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Michael P. Persoon

Mike Persoon, Shareholder

Mike has a varied practice that includes plaintiff and defense work, complex litigation, and strategic counseling. Mike has worked on cases in roughly 20 different federal district courts and 7 federal appellate courts along with significant practice in numerous administrative settings.

Contact Mike

(312) 372-2511


Mike has a varied practice that includes plaintiff and defense work, as well as strategic counseling. Mike has worked or advised on cases in roughly 20 different federal district courts and 7 federal appellate courts along with significant practice in numerous administrative settings. In 2009, he was part of the firm’s team that won a 9-0 victory in the United States Supreme Court in Union Pacific R.R. v. BLET, 558 U.S. 67 (2009).

Clients often call on Mike to help with unique problems and his general practice provides him a uniquely broad vision of the law that gets results, whether it be a dispute of a sensitive nature, a transaction gone awry, the defense of an internal or government investigation, or securing an equitable resolution of a business dispute or restrictive covenant. Mike has advised numerous executives, including former opposition, in resolving employment disputes and is well-versed in dealing with restrictive covenants and non-compete agreements, having both enforced them and brought injunctions against their enforcement. He has worked in industries including: hedge funds, railroad, construction, education, analytics, entertainment, luxury goods, transportation, beauty, insurance, and restaurant/hospitality, manufacturing, and oil.

Along with his colleagues at the firm, Mike also has developed a first-in-class practice on internal Union disputes, having secured a rare victory in dissolving a trusteeship imposed by IBT President Hoffa in Blevins v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, No. 19 C 8075, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184703 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 6, 2020). He actively represents a number of unions in different industries.

Mike has played a key role in the firm’s notable history of public interest litigation, ranging from voting rights in Agre v. Wolf, 284 F. Supp. 3d 591 (E.D. Pa. 2018)(First Amendment challenge to gerrymandering); to preserving open spaces in Friends of the Parks v. Chi. Park Dist., 160 F. Supp. 3d 1060 (N.D. Ill. 2016)(case blocking the George Lucas Museum on Chicago’s lakefront); to fighting for education funding in Cahokia Unit Sch. Dist. No. 187 v. Pritzker, 156 N.E.3d 510 (Ill. App. 2020)(suit to require adequate funding of public education).

Mike has handled many First Amendment cases, including securing a preliminary injunction in Kugler v. Bd. of Educ., No. 16 C 8305, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116729 (N.D. Ill. July 26, 2017) and defending a trial victory on appeal in Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1015 v. Spokane Transit Auth., 929 F.3d 643 (9th Cir. 2019), among many cases.


J.D. (2007) DePaul University College of Law

Bar Admissions

Admitted to practice in:

  • All Illinois Courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar Member)
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois

Mike also has represented persons before:

  • Private arbitration
  • Federal Railroad Administration
  • National Railroad Adjustment Board
  • Surface Transportation Board
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • Illinois Labor Relations Board
  • Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board
  • D.C. Cir. Court of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court

Representative Matters

Plaintiff Work

  • Won $750,000 resolution of race discrimination claim related to disparate treatment of government contractor.
  • Won significant monetary relief upon filing of complaint for single mother who suffered pregnancy discrimination.
  • Won more than $1.75 million for three classes of persons who suffered mass layoffs in violation of the WARN Act.
  • Secured significant monetary damages for worker wrongfully terminated after filing a workers compensation claim.
  • Negotiated enhanced severance for worker wrongfully terminated.
  • Successfully asserted Lanham Act and right of publicity rights of not-for-profit against national political figure.
  • Successfully represented Union in contested representation hearing before the NLRB.
  • Negotiated favorable settlement for plaintiff suing consumer lender for charging excessive interest.

Defense Work and Counseling

  • Resolved claims brought by U.S. Attorney against national not-for-profit in politically tinged fraud case.
  • Won directed verdict in favor of technology entrepreneur on breach of contract claims after previously having won dismissal of claims for fraud, consumer fraud, and breach of the covenant of good faith.
  • Prevailed on motion to dismiss case brought by ERISA fiduciary to claw back money paid to retired worker.
  • Won partial dismissal and ultimately resolved without payment or liability a multi-billion dollar claim brought by Fortune 500 technology company against employee as part of suit alleging international corporate espionage and theft.
  • Negotiated severance for key employees of technology startup.
Despres, Schwartz & Geoghegan, Ltd. represent those who are frequently left without a voice in our legal system.

Let’s work together.

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We also welcome the opportunity to collaborate with other attorneys and firms. If you are an attorney seeking co-counsel with our particular expertise and creative approach to litigation, please reach out.