Caryn L. Jacobs

Caryn Jacobs is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office and head of the firm’s professional liability practice group. Ms. Jacobs focuses her practice on accounting and auditing defense, including extensive representation of auditors and other witnesses before the SEC; federal securities litigation; litigation involving ERISA and trust law; financial institution fraud; class certification issues; federal, bankruptcy, and arbitration jurisdiction issues; and commercial litigation generally.

Ms. Jacobs’ experience includes litigating complex matters throughout the country. For example, in In re Cendant Corp. Securities Litigation, she litigated a multidistrict action centered in the District of New Jersey that involved multiple class and derivative actions, separate state actions, SEC and DOJ proceedings, three criminal trials, and professional liability claims. She co‐tried AUSA Life Insurance, et al. v. Ernst & Young, LLP, et al., a three‐month federal securities fraud case in the Southern District of New York, which resulted in a victory for her client. She recently successfully defended a major financial institution client in two emergency preliminary injunction actions. And, she co-tried the Lexecon v. Milberg case in the Northern District of Illinois, which resulted in a $45 million jury verdict against Milberg Weiss; Milberg Weiss settled for $50 million immediately after.

Ms. Jacobs served as an assistant United States attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois from 1988 to 1993. In that capacity, she prosecuted dozens of criminal matters, focusing in her final years on criminal financial institution fraud. From 1983 to 1985, she was a law clerk for The Hon. Susan Getzendanner (retired), United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

Trials and Hearings

  • Tried more than 20 jury, bench, and arbitration trials (both civil and criminal)
  • Conducted dozens of evidentiary court hearings (TROs and preliminary injunctions, class action approval hearings, preliminary examinations, suppression and detention hearings, sentencings, and grand jury presentations)
  • Conducted and defended hundreds of days of civil depositions nationally
  • Appeared in scores of court hearings nationwide

Ms. Jacobs received an A.B. in Humanities, with honors and distinction, in 1980 from Stanford University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received a J.D., cum laude, in 1983 from Harvard Law School, where she was notes and comments editor for the Harvard Women’s Law Journal.

Honors & Awards

Ms. Jacobs was recently recognized in the 2014 edition of Benchmark Litigation: Top 250 Women in Litigation - Illinois, in addition to U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® 2014 for her arbitration, commercial litigation, and mediation practices. In 2010, the judges of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois presented Ms. Jacobs with the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service. Ms. Jacobs was listed in the 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America for her work in arbitration and mediation and the 2015 edition for arbitration, mediation, and commercial litigation. Ms. Jacobs was ranked in Chambers USA 2012, 2013, and 2014 as one of Illinois’ top lawyers in general commercial litigation practice. Ms. Jacobs was included as an Illinois Litigation Star in the 2013 edition of Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys.


Ms. Jacobs’ publications include “Q&A With Mayer Brown’s Caryn Jacobs,” Law 360, June 24, 2009. She recently contributed chapters on Section 10(b) pleading, CAFA, and SLUSA in PLI’s Credit Market and Subprime Distress; on privileges in PLI’s Securities Investigations: Internal, Civil, and Criminal; and on opposing class certification in ALI-ABA’s Accountant’s Liability. She also speaks and writes on such diverse subjects as class certification issues, attorney-client privilege and work product, ethics, settlement strategy, securities litigation, federal procedure, and accounting and auditing, most recently speaking at the ALI-ABA’s seminars on “Accountants’ Liability” for each of 2010, 2011, and 2012.