Matthew Farrish Prewitt is a trial lawyer with a national practice advocating for Schiff Hardin’s clients in disputes arising from the theft and misuse of confidential and private information, breaches of restrictive covenants in commercial and employment relationships, and related breaches of trust and loyalty.
Matt also frequently advises clients on protection of sensitive competitive and personal information, information governance, and the intersection of the law of trade secrets, privacy, and data security.
Clients turn to Matt for swift, decisive courtroom victories when time is of the essence. As lead trial counsel, Matt has won emergency injunctive relief in expedited proceedings in more than a dozen states. Matt has extensive experience investigating and trying complex claims for theft and destruction of electronic data and has won case-terminating sanctions for destruction of computer data in multiple suits.
Matt also has unusually deep experience in enforcement proceedings to compel compliance with injunctions and to win remedies for violations of court orders. Matt has won case terminating or dispositive sanction awards for litigation misconduct and violation of injunctions in numerous suits, often prevailing under a heightened burden of proof to win punitive sanctions.
Matt provides strategic advice and counseling for clients seeking growth through lateral competitive hiring, guiding the client through the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding process to mitigate litigation risk when hiring employees subject to restrictive covenants and nondisclosure obligations.
As a trial lawyer who regularly leads the prosecution and defense of complex, fast track injunction proceedings, Matt has learned how to triage the potential factual and legal issues to develop a focused, winning strategy that achieves the client’s business objectives. Matt knows how to litigate as a plaintiff, by seizing the initiative and framing the issues for trial.
Matt applies these skills in “rescue” engagements where he is called upon to augment or replace prior trial counsel at an advanced stage of the case. These engagements have provided Matt substantive experience in a broad range of business, environmental, and mass tort disputes in both the trial courts and in bankruptcy proceedings.
Matt is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP-US). He is also an adjunct professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law where he has taught courses on complex pretrial litigation and the law of data privacy.
Matt is an active participant in The Sedona Conference Working Group 1 (Electronic Document Production and Retention) and Working Group 11 (Data Security and Privacy Liability) as well as the newly formed Working Group 12 (Trade Secrets). He is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
- University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1996
- Delta State University, B.A., 1993
- New York
- 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 Tenth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
- U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Expert Witnesses Committee, Co-Chair (2015), Vice Chair (2012–2015)
- International Association of Privacy Professionals
- The Sedona Conference, Working Group 1 on Electronic Document Production and Retention, Drafting Team for Commentary on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Security, Privacy, and Discovery, Working Group 11 on Data Security and Privacy Liability, Drafting Team for Data Privacy Law Primer, and Working Group 12 (Trade Secrets).
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