James McKenna - Jackson Lewis P.C.

James McKenna

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2015
Phone: 312-803-2515

James A. McKenna is a Shareholder in the Chicago, Illinois office of Jackson Lewis P.C.  

Mr. McKenna 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 US 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. In addition, he was named to the 2015 Best Lawyers in America list, and has been named as one of Illinois’ “Super Lawyers,” a distinction accorded no more than 5% of Illinois lawyers. Mr. McKenna is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating.

Mr. McKenna is admitted to practice in Illinois, and before the U.S. District Courts for the Central and Northern Districts of Illinois, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits.

Mr. McKenna obtained his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Dayton, and his J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University Law School, where he was note and comment editor of the Northwestern University Law Review.

Additional Information

Court Admissions
  • 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • Wisconsin - E.D. Wis.

  • Illinois - C.D. Ill.

  • Illinois - N.D. Ill.

University of DaytonBA Northwestern UniversityJ.D.
Illinois State Bar AssociationIllinois Northern District Trial Bar

Office Location

150 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2500
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

Practice Areas

Employment Law - Management