Core Values in Action

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Michael Freeborn is a Partner in the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group.

In his 40 years as a trial lawyer, he has tried nearly every type of complex case – from utilities to supermarket bar codes. He represents companies in business litigation at both the trial and appellate level and has extensive experience in antitrust, commercial, employment, environmental, product liability and securities litigation.

He is the only lawyer in history to win a jury trial for a company in a "fraud on the market" securities class action, despite evidence that directors and officers of the company were selling shares prior to a disappointing earnings announcement. Grassi v. Information Resources, Inc., 63 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 1995). The defendant's successful use of a "shadow jury" during trial of the case was featured in a front page article of the National Law Journal.

The publisher of Chicago Lawyer magazine honored Michael as one of 10 lawyers who, during the last decade, "raised the bar" in the Illinois legal profession. "From the courtroom, to complicated transactions, each attorney selected made an impact on the legal profession, as we know it," according to the award summary. 

As a founding member of Freeborn, Michael helped grow the Firm from six lawyers in 1983 to more than 120 today. Through these experiences, he came to see firsthand the value of pro bono work and how individual lawyers and their law firms can change the world through strategic alignment with important causes.

Michael is a founder and leader of the Willow Creek Legal Aid Ministry, a pro bono organization in suburban Chicago which serves more than 1,000 low-income clients per year. 

He is a member of the Firm's Executive Committee.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented a large manufacturing company in true lease/disguised financing litigation in the chapter 11 case of Gateway Ethanol, L.L.C. in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas.
  • Defending a large private home improvement chain and its owner against claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and promissory estoppel.
Honors & Awards: 
  • Illinois Super Lawyers - 2019 - Business Litigation (cited in multiple years)
  • Leading Lawyers magazine - The Top 100 Attorneys in Illinois
  • Fellow - Litigation Counsel of America
  • Martindale-Hubbell legal ability/ethical standards rating (“A-V”) - Highest possible rating
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2019 (cited in multiple years)
  • Benchmark Litigation - 2019 Local Litigation Star
Professional Activities: 
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America


J.D., Indiana University, Associate Editor, Law Journal
M.B.A., University of Chicago
B.S., United States Air Force Academy

State Bar Admissions


Federal Bar Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third, Sixth, Seventh and District of Columbia Circuits
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (including Trial Bar)

Community Service

  • Founder and Leader, The Willow Creek Legal Aid Ministry
  • Vice Chairman and Board Member of Voices for Illinois Children (former)
  • Boards of the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago and Chicago Youth Centers (former)