Photo of Thadford A. Felton

Thadford A. Felton


As corporate counsel, Thad Felton partners with businesses and business leaders to help them grow companies, compete favorably and protect their business assets. As a trial attorney, he tirelessly advocates for his clients to help them achieve these goals.


  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois - General & Trial Bar
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit


J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1994

B.A., Denison University, 1989


With more than 25 years of experience seeing business conflicts through trial, arbitration and mediation, Thad Felton has a trained eye for identifying potential risks and developing long-term strategies for his business owner and business leader clients.

As one client said, “Thad has an unnatural ability to cut through the fog and sees the real problem to solve. He does this in very specific terms in a matter of minutes or hours, not days or weeks. Once Thad sees the real problem, he communicates the issues practically, examines the best solutions and gives you the confidence to act on the right actions in very efficient and highly effective ways.

As a trial lawyer, Thad litigates and directs litigation in federal and state courts nationwide. Just a few examples of the types of matters Thad has handled for his clients include the following:

  • Emergency and other relief related to the misappropriation of trade secrets, the enforcement of restrictive covenants and unfair competition;
  • Illinois Trade Secret Act and the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act;
  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act;
  • Fraud, misrepresentation, fraudulent transfer and consumer fraud act claims;
  • Breach of contract, including issues related to interference with contract and business expectancy;
  • Breach of fiduciary duty and employment agreements;
  • Class actions;
  • Products liability; and
  • Insurance coverage disputes.

Thad also works with business leaders to understand their business and personal objectives and strategizes with them on how to achieve those objectives. Thad advises business leaders in areas that include corporate governance, contracts, employment and personnel matters, risk management and litigation. He also works with business owners to draft and negotiate shareholder, operating, purchase and sale agreements. In addition, he has worked with businesses to implement risk mitigation measures through trade secret and confidential information audits, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, non-disclosure agreements and employment agreements. Finally, Thad has guided several clients through mergers and acquisitions, including the post-sale integration processes to ensure seamlessness of customer interactions, employment law issues, litigation avoidance and overall business success.

Thad is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and is the leader of the Chicago office.


Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association

Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, 2015-2022
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers, 2016-2022


Representative Matters

Dispute resolution

  • Directed litigation in a large commercial matter in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, that involved complex breach of contract, fraud, and deceptive practices issues and hundreds of thousands of documents. 
  • Successfully defended a claim brought by an employer against an employee salesperson to enforce non-competition and non-solicitation clauses in an employment agreement. The court ruled that both restrictive covenants were unenforceable.
  • Enforced non-competition and non-solicitation clauses in an employment agreement against a physician who was terminated from a practice group. The court upheld both restrictive covenants.
  • Defended a large international manufacturer's representative in a trade secret case in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. Although damaging evidence was uncovered during discovery, the case was settled on favorable terms for the client.
  • Represented the owner of a prominent high-end hotel chain in a dispute with its general contractor regarding overages.
  • Obtained a $42.5 million settlement in an environmental insurance coverage matter on behalf of a bankruptcy trustee.
  • Defended a motor coach manufacturer in product liability litigation resulting from catastrophic accidents throughout the United States.
  • Represented owners in a dispute with general and subcontractors regarding deficiencies in the design of a medical office building, specifically involving the design of the HVAC system, the plumbing system, and the humidity controls for the MRI room. 
  • Successfully represented a regional multiple listing service as plaintiff in a breach of contract and false advertising action and defended it as a counter-defendant in an antitrust claim in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The defendant entered into an agreed injunction, paid monetary damages and dismissed the antitrust counterclaim.
  • Negotiated settlement terms favorable to a national real estate brokerage firm in a breach of non-solicitation agreement against a former office manager. 
  • Successfully represented real estate brokers in 50-plus matters concerning allegations of fraud, consumer fraud, negligence and violation of the Illinois Real Estate License Act. Most matters were dismissed on motion practice or settled for under $10,000 (“cost of defense” settlements).
  • Successfully barred plaintiff's damages expert through motions in limine from testifying at trial in a mold/property damage case which led to plaintiff lowering its settlement demand from the high six-figure range to the mid five-figure range. Case was settled before trial for less than cost of defense.
  • Represented large franchisor in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is enforcing its rights under several franchise agreements against several franchisees. In addition, secured an injunction against the franchisees competing against the franchisor, which was upheld on appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represented a business in a breach of contract action related to the theft of payments from insurance companies.


  • First-chaired a jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois representing three plaintiffs in a Section 1983 action. Jury awarded plaintiffs the full amount of damages sought, which was in the high six-figure range. 
  • First-chaired a bench trial in Cook County, Illinois, representing the plaintiff in a breach of a partnership agreement dispute. The judge awarded the full amount of relief sought, about $250,000.
  • Second-chaired jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois representing a minor plaintiff in a section 1981 and 1982 action. Jury awarded damages in a high six-figure range.
  • Second-chaired two-month jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa representing a commercial client in a Lanham Act case. The client was awarded the full amount of damages.
  • First-chaired a bench trial in Cook County, Illinois, representing a plaintiff in a breach of contract related to cryptocurrency. The judge awarded the dollar value of the cryptocurrency that was taken from plaintiff.

News & Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • "Great Expectations or Bleak House: Protecting Client Communications to Avoid Ending Up in a Dickens of a Situation"
    Association of Corporate Counsel, January 2015
  • Webinar, "Negotiating Letters of Intent"
    The Business Development Academy, 2012


Articles & Books


Blog Posts

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