As the leader of the firm's 28-attorney Banking Group in Chicago and New York, Eileen Sethna helps her clients and colleagues navigate difficult waters and considers it her job to provide ballast. Eileen is a trusted adviser to banks and other financial institutions, hedge funds, real estate investors and small business owners, who lean on her stabilizing wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in the banking industry.
Walking her clients through bankruptcies, loan and credit disputes, business reorganizations, workouts and other matters of insolvency, she listens carefully to determine what each client needs and provides thoughtful counsel on options that will best achieve the goals. Eileen is equally adept at managing the front end and representing her client in court. She writes loan and other transactional documents and advises banks in portfolio management, including strategies for acquisition, liquidation and restructuring of assets.
Eileen recently represented a lender in a credit facility including a term loan, a revolving loan and a non-taxable bond to a not-for-profit company that provides child welfare, substance abuse and childcare services to more than 70,000 people annually. The credit facility was secured by multiple real estate mortgages, an investment pledge, secured interests in personal property and required negotiations with other creditors, including governmental agencies to procure subordination agreements.
A seasoned trial lawyer before both judges and juries, Eileen has considerable experience in complex commercial litigation of business disputes involving contracts, security agreements, mechanic's liens and foreclosures. She has litigated in both state and federal courts and at trial and appellate levels. Not one to rush to trial—although she does enjoy the courtroom experience—she recognizes that litigation can be expensive and unpredictable and helps clients consider other options first.
Since 2006 she has represented the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer and, in order to litigate on behalf of the Office, matter pursuing recovery of assets, was appointed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois.
A graduate of The John Marshall Law School, Eileen has worked with government entities before. She clerked for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in child support enforcement and for the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court.
Additional past experience representing both commercial and consumer borrowers in refinancing and restructuring debt gives Eileen a unique perspective and insight from the other side. This is an advantage for her current clients, who benefit from her ability to anticipate what the opposing side might do. In all matters, Eileen is constantly attuned to eying potential problems and heading them off in advance to make the client’s job easier.
Highly accessible, she considers practicing law to be a privilege not to be taken lightly, and it shows in the way she does business. Eileen’s clients are persuaded that she understands the stress of the pending matter for them, and they rest assured she will do everything she can to resolve the issue.
Eileen was previously a member of Chuhak & Tecson’s Litigation Committee and is the former chair of the Professional Education Committee. During Eileen’s tenure the Professional Education Committee increased the number of seminars offered in order to allow attorneys to complete Continuing Legal Education hours in-house. A committed educator, Eileen also initiated a popular round table program at the firm to train newer lawyers on a variety of relevant topics. She has presented on various topics including secured transactions, judicial foreclosure trends, post-judgment collection, bankruptcy and women in business.
In 2018, Crain’s Chicago Business recognized her as one of the city’s “Notable Women Lawyers,” a distinction recognizing accomplished women attorneys who work tirelessly to effect positive change, serve as inspirations and mentors to other women attorneys and commit their time and talents to charitable organizations and philanthropic endeavors. She was also named a Leading Lawyer from 2018 to 2019, an honor awarded to less than five percent of all lawyers in Illinois.
Eileen is a passionate fundraiser for Misericordia, a not for profit dedicated to providing services and support to children and adults with physical and developmental challenges. A dedicated member of Misericordia’s Women’s Board, Eileen has twice co-chaired and in 2016 chaired the Heart of Mercy Ball. The 2016 Heart of Mercy campaign netted over $1 million for the benefit of the residents who call Misericordia home, which is the largest amount raised in Women’s Board history.
The mother of three small children, she is an accomplished golfer who was captain of her high school men’s team and an impressionist painter who has exhibited in the Wells Street Art Festival. If she were not an attorney, Eileen would consider an anchor position at ESPN to be her ultimate dream job.