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David E. Morrison

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David Morrison is a Principal in the firm's Litigation and Labor & Employment groups and is Chair of the Administrative Committee. He is an experienced litigator, trial and appellate lawyer, having represented public and private companies in various employment, commercial and bankruptcy-related cases in approximately 30 states and in every region of the country.

David has litigated or tried single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff and class action employment cases involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, FEHA, violation of public policy, and a variety of state law tort claims. He represents clients in single plaintiff, collective action and class actions brought under the FLSA, state minimum wage laws and privacy laws, including the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). He also handles cases concerning a breach of covenants not-to-compete or other restrictive covenants, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of confidentiality agreements, and violations of state and federal trade secret acts.

In addition, David counsels employers on matters such as handbooks and policies, reductions in force, terminations, various agreements (i.e., employment, compensation, separation, severance, temporary employee, covenants-not-to-compete, restrictive covenants and confidentiality), wage and hour issues, privacy, misclassification and independent contractor issues, WARN, ADA and the FMLA.

David's commercial litigation practice has involved litigation, arbitration and mediation of cases concerning securitized credit agreements, asset purchase, stock, warranty, guarantee, licensing, sales, promotion, distribution and marketing agreements; accounting fraud; lease disputes; breach of letters of intent; and fraudulent transfer, piercing the corporate veil and alter ego. He has handled dozens of bankruptcy issues, and has represented banks and other commercial lenders, pharmaceutical companies, trading firms, real estate operators and lessors, retail stores, restaurants, manufacturers, distributors and various service sectors.

David was named a Notable Gen X Leader by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2021. He has also been consistently selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers for both business and employment litigation for more than 10 years. In 2020, he was named a Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year by America's Top 100 LLC.

In May 2023, he received the Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association for his part in winning a case of national significance that went to the U.S. Supreme three times. In addition, based on a five-year-long corporate pro bono partnership David created with McDonald's Corporation and the National Immigrant Justice Center in 2016, Goldberg Kohn, McDonald's, the NIJC and Jenner & Block were awarded the 2021 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award for their extensive efforts in representing asylum seekers to be granted asylum in the United States. To view the awards video, please click here.

Professional Background
David joined Goldberg Kohn in August 1996. Over his 25-year career at the firm, he has chaired the Recruiting and Diversity committees and served as the firm's Employment Counsel. He is current Chair of the Administrative Committee. Before joining the firm, he was a judicial law clerk for the Hon. Suzanne B. Conlon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. 

David received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993, where he was Executive Note Editor of the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. He earned his B.A. in Political Science, with honors, from Indiana University in 1990. 

Community Service
Outside the practice of law, David serves on the Board of Directors of Makom Solel Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park, Illinois. He previously served as president and a member of the Board of Directors of College Bound, Inc., and is a past officer, co-chair of the Executive Committee and member of the Board of Directors of Scholarship Chicago, Inc., both not-for-profit charitable organizations established to assist underprivileged Chicago-area high school students in attending and graduating from college. David also coached girls and boys AYSO soccer teams in Deerfield, Illinois, for 14 years.

Contact David Morrison via email at or call 312.201.3972

Representative Matters

A representative sampling of David's litigation, trial and appellate experience include the following:

