a chapter editor for BNA’s FMLA treatise.  Jeff is the author of the firm’s FMLA Insights blog (

Jeff frequently speaks on a wide range of employment topics.  He is regularly quoted by business and legal publications on employment-related issues.  Most recently, Jeff was quoted extensively in Inside Business in an article on FMLA abuse; in Bloomberg’s Business Week on the effect of the final ADAAA regulations on employers; as well as the FMLA Handbook regarding how physicians are increasingly charging fees to complete FMLA medical certification forms. He also was covered by the Daily Labor Report (DLR) regarding his take on President Obama’s labor and employment initiatives after the DLR covered Jeff’s presentation on the topic to the American Bar Association.

Prior to joining the firm, Jeff practiced at McDermott Will & Emery LLP (1999–2003).  In 1995, following his undergraduate study at Indiana University, Jeff was selected by then Illinois Governor Jim Edgar’s administration for the Dunn Fellowship Program, where he spent a full year working in the press office of Governor Jim Edgar.  During his undergraduate study, he served as student body president.

In addition to practicing law, Jeff is Village Trustee for the Village of LaGrange.  He serves on the board of directors for Marist High School, a Catholic college-preparatory school on Chicago’s southwest side and his alma mater, and also sits on the board of directors for Pillars, a not-for-profit social service organization serving Chicago’s west and southwest side.  He was recently appointed by Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford to serve on the Treasurer’s Performance Audit Working Group.

A self-proclaimed baseball fanatic (and avid White Sox fan), Jeff is a registered Illinois High School Association baseball umpire who fills his spring and summer weekends working varsity and semi-professional baseball games.

Practice Areas

  • Labor & Employment
  • FMLA & ADA
  • Employment Litigation
  • Affirmative Action
  • Union-Related Matters

Professional Associations

  • Appointed member, Illinois Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Section Council
  • Immediate Past Chair, Chicago Bar Association Labor & Employment Committee
  • Member, Legislative Committee of the Society of Human Resource Professionals (Chicago SHRM chapter). 
  • Member, ABA’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee.


  • J.D., cum laude, Indiana University School of Law, 1999
  • B.A., Indiana University, 1995 (political science)

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois (Trial Bar, N.D. IL)
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana