Stephanie A. Scharf represents corporate clients on a wide range of complex matters including commercial disputes, insurance coverage for corporate policyholders, class action, defense, product liability defense, environmental torts and employment defense. In three decades of representing clients in federal and state courts, Stephanie has tried civil and criminal jury and bench trials, has managed the pre-trial, trial and appellate phases of litigation, and has overseen the resolution of multiple commercial disputes and complex tort actions. Stephanie frequently counsels companies on ways to avoid litigation and mitigate risks at the product or enterprise level.
Stephanie’s recent engagements include litigation over the scope of a multi-billion dollar facilities use contract; class action defense of distance learning programs; defense of fraud claims involving financial investments; multi-million-dollar insurance disputes for large corporate policyholders; pharmaceutical product liability defense; contract disputes involving global and small businesses; and the defense of non-competition, trademark and copyright litigation. At trial, she is adept at presenting technical issues to judges and juries, bringing to bear her advanced training in statistical analysis and scientific research. Whether as trial counsel, national coordinating counsel, regional counsel, or as a member of a "virtual firm" created to address specific client problems, Stephanie focuses on framing effective legal strategies and achieving results that serve her client's business goals.
Stephanie and the Firm were profiled for the "unique quality of their work" in the November 2014 Chicago Lawyer cover article, "Work at a Very High Level."
A frequent author and CLE speaker, Stephanie created and was the first editor of PLI's Product Liability Litigation: Current Law, Strategy and Best Practices; and has been honored by several other groups for the quality of her legal work. She has been named a Leading Lawyer, was granted the PLAC President's Award, and was selected by Lawdragon Magazine as one of the "500 Leading Litigators in America." She is "AV Preeminent" peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell, reflecting the highest peer recognition for both ethical standards and legal ability.
Stephanie is one of the nation's leading lawyers for the advancement of women in the profession. She is 2017-2018 Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. She also chairs the ABA Presidential Initiative, Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law. A former President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (2004-2005), and a member of the Advisory Board of DirectWomen, Stephanie founded the NAWL Annual Survey of Women in Law Firms, the National Survey of Women's Initiatives, and the first-ever Survey of Women as Lead Counsel in Litigation. Among many other activities, she designed and chaired NAWL's first General Counsel Institute, its Supreme Court Committee, and its Summit for Best Practices for Advancing Women in Law. She was the 2015-2016 special Advisor to the American Bar Association's Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360. She designed the empirical research report, First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table, which was published by the American Bar Association in 2015.
Stephanie has received many awards in recognition of her work advancing women in the law including: The National Association of Women Lawyers Public Service Award 2017; the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women Founder’s Award 2015; the National Law Journal Two Steps Forward Award 2014; and the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Member Award 2002. She was named by Crain’s Chicago 2017 as one of the 50 most influential women lawyers in Chicago.
Stephanie has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences with a focus on social and organizational psychology as well as statistical analysis of large data sets. Before practicing law, she managed large national data-driven initiatives in the areas of health and employment.