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Christina M. Tchen heads the firm’s Chicago office, and draws on more than 30 years of experience at the highest levels of private practice and government service. She provides corporations, boards of directors, and individuals with unique litigation, counseling, and crisis management expertise. Over the course of her extensive career, Ms. Tchen has handled complex civil litigation and enforcement matters in both state and federal courts in Illinois and across the country. As a partner in corporate litigation at Skadden, where she practiced for 23 years, she represented major global corporations and their officers and directors in a wide range of matters, including shareholder class and derivative actions, securities litigation, corporate takeover battles, consumer class actions, constitutional issues, corporate investigations, government enforcement actions, executive compensation, and breach of contract litigation. Ms. Tchen also has represented public agencies in state and federal class actions, and successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the State of Illinois, Artist M. v. Suter, 503 U.S. 347 (1992). 

Most recently, she served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady Michelle Obama from 2011 to 2017. In the Obama administration, she also served as the Executive Director for the Council on Women and Girls, which was created by President Obama in March 2009 to ensure that all parts of the federal government addressed the needs of women and girls. Previously, she was the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Ms. Tchen has received many awards in recognition of her work, including the Leadership Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (1999); "Women of Achievement" award from the Anti-Defamation League (1996); and Chicago Lawyer "Person of the Year" (1994). She has also been recognized as a Business Leader of Color by Chicago United (2005).

Ms. Tchen serves on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, Quantum Leaps, Inc., Civic Nation, the United State of Women, Women in the Service Change Initiative, and Gender Equity is Common Sense.

Ms. Tchen received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and her B.A. from Harvard University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and an editor of The Harvard Independent.

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  • J.D., Northwestern University, 1984
  • B. A., Harvard University, 1978


  • Illinois

Government Service

    • Assistant to President Barack Obama
    • Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama
    • Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls for the Obama Administration
    • Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement for the Obama Administration

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