Thomas G. Draths
A competitive nature drew Thomas Draths to concentrate in litigation; a facility for problem-solving compelled him to specialize in labor and employment law, areas where counseling is as important to effective representation as a strong will is to winning litigation and arbitrations. Tom draws upon a broad range of professional experience to solve the problems confronting clients. He does not tolerate losing. Grateful clients describe him as bright, attentive and persistent. He prides himself on his creativity in seeking solutions to complex problems and on remaining honest with clients facing difficult challenges.
Tom began his law career in a firm representing personal injury plaintiffs, small corporations, real estate investors, estates and the Fraternal Order of Police for the City of Chicago. He worked for this firm while still in law school and continued there for six years after earning his J.D. Today, when handling the larger, more sophisticated issues important to Schuyler, Roche & Crisham's clients, he draws upon the exposure and breadth of knowledge this small firm offered its attorneys. Immediately before joining us, Tom worked for a firm specializing in commercial law, where he remained for eleven years until persuaded to join Schuyler, Roche & Crisham by several colleagues who had already done so. Collegiality is why he remains loyal to our firm, to the colleagues who attracted him here and to the friends he has made.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
In his role as a labor and employment counselor, Tom advises companies about what they can and cannot do regarding hiring and firing practices, restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements, contract negotiations, harassment, discrimination and other workplace issues—drafting all necessary agreements involving employers, management and labor and helping to establish policies that will protect a company's interests yet take care of its employees. From routine personnel matters to complicated employment-related litigation, Tom provides conscientious representation. Preventive counseling remains his mandate, but when conflict leads to arbitration or litigation, fighting to preserve his clients' interests is his forte.
In addition to concentrating in labor and employment law as a litigator, trial attorney and counselor, Tom has acquired significant experience in the fields of securities and commodities, business and commerce, construction, probate and trust. Thanks to his small firm roots, he also is conversant in estate matters, estate planning and contested estates. He has handled transactions and litigation involving real estate, as well.
Managing a varied practice, Tom counsels and represents closely held businesses and public and private employers, in addition to high-level individuals seeking guidance regarding non-compete agreements or equitable employment contracts or severance packages. He also counsels and negotiates on behalf of management following acquisition or other changes in a company's structure or circumstances.
Tom has argued important cases before the Illinois Appellate, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Illinois, experience which distinguishes Tom from many other practitioners. The case that proceeded to the Illinois Supreme Court involved a procedural issue regarding service of process on a land trust, which led to vacatur of a purported judgment against a beneficial interest in that trust. Tom not only successfully argued before the appellate court, achieving reversal of the trial judge's ruling, he later received affirmation from the Illinois Supreme Court, which upheld the appellate decision—a significant win for his client [Klein v. LaSalle, 155 Ill.2d 201 (1993)].
Most recently, Tom worked with SRC collegues Joseph J. Stevens and Clare J. Quish in the successful appeal in the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court, in Amalgamated Transit Worker's Union (SIC) Local 241 v. Pace Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation Authority, (Case No. 1-10-0631), opinion issued January 11, 2011. Tom has enjoyed success in an overwhelming majority of the labor arbitrations he has tried, including a complex case involving a subcontracting issue. In that case, Tom represented LaSalle Partners Asset Management, Ltd., a national real estate developer and manager. Tom not only prevailed in permitting his client to subcontract work to the union elevator maintenance contractor of its choice, he saved the client $350,000 in the process. He also has successfully handled litigation for the McCormick Trust and the MacArthur Foundation. Other noteworthy cases for Tom include:
- Gurnee v. Rager, a successful defense against a discharged employee: (1) before the Village of Gurnee Civil Service Commission, (2) at an administrative review in the Circuit Court of Lake County and (3) before the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District; in all three proceedings Tom represented the defendant, the Village of Gurnee
- FOP and Rager v. Village of Gurnee—an extension of the above case, this equally successful trial for Tom and his client appeared before the Illinois and local labor relations boards, where the plaintiffs failed to prove that termination of employment by Tom's client had been motivated by anti-union animus
- Broadhurst v. Pace Suburban Bus Division of the RTA—another significant victory for Tom and Pace before the Illinois and local labor relations boards.
If you are seeking a litigator who brings many disciplines to bear on his cases, we encourage you to give Thomas Draths a call.