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James A. McKenna

Principal
Chicago

P 312-803-2515
F 312-787-4995
McKennaJ@jacksonlewis.com

Biography

James A. McKenna is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He specializes in the litigation of employment disputes, including class actions, wage and hour claims, Fair Credit Reporting Act claims, and non-competition counseling and litigation.

Mr. McKenna has over 30 years of experience in civil litigation, representing small and mid-sized businesses, as well as Fortune 500 companies, in a wide range of complex matters involving: commercial litigation, labor and employment, class action and derivative litigation, trade secrets and unfair competition, arbitration and mediation, bankruptcy and workout litigation, antitrust, and intellectual property.

Mr. McKenna has handled employment discrimination claims at the state and federal levels. Among other things, he was co-lead trial counsel and argued the appeal in Kirkpatrick v. Pfizer, Inc., 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 16484 (10th Cir. 2010), was lead defense counsel during the trial in EEOC v. Chicago Miniature Lamp, 947 F.2d 292 (7th Cir. (1991), and personally tried 27 individual reinstatement claims in a nationwide Title VII class action.

Mr. McKenna also has substantial experience in class action and derivative litigation, in which he has defended claims brought under federal and state wage and hour laws, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employment discrimination laws, ERISA, the securities laws, and state fraud and consumer protection laws. His clients in this area have included General Dynamics, Gulfstream Aerospace, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, Molex, and the trustees of a large pension fund.

Mr. McKenna is a co-chair of the firm’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) litigation practice. He has handled the defense of numerous FCRA class actions, has counseled numerous other clients on FCRA compliance issues, and has lectured and written frequently on the FCRA and class actions.

Mr. McKenna has counseled clients and represented both plaintiffs and defendants in numerous matters involving employee covenants not to compete, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, false advertising claims under the Lanham Act, and technology outsourcing. He also litigated one of the first cases applying the Illinois Computer Crime Prevention Law to the theft of trade secrets by a former employee. Mr. McKenna also has substantial experience trying cases in arbitrations and handling mediations.

Mr. McKenna is one of only 113 attorneys in the U.S. named to the 2007 BTI Client Service All-Star Team for Law Firms, published by BTI Consulting, the leading provider of strategic research to the legal industry. The award recognizes lawyers who deliver “the best client service to Fortune 1000 clients.” Lawyers appear on the list only when they have been named by clients in an unprompted manner through BTI’s independent research.

While attending law school, he was note and comment editor of the Northwestern University Law Review.

Honors and Recognitions

  • BTI Client Service All-Star (2007)
Best Lawyers Award Badge

Professional Associations and Activities

  • Illinois Northern District Trial Bar
  • Illinois State Bar Association

Published Works

  • “Conducting Background Checks in Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” HR Leader (HRMAC, July 2013)
  • The Illinois Law of Trade Secrets (co-editor, 2007)
  • “Remote access technology for your law practice,” IBSA’s Standing Committee on Legal Technology, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2007)
  • “Reverse Freedom of Information Act Suits: Confidential Information in Search of Protection,” Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 70, Pg. 996 (1976)
  • “The Constitutional Protection of Private Papers: The Role of a Hierarchical Fourth Amendment,” Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 53, Pg. 55 (1977)

Speeches and Presentations

  • “Yours, Mine and Ours: Developments in Joint Employment Law” (Chicago, October 2015)
  • “An Employer’s Guide to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, “ Beazley Defense Counsel Summit (Boston, July 2015)
  • “Class Action Waivers for Employment Law Disputes: Where Are We and Where Do We Want to Be?” (Oakbrook, IL, May 2015)
  • “Employment Screens & Background Checks and the Impact on Hiring and Termination Decisions,” Association of Corporate Counsel (Chicago, January 2015)
  • “Million Dollar Misdemeanors: Avoiding Liability for Background Checks Under Title VII and the Fair Credit Reporting Act” (Oakbrook, IL, June 2013)
  • “The Ins and Outs of the Fair Credit Reporting Act” (Chicago, May 2013)
  • “Employment Law Decisions, Supreme Court Term 2011-12” (Chicago and Oakbrook, IL, July 2012)
  • “Class Arbitration of Employment Law Disputes After Stolt-Nielsen and Conception” (Chicago, December 2011)
  • “Getting Off On the Right Foot: How to Vet Job Applicants Without Breaking the Law” (Chicago and Oakbrook, IL, July 2011)
  • “Employment Law Decisions, Supreme Court Term 2009-10” (Chicago and Oakbrook, IL, July 2010)
  • “Employment Law Decisions, Supreme Court Term 2008-09” (Chicago and Oakbrook, IL, July 2009)
  • “Discovery in Commercial Arbitration” (Chicago, May 2006)

See AllJames A. McKenna in the News

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August 15, 2017
Jackson Lewis

Best Lawyers in America© Honors Jackson Lewis Attorneys in Its 2018 Edition

August 15, 2017

WHITE PLAINS, NY (August 15, 2017) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce 193 attorneys, were recognized in the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, a publication that has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. The Best Lawyers lists are... Read More

August 15, 2016
Jackson Lewis

Jackson Lewis Attorneys Recognized in the Best Lawyers in America© 2017

August 15, 2016

WHITE PLAINS, NY August, 15, 2016 – Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce that more than 145 attorneys throughout the firm’s 57 locations have been named to the Best Lawyers in America© 2017. In addition, 13 attorneys were named “Lawyer of the... Read More

May 4, 2016
The Indiana Lawyer

James McKenna Comments on Recent SCOTUS Arbitration Agreement Opinion

May 4, 2016

James McKenna comments on the recent SCOTUS opinion stating that arbitration agreements can include class waivers that prevent consumers from joining together to fight the product manufacturer or service provider in The Indiana Lawyer’s “US Supreme Court ruling affirms class waivers in arbitration clauses."... Read More

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August 8, 2017

Use of Non-Compliant Disclosure Form Did Not Result in Concrete Injury under Fair Credit Reporting Act

August 8, 2017

A job applicant alleging a violation of one of the procedural requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lacked standing to sue under Article III of the United States Constitution because he failed to allege facts showing he suffered a concrete injury in fact, apart from the alleged statutory violation itself, the U.S. Court of... Read More

December 19, 2016

Class Action Trends Report Winter 2016

December 19, 2016

Our quarterly report discusses new developments in class action litigation and offers strategic guidance and tactical tips on how to defend such claims. This issue covers the following topics: Defending class discrimination claims Disparate treatment vs. disparate impact The legislation The case law Prevention pointer... Read More

September 28, 2016

Class Action Trends Report Fall 2016

September 28, 2016

Our quarterly report discusses new developments in class action litigation and offers strategic guidance and tactical tips on how to defend such claims. This issue covers the following topics: “Class” claims, EEOC-style When private plaintiffs pile on The legislation The caselaw Regulatory roundup... Read More

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See AllBlog Posts by James A. McKenna

Employer’s Use of Non-Compliant Disclosure Form Did Not Result in Concrete Injury Under Fair Credit Reporting Act
August 10, 2017

A job applicant alleging a violation of one of the procedural requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lacked standing to sue under Article III of the United States Constitution because he failed to allege facts showing he suffered a concrete injury in fact, apart from the alleged statutory violation itself, the U.S. Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects California Limitation on Arbitration Agreements with Class Action Waivers
December 29, 2015

Despite recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions strongly upholding the enforceability of class action waivers in arbitration agreements, opposition to class action waivers on both the political and legal fronts persists, especially in California. Read More