Spotlight on Emily Masalski

The Women and the Law Committee congratulates our past Chair, Emily Masalski for being named one of Chicago Law Bulletin’s 2017 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch. Members of our committee know that Emily is an inspiration and it’s wonderful to see the rest of the local legal community recognizing her accomplishments as well.

Emily is a partner at Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP (“R3”) and a member of the firm’s environmental and natural resources, health and safety, and litigation practice areas. R3 is a boutique energy and infrastructure, environmental, health and safety and litigation law firm in Chicago. Emily represents companies in the manufacturing, gas, electric, railroad, and financial services industries in matters involving OSHA compliance, breach of contract, title claims, leaking underground storage tanks, trespass, nuisance, and regulatory compliance and/or permitting issues under environmental statutes.

Emily is a trailblazer. She looks for opportunities to solve problems and seizes upon them. When she saw that O’Hare airport was not accommodating the needs of lactating mothers, she researched legislation in other states, drafted language for Senate Bill 344, reached out to legislators and garnered the support of attorney moms. The Lactation Accommodation in Airports Act (410 ILCS 140/) was signed into law on August 2, 2015, and became effective on January 1, 2016. Emily took the issue to the Illinois State Bar Association staff and worked with them in 2016 to ensure that ISBA conferences and meetings had lactation accommodation available for nursing mothers.

In addition, Emily is one of just a few attorneys in Illinois who have advised medical marijuana cultivation and dispensary business applicants regarding the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program and the permit application process for the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. Emily currently serves as Membership Chair of the Illinois Cannabis Bar Association and presented a CLE on this emerging area of law at Chicago-Kent on March 16, 2017. She also served as a guest lecturer on March 23, 2017 for an elective course at Chicago-Kent College of Law titled “Cannabis Law.” Her lecture examined the legal issues associated with state legalization and the intersection with federal environmental and health and safety laws.

Emily’s litigation practice also includes Cook County and Federal Court matters involving mold exposure, fugitive dust contamination, and historical contamination and remediation. Emily continues to advise clients in complying with recent OSHA rulemakings, such as OSHA’s Final Rule to protect workers from beryllium exposure; OSHA’s Walking Working Surfaces Final Rule; and OSHA’s Final Rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.

In addition to her day job, Emily is extremely generous with her time in terms of giving back to her community, both through bar service and through her philanthropic activities. She is currently actively involved with the Illinois State Bar Association (“ISBA”) and the American Bar Association (“ABA”). In June 2016, Emily concluded her two year term as an “Under 35” ISBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. She was elected to this position in 2014. She served as an ISBA Assembly Member from 2010 through 2013.

For the ISBA, she served as Chair of the ISBA Environmental Law Section Council in 2016-2017, where she has been a member since 2011. During her term as Chair, the Section Council has held three networking events, hosted three Professional Development Luncheons, published a book on environmental law for non-environmental lawyers, and coordinated the 16th Annual Environmental Law Conference that was held in May 2017.

Emily has been a member of ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Council (“DLC”) since 2014 and concluded her term in June 2017. Beginning in 2015, the DLC began evaluating the ISBA’s organization-wide diversity protocol. Emily worked with DLC members to draft a complete overhaul of the ISBA diversity policies last visited in 2009. The restructured diversity protocol was adopted by the ISBA Board of Governors in late 2016, and went into effect with the 2017 bar year. Emily also served as co-Editor of the June 2017 issue of the DLC’s Diversity Matters newsletter.

Emily has also served in leadership roles for the American Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association. She was recently appointed to the CBA’s Judicial Evaluation Committee.

Emily also gives back to the community by serving as a volunteer Commissioner on the Village of Oak Park’s Citizen Involvement Commission and by participating in volunteer activities such as Ascension’s Religious Education Board, the Women Everywhere Partners in Service Project, AFW Girl Scouts Project Law Track, the WATL Service Day, and leading associates at her firm in pro bono projects.

Emily has been honored as an Illinois Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2010-2013, 2015-2017 (environmental litigation); named an Emerging Lawyer by Leading Lawyers in 2016, 2017; received the Illinois State Bar Association’s Young Lawyer of the Year Award in 2011; and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Star of the Quarter in February 2010.

In addition to all of the above, Emily and her husband Brian Chojnowski are the proud parents of two young children.

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December 2017Volume 23Number 2PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)