March 2010 Spotlight by the
Republican National Lawyers' Association
March Member Spotlight: Christine Svenson
By Mr. J. Justin Riemer
Editor: Christine, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Svenson: I am an absolute microcosm of both of my parents
they are two of the hardest working (and conservative) individuals I have ever known! I enjoyed a
wonderful upbringing, and the most important thing my parents did for me was to lead by example,
especially with respect to personal responsibility. There was never any nagging or dictating to me
and my siblings. Rarely did they ask me to do my homework, clean my room, get a part-time job
I just did it because it was expected (not to say that I was perfect)!
I am a native Chicagoan (suburbs)
very proud of that! It is a fabulous world-class gem of a city
but yet still a little bit of a hidden secret to many. I have traveled all over the world, and yet,
I’ve never studied or lived anywhere but Chicago and its environs
Northwestern University (B.A.)
and Chicago-Kent Illinois Institute of Technology (J.D). It is very cliché to say, but there is
something particularly genuine about Chicagoans, and in general, they stand out for their warmth
Editor: Tell us a little bit about your practice.
Svenson: My practice is relatively diverse (primarily employment and
family), and that is the key to sustainability in this economy. I’ve been practicing law for fifteen
years now, and only started my own practice two years ago. By far, the best thing I have done in my
career is to start my own practice. First and foremost, it has allowed me the opportunity to pursue
legal cases and remedies that I did not have the freedom to explore while working at a private law
firm. Secondly, it has provided me with the opportunity to be creative and highlight the skills that
I have honed (e.g. my language skills). Finally, and most importantly, it is a wonderful challenge
to operate your own business, and I enjoy every minute of it!
Editor: You mentioned that you also practice family law. How did
you become involved in that?
Svenson: I enjoy it very much, because I only accept cases from
individuals that I personally like and believe in. I view it as an opportunity to improve an individual’s
(and/or child’s) life. One of the first things I say to my clients is that while things are bad now
(at the beginning), there is an “end in sight.” And, what will get them through the ordeal is a solid core
base (whether it is other family members or close friends) and their attorney! Having a compassionate
attorney who is also a friend makes an enormous difference.
Editor: You also represent employers in workplace litigation. Illinois
is not known as the most business friendly state. Does that come through when you represent employers
Svenson: Constantly! Illinois is nationally known for its judicial
“hellholes” (Madison and Cook County rate in the top three), because our tort system is so out of whack,
and attempts to reform it get overturned by the Supreme Court of Illinois. In addition, the workers’
compensation system is enormously favorable to the employee
huge awards and settlements occur that are
four to five times the size of an award in our neighboring state of Indiana. And a little known area of
the law that has exploded over the past ten years is overtime and wage laws (federal and state). These
laws, while relevant when enacted in the 30s under Roosevelt, no longer have a place in today’s global
economy and are absolutely destroying small business (this is a national, and not just statewide epidemic).
Editor: Do you feel that is a major issue in the state? If so, do you
think it is something Republicans can capitalize on?
Svenson: It is an enormously important issue in this state, because
it is the primary cause of the erosion of small business and its corollary, unemployment. My core
practice involves representing small and medium sized businesses, and the reality is that it makes
no economic sense for my clients not to move that business across the border to Indiana, or Missouri
Republicans in this state have failed over the last few years to contrast the stark
differences between us and the Democratic leadership, and this is what we need to improve. It is no
secret that our state is about to go bankrupt, and yet, the Democratic legislature (run by John
Cullerton, a trial lawyer) and the governor continue to bow down to trial lawyers. They absolutely
refuse to reign in the outrageous costs associated with doing business in this state, offer no
solutions to our near bankrupt economy, and yet get a free pass. We cannot let that happen any longer.
Editor: What sparked your interest in becoming active politically?
Svenson: Goodness, it is in my blood, and I probably picked up tidbits
from my parents while in the womb! My mom ran for Congress in the 8th district of Illinois in 1994,
and that inspired me to learn more about the issues that our country faces. Ever since then it has
Editor: For years, Illinois was a swing state, however, it has
voted increasingly Democratic in recent cycles. Do you feel that the Democrat trend can be reversed?
Svenson: Absolutely, but I say that with cautious optimism. I fear
that many Republicans in this state may be content to rely upon the national momentum and mistakenly
think that the Virginia/New Jersey/Massachusetts trends will automatically run this way. It is no
sure thing, because the Daley and Madigan machines are so powerful and absolute that we face a
monumental task in defeating them, even in these anti Democratic (big D) times.
Editor: What do you think lawyers bring to the table to help
rebuild a strong party in the state?
Svenson: To be clear, it is my belief that the upcoming election
for governor will come down to the efforts of our lawyers taking the Democratic machine out of the
process and preserving the integrity of the ballot. So there has never been a time where the aide
of the GOP lawyers will be so crucial to the future of our party in this state.
Editor: Your firm recently hosted RNLA’s Illinois Chapter 2010
kickoff meeting. How did that go?
Svenson: Fantastic! I was so pleased to see both some veterans
who are willing to lead and train, as well as some eager young lawyers. We have a tough road
ahead, but a very capable and energized group of lawyers willing to help!
Editor: Tell us what you like to do while away from your firm?
Svenson: Because I speak three other languages (French, Spanish,
Italian), I love to travel abroad. Language is the absolute window to culture! In addition, I am
a tennis fanatic (playing and watching), enjoy golf, college football (especially Northwestern/Big
Ten), and reading just about any non-fiction biography.
Editor: Finally, as a Chicago native, I have to ask: Cubs or Sox?
Svenson: I am one of the few diehard Cubs fans that actually not
only enjoys going to Sox games, but roots for them as well! But the Cubbies are my team
win the World Series all hell will have frozen over!
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