Photo of Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular focus on defending companies against claims of employment discrimination, retaliation and harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive covenant violations; theft of trade secrets; and wage-and-hour violations. He has successfully tried cases in multiple jurisdictions, and defended one of the largest Illinois-only class actions in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He also secured one of only a few ex parte seizures orders that have been issued under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and obtained a world-wide injunction in federal litigation against a high-level executive who jumped ship to a competitor.

Reporting to boards of directors, their audit committees, CEOs and in-house counsel, Steven conducts sensitive investigations and has testified in federal court. His investigations have involved complaints of sexual harassment involving C-suite officers; systemic violations of employment laws and company policies; and fraud, compliance failures and unethical conduct.

Steven was recognized as Lawyer of the Year for Chicago Labor & Employment Litigation in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  Chambers describes Steven as an “outstanding lawyer” who is “very sharp and very responsive,” a “strong advocate,” and an "expert in his field." Steven was 1 of 12 individuals selected by Compliance Week as a "Top Mind." Earlier in his career, he was 1 of 5 U.S. lawyers selected by Law360 as a "Rising Star Under 40" in the area of employment law and 1 of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" selected by Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Steven is a Burton Award Winner (U.S. Library of Congress) for "Distinguished Legal Writing."

Steven has served on Law360’s Employment Editorial Advisory Board and is a Contributor to Forbes.com. He has appeared on Bloomberg News (television and radio) and Yahoo! Finance, and is regularly quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has engaged Steven to serve as lead counsel on amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts of appeal. He was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in employment litigation matters. He has presented with the Solicitor of the DOL, the Acting Chair of the EEOC, an EEOC Commissioner, Legal Counsel to the EEOC and heads of the SEC, CFTC and OSHA whistleblower programs. He is also a member of the Sedona Conference, focusing on trade secret matters.

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) voted 3-2 to issue a proposed final rule (“Final Rule”), which, absent a successful legal challenge, will ban most noncompete agreements in the United States. 

Despite more than 26,000 comments from the public, the Final Rule does not narrow the rule

An American Arbitration Association arbitrator recently awarded Black Knight, Inc. (BK) $155M stemming from Pennymac Loan Services, LLC’s (Pennymac) alleged use of its mortgage-loan servicing platform to develop its own competing product. Though the arbitrator did not find Pennymac liable for trade secret misappropriation, they found that the use of

On November 1, 2023, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California awarded damages to Skye Orthobiologics, LLC (“Skye”) and Human Regenerative Technologies, LLC (“HRT”) for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of duty of loyalty by Skye’s former employee (“Defendant”). While

On August 29, 2023, the First Circuit affirmed a ruling from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts that Allstate Insurance agents misappropriated trade secrets when they retained spreadsheets that contained confidential information. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Fougere, 79 F.4th 172 (1st Cir. 2023). Significantly, the First Circuit rejected the argument that the spreadsheets could not be trade secrets because most of the information within them is publicly available.

On November 9, 2023, in Ho-Ho-Kus, Inc. v. Sucharski, No. 2:23-cv-01677, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey found that Ho-Ho-Kus, Inc. (“HHK”) failed to show a trade secret existed with adequate specificity to justify granting a TRO or a preliminary injunction, but nevertheless denied a motion to dismiss arguing that the company failed to sufficiently plead the existence of a trade secret. 

On December 1, 2023, in Global Discovery Biosciences Corp. v. Harrington, et al., No. 2022-1132, a Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled on the balance of a motion to dismiss brought back in June 2023 by two former CEOs-Dr. Harrington and Mr. Nuñez (together, “Defendants”)-who were