Joseph E. Tilson is co-chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment department and a member of the management committee and board of directors. Joe represents employers in large-scale employment litigation and labor arbitrations. In the past 35 years, he has tried more than 150 jury and non-jury cases before the full range of courts, administrative agencies, and labor arbitrators.
His clients include a number of the country’s largest public and private employers, and Illinois’ most prestigious universities, whom he represents in both traditional labor law matters and employment litigation.
Joe is nationally known for his knowledge and success in handling large wage and hour class action cases, but he also has vast experience in collective bargaining involving large and complex bargaining units.
In his role as co-chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment department, Joe has been instrumental in the growth of the practice, which has more than doubled in size to nearly 80 attorneys since 2015.
Joe is a frequent lecturer, author, and bar association leader. He regularly speaks on labor and employment issues for the American Bar Association, Practicing Law Institute, Northwestern University’s Corporate Council Institute, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and many other educational institutions and associations.
Joe is a fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers and is the former chair of the American Bar Association’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee. He is currently the chair of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Law Section, one of the largest sections of the ABA with over 12,000 members.
He continues to serve on the ABA’s council, the governing body of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Section. Joe also serves as vice-chair on the Board of Managers of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Prior to entering private practice, Joe served as law clerk for the Honorable Stephanie K. Seymour, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
Joe earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1976 and his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1979.
- University of Michigan Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1979
- University of Michigan, B.A., with honors, 1976
BAR ADMISSIONS : Illinois
COURT ADMISSIONS :
- U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court — Central District of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. District Court — Colorado
- U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Wisconsin
- Fellow and Regional Director, College Labor and Employment Lawyers
- ABA – Chair-Elect of Labor & Employment Section; Past Chair: Employment Law Trial Advocacy Competition; Past Chair: Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee; FLSA, Age Discrimination, and Equal Pay Act Subcommittees
- Board of Managers, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
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