  • David was appointed a Special Assistant State's Attorney, and served as lead litigation counsel, representing Cook County, Illinois, in a case of national significance addressing the power of the federal government's Executive Branch relating to the nation's immigration laws, specifically how the term 'public charge' is to be applied to green card applicants. Goldberg Kohn represented the County at all three levels of the federal judiciary. The firm initially assisted in obtaining a preliminary injunction in the Northern District of Illinois; then helped to defeat two motions brought before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the injunction; and ultimately represented Cook County before the U.S. Supreme Court, which entered a stay of the injunction pending the appellate process. The Supreme Court's ruling drew a dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor that garnered front page attention in the national media. On February 26, 2020, David argued the merits of the appeal before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which panel included now Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. On June 10, 2020, the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Cook County and affirmed the preliminary injunction order.
  • Stretching over much of the COVID pandemic, David represented a Fortune 25 national banking client in a FINRA arbitration matter involving allegations of, among other claims, wrongful termination. The matter went to trial over Zoom, and included 15 trial days ending in September 2021. Based on his development of the facts and theory of the case, David defeated the wrongful termination claim.
  • David represented a California-based private equity company that had formed a business to acquire the majority lender position in a secured credit facility. Working with Goldberg Kohn's Creditor's Rights group, the client acquired the assets of a Chapter 11 debtor that operated 80 restaurants and bars nationwide in a Section 363 Sale under the Bankruptcy Code. Another private equity firm, a disappointed auction participant and minority lender in the facility, sued the firm's client in the Southern District of New York, attempting to use the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to extract one-third of the value of the purchased company from our client. David first successfully argued for the dismissal of the good faith and fair dealing claim. A February 2019 trial on the merits was held before Judge Jesse Furman. At trial, the minority lender attempted to establish that our client breached the "sharing provision" contained in the credit agreement when, instead of tendering cash at closing, the client tendered court-approved non-cash consideration. The SDNY entered a judgment fully in favor of our client. The decision represents a significant win for majority lender rights, and rejection of the minority lender's efforts to establish a rule of law that would have prohibited the use of non-cash consideration at bankruptcy auctions.
  • David was retained to represent two former executives of the plaintiff and their new employer who were sued in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois on federal and state trade secret misappropriation claims. David led a team and his clients through extensive emergency discovery and a two-day trial. Judge John Tharp entered a published decision fully in favor of David's clients and denied the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. The opinion has been discussed heavily by intellectual property and employment counsel around the country, (“For years to come, that’s going to be a decision that’s cited by litigators on both sides of these issues,” as quoted in "5 Noncompete Rulings from 2019 Attorneys Should Know," Law 360 (December 13, 2019)). As a result, David has been a sought-after speaker on the topic of reasonable protections for trade secret information. See Abrasic 90 Inc. v. Weldcote Metals, Inc. et al., 364 F. Supp.3d 888 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 4, 2019).
  • For over 20 years, David has represented a Fortune 125 company on a variety of commercial matters, including serving as its national employment counsel responsible for defending more than 100 single-plaintiff employment discrimination cases throughout the country. He has successfully obtained summary judgment or dismissal in these cases; in fact, over a one-year period he won appeals affirming three summary judgment decisions in the Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal. In one example case, David successfully defended the corporation and five individual defendants in a California state court case involving a former employee who sought $7 million in her nine count wrongful termination suit. David led a team of lawyers in extensive discovery, including 25 depositions, as the plaintiff tried to amass a tremendous record to create what she claimed was more than 150 disputes of material facts in an attempt to force our clients to a four-week jury trial. David was able to simplify the facts and issues and persuasively argue that not one material fact was in dispute, resulting in the clients being granted summary judgment. The California Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's decision in full after hearing argument from David, and the California Supreme Court denied the plaintiff's Petition for Review.

Other Bankruptcy-Related Trial Experience

  • David successfully tried a week-long commercial trial in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of an international jet airplane manufacturer, resulting in an award representing 40 percent of the debtor's estate, or more than $3.2 million.
  • David successfully tried a one-day commercial trial in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware concerning the valuation of debtor's domestic intellectual property assets, resulting in an order of adequate protection in favor of a lending client and the entry of an injunction against the use of infringing intellectual property in Europe.
  • David successfully tried a two-day commercial breach of contract trial in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, resulting in a judgment in favor of client.
  • On behalf of a Fortune 50 national banking client, David won summary judgment in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California on an issue involving a complex UCC conflicts-of-law analysis over a retention-of-title dispute that was central to the secured lender's ongoing business practices. David's winning oral argument occurred days before commencing trial on another matter.
  • David successfully tried a one-day preliminary injunction hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to enjoin class action environmental litigation from proceeding against the firm's client, which litigation was valued at over $50 million.
  • David represented a New York lender seeking to collect on a $3 million judgment. The night before a state court trial was to commence, at which trial David's client was seeking to declare an irrevocable dynasty trust a sham and make all of the trust's assets available to the judgment debtor's creditors, the judgment debtor filed for bankruptcy protection to obtain the benefit of the automatic stay and stop the trial from commencing. David obtained a lift of the automatic stay from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to force the case back to a state court trial. Rather than defend the trust's validity at trial, the debtor capitulated and conceded that the trust's assets should be available to his creditors in the bankruptcy case.
  • David represented a middle-market specialty finance firm in defense of an action by a vendor of its borrower seeking to recover millions of dollars from the firm's client (the secured lender) and several other defendants. The case was being litigated as a contested matter in the main bankruptcy case and as an adversary proceeding pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. After aggressive motion practice and discovery to shape the client's defenses, David led his client in a complex, multi-party, multi-day mediation, which ultimately led to a resolution that was extremely favorable to the client.


Chicago Office
55 East Monroe Street
Suite 3300
Chicago, Illinois 60603-5792

Practice areas

Industry Focus


  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1993
  • - Louis Honigman Memorial Award Recipient
  • - Raymond K. Dykma Scholarship Recipient
  • - Scribes award for outstanding legal writing
  • Indiana University, B.A., Political Science, with honors, 1990
  • - Wendle L. Wilkie Senior Thesis Award

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • New York
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, including Trial Bar
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Attorneys At Law

55 East Monroe Street
Suite 3300
Chicago, Illinois 60603-5792
Tel: 312.201.4000
Fax: 312.332.2196


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