Marissa L. Downs

Marissa L. Downs

Chicago, IL


Marissa is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on product liability, complex construction, and technical commercial disputes. She has wide-ranging litigation experience representing manufacturers, owners, contractors, financial institutions, corporate officers and directors, and other clients in a variety of complex litigation. Marissa handles matters involving international and domestic contracts, design and manufacturing defects, construction scheduling, change order disputes, insurance coverage, fiduciary breach, fraud, restrictive covenants, general employment, contested probate, and shareholder disputes. She also represents attorneys and judges facing disciplinary action.

Marissa has participated in multiple trials in the Northern District of Illinois and the Circuit Court of Cook County and arbitrated several construction and contract-related disputes before the American Arbitration Association. She also second-chaired a case before a seven-member panel of the Illinois Courts Commission.

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. Marissa was a member of the National Trial Team at Northwestern Law School and served as a Senior Articles Editor for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. She gained valuable litigation experience through competitive internship placements at 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.

Prior to joining the firm, Marissa clerked for Justice Robert Eastaugh of the Alaska Supreme Court, interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in The Hague, Netherlands, and spent two years working for a large, international law firm.



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

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law
  • Much Associates Committee, Co-Chair, 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 is a member of the Board of Directors for the Lakeview Pantry, formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Coalition of Women's Initiative in Law and supports a variety of other philanthropic causes, including Chicago Cares and Ronald McDonald House Meals from the Heart. She is a member of Much Community, the firm's social responsibility committee.

Insights & Events



  • Leading Lawyers Network, Commercial Litigation, 2015-2020
  • Illinois Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, 2013-2019
  • 40 Under Forty, Law Bulletin Media, 2018
  • Women of Influence, Chicago Business Journal, 2018
  • Chicago Bar Association Leadership Institute, Inaugural Class
  • David T. Brown Community Service Award, 2016
Super Lawyers
Leading Lawyers