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Patrick J. Rocks

Principal
Chicago

P 312-803-2555 F 312-787-4995
Patrick.Rocks@jacksonlewis.com

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Patrick J. Rocks

Biography

Patrick Rocks is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Patrick is a founding member of the Higher Education Industry Group. In that capacity, he represents higher education institutions in litigation brought by students and employees, including Title IX claims, whistleblower claims, and claims for breach of implied contract, promissory estoppel and injunctive relief.

Since joining Jackson Lewis, Patrick has devoted his practice to employment litigation and advice and counseling. His clients include colleges and universities, school districts, skilled nursing and hospice care providers, units of local government, manufacturers, and service providers. Patrick advises or represents clients regarding wage and hour and WARN Act issues, reductions-in-force, selection procedures and a range of civil rights issues, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, section 1981 and Title VII claims, common law retaliation claims and whistleblower litigation. He also represents public bodies in Freedom of Information Act litigation.

Patrick served as the General Counsel to the Chicago Board of Education, the third largest school district in the country, from 2005 to 2012.

During his tenure at the Chicago Board of Education, he counseled and represented the Board and its senior management in a wide range of matters. He also managed the Board’s Department of Law, which includes 45 attorneys and the Board’s risk management, records retention, internal investigations and insurance programs.

From 2002 to 2005, Patrick served as the First Assistant Corporation Counsel in the City of Chicago’s Law Department. As First Assistant, he was the second highest official in the Law Department and assisted in the management of over 250 City attorneys assigned to 12 practice groups.

From 1993 to 2002, Patrick served as the Chief of Employment Litigation in the City’s Labor Division and later as Deputy of the Employment Litigation Division. In those roles, he managed a team of attorneys engaged in the defense of claims under sections 42 U.S.C. 1981 and 1983, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Rehabilitation Act and Illinois statutory and common law. Claims under section 1983 included first amendment retaliation and religious freedom, fourth amendment, and fourteenth amendment equal protection and due process property and liberty.

In particular, Patrick represented the City in consent decree and class action litigation involving selection procedures in the City’s police and fire departments. He has counseled clients on the development and validation of numerous selection procedures, including selections for promotional positions in the City’s police and fire departments and for teachers and principals in the Chicago Public Schools.

Patrick has substantial experience in the development and defense of municipal affirmative action programs, including the successful defense of affirmative action promotions in the Chicago Fire Department and the development of a race-neutral student assignment system following the vacation of the long-standing school desegregation consent decree in United States v. Board of Education.

Honors and Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America©, "Employment Law - Management" and "Litigation - Labor and Employment" (2016 - 2021)
  • Martindale-Hubbell, "AV Preeminent - Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence" (2019)

Professional Associations and Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Council of School Attorneys
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys