Overview

Catherine Masters enjoys a challenge. For almost 40 years, she has briefed and argued the most complex litigation issues at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts. When cases go awry, she steps in to steer them in the right direction and provide the counsel, analysis, and strategy to solve difficult legal problems. Catherine deftly litigates matters related to insurance/reinsurance, product liability, employment, constitutional law, professional liability and general commercial disputes.

  • Experience

    Insurance and Reinsurance

    • “Rescuing” insurer clients from seriously adverse outcomes, in state and federal courts nationwide, often involving claims of bad faith.
    • Winning summary judgment for insurers and reinsurers on duty-to-defend and coverage issues.

    Product Liability

    • Representing clients in important product liability matters of first impression in the highest courts of several states (including Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas) on the constitutionality of tort reform legislation, clarification and content of available tort theories, exposure/risk/fear issues and accrual/limitation issues.
    • Successfully briefing numerous matters relating to the asbestos multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings, including the severance of punitive damages claims upon remand, mandamus proceedings concerning the legitimacy of the MDL proceedings, and complex discovery issues.
    • Litigating influential cases on the courts’ authority to manage their dockets by placing marginal cases on inactive status, the application of market-share theory to asbestos litigation, and nationwide class certification.

    Employment

    • Defending municipal bodies in numerous Section 1983 cases asserting First Amendment, equal protection, and due process constitutional claims, including reverse-discrimination, whistleblower, and class action cases.
    • Litigating the applicability of pre-dispute arbitration agreements to Title VII claims.
    • Obtaining post-trial entry of judgment as a matter of law, overturning a federal jury verdict on retaliation and punitive damages, and successfully defending this result on appeal.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1982, with honors
      The University of Chicago Law Review, Editorial Board
      Joseph Henry Beale Prize
    • Yale University, M.A., Classical Languages and Literature, 1977
    • University of Chicago, A.B., Classical Languages and Literature, 1976, with honors
      Phi Beta Kappa

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    • 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 Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)

        Clerkships

        • Honorable Luther M. Swygert, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (1982-1984)

        Professional Memberships

        • American Bar Association
        • Chicago Bar Association
        • Seventh Circuit Bar Association

        Teaching Appointments

        • Adjunct Professor, University of Chicago Law School (2011-present) “Litigation Laboratory” Course

        Languages Spoken & Fluency

        • Ancient Greek
        • Latin
      • Insights

        TITLE
        News Release

        2020 Best Lawyers in America Lists Recognizes 63 Attorneys, Three “Lawyers of the Year”

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 63 attorneys have been included in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, with three attorneys also being named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

        News Release

        2019 Leading Lawyers Lists Recognize 95 Schiff Attorneys

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to have 95 attorneys named to the 2019 Leading Lawyers list.

        News Release

        61 Schiff Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers in America List and Six Recognized as “Lawyer of the Year”

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that 61 attorneys have been included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, as well as six who were named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

        News Release

        95 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 Leading Lawyers Lists

        Ninety-six Schiff Hardin lawyers have been named to the 2018 Leading Lawyers lists for Illinois and Michigan.

        News Release

        Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 The Best Lawyers in America

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that five attorneys have been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.

        News Release

        99 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Named to 2017 Leading Lawyers List

        Ninety-nine Schiff Hardin lawyers have been named to the 2017 Leading Lawyers list for Illinois and Michigan.

        News Release

        53 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017

        Three Schiff Hardin attorneys also received the prestigious Best Lawyers’ 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” award.

        News Release

        91 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Illinois, Michigan Leading Lawyers Network

        The list is comprised of those attorneys who are most recommended as top lawyers among their peers.

        News Release

        63 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2016

        Of the 64 Schiff Hardin attorneys honored by Best Lawyers, three Schiff Hardin attorneys were also nominated for Best Lawyers’ 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in Chicago

        Other Publications

        • “Punitive Damages Claims and the Illinois Survival Act” (bepress 2007)
      • Citizenship

        Pro Bono Activities

        Catherine has a committed pro bono practice, including immigration, death penalty, and family law matters.

        Civic and Charitable Memberships

        • Legal Aid Chicago (f/k/a/ LAF), Board of Directors (former co-chair). Legal Aid Chicago brings equal access to justice byproviding high quality, free legal services to each year to thousands of Cook County’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.
        • Chicago Bar Association Chorus. The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is Chicagoland's unique musical ensemble of attorneys, judges, and legal professionals, founded in 1986. 
      • Awards & Honors

        • Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News & World Report (2015-2021)
        • Illinois Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2006-2021)
        • Lawyer of the Year in Chicago (Insurance), Best Lawyers in America (2019)
        • Top 100 Women Business Lawyers, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)
        • Peer Reviewed AV® Preeminent™, Martindale-Hubbell (since 2007)
        • Schiff Hardin Community Service Award (June 2016)