Marissa L. Downs

Marissa L. Downs

Chicago, IL


Marissa is an experienced litigator who represents manufacturers, financial institutions, corporate officers and directors, shareholders, and other clients in a broad range of complex commercial litigation matters, including international and domestic contract, product liability, construction litigation, insurance coverage, fiduciary breach, fraud, restrictive covenant, general employment, contested probate, and shareholder disputes. She also represents one of the largest video gaming operators in the state of Illinois as well as attorneys and judges facing disciplinary action before state and federal regulatory authorities. 

Marissa has participated in multiple trials in the Northern District of Illinois, the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Illinois Courts Commission and helped win a defense judgment in a shareholder fiduciary breach action that culminated in a week-long bench trial. She has also successfully arbitrated construction and contract-related disputes before the American Arbitration Association.. Marissa has experience with all aspects of arbitration and litigation including pre-trial motion practice, discovery, depositions, jury selection, voir dire, mediation, and trial advocacy.

While in law school, Marissa was a member of the National Trial Team, served as a Senior Articles Editor for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and externed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the Office of the State Appellate Defender (Illinois) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. Before entering law school, Marissa was an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense and a Hart Fellow with the International Rescue Committee in Rwanda. Following law school, she worked as a law clerk for Justice Robert Eastaugh of the Alaska Supreme Court and as an intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in The Hague, Netherlands, where she helped draft judgments in two war crimes cases on appeal.

Marissa previously served as co-chair of the firm’s Associates Committee.



Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
J.D., 2008, cum laude
University of North Carolina
B.A., 2001, Highest Honors, Morehead Scholar

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Professional Organizations

  • Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, Board of Directors
  • Former Co-Chair, Associates Committee (2012-2014)


As part of her ongoing commitment to pro bono legal services, Marissa has defended a community services organization from a baseless discrimination claim, successfully petitioned the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service to grant legal status to an indigent client and served as second-chair trial counsel in a complex prisoner rights case.

Marissa supports a variety of philanthropic causes including Chicago Cares, Lakeview Pantry and Ronald McDonald House Meals from the Heart. She is also a member of the firm's Social Responsibility Committee.

Insights & Events



  • Illinois Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, 2013-2019
  • Leading Lawyers Network – Emerging Lawyers, Commercial Litigation,  2015-2019
  • Named as one of Chicago Business Journal’s 2018 “Women of Influence”
  • David T. Brown Community Service Award, 2016
Super Lawyers
emerging lawyers