Laying a Path for Future Lawyers
Organization: Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Sulema Medrano Novak is an accomplished and award-winning trial lawyer with extensive experience leading trial teams to verdict, particularly in cases related to commercial disputes and insurance claims. Sulema honed her courtroom skills as an Illinois state prosecutor and is known for defending corporate clients in complex contract and consumer disputes.
Sulema recently served as the Chair of the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Commission on Women and is also the former Regional President for the Hispanic National Bar Association and former Board of Director for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.
Sulema has hosted numerous educational programs to encourage middle school, high school and college students to pursue a career in the law. She helped design an executive leadership program for women lawyers with over ten years of experience to help them continue to break glass ceilings within the legal profession.
Sulema annually volunteers to raise money and donations for underprivileged children and families in the Chicagoland area during the winter and holiday months and has served as a volunteer coach for the Chicago Kent Trial Advocacy Team and Chicago Kent’s Hispanic Law Student Association. Currently, Sulema serves as an Executive Board Member for the Latino Leadership Council. Sulema also volunteers her time toward pro bono legal work, including the ACLU COVID Detainee Project.
Sulema has been recognized as a top lawyer under 40 by the Chicago Law Bulletin and the Hispanic National Bar Association, Chicago Kent College of Law’s Young Alumna of the Year 2019, one of the Lawyers of Color’s Nations Best for 2019, a Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers, and Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago by Negocios Now. She received the 2018 Latina Lawyer of the Year Award from the Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois.
Sulema graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Art from James Madison Honors College at Michigan State University and received her juris doctorate from Chicago Kent College of Law.
Words of wisdom: “If we want to experience significant progress towards the professional advancement of Latinos, we need to be intentional about the work we’re doing to build the pipeline every day.”