A highly experienced litigator, Paula Morency has tried complex, high-stakes commercial cases successfully before juries, judges and arbitrators across the country. She has also resolved hundreds of complicated claims in mediation. She is determined to achieve successful outcomes that meet her clients’ business and legal goals.

The head of the firm’s Franchise and Distribution Client Service Team, Paula concentrates her practice on litigation and arbitration of commercial disputes, including consumer class actions, franchise and distribution suits, antitrust claims, vicarious liability and data privacy disputes.

Paula teaches trial advocacy at Northwestern University School of Law and is a faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.  

  • Experience

    • Paula has successfully represented franchisors, manufacturers, and national consumer products companies across the country.  Her clients have prevailed both before trial and in the courtroom. 
    • In trials and arbitration proceedings, Paula and her teams have defeated multimillion dollar damage claims.  Those victories have been consistently affirmed on appeal.
    • In pre-trial victories, Paula has obtained the dismissal of several nationwide class actions, and has succeeded in compelling arbitration, on an individual basis, of claims brought on behalf of a class.
    • In other cases, her work has led to summary judgment victories, including judgments in favor of franchisors and manufacturers on contract, statutory and antitrust claims, consumer suits, and catastrophic personal injury claims.
    • Paula has successfully defended and resolved hundreds of disputes in mediation as well, including Robinson Patman claims, consumer class and mass tort actions, franchisee and distributor terminations.
  • Credentials


    • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.
      Winner, William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition
    • Princeton University, A.B., magna cum laude

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

        Professional Memberships

        Paula has been active in national and local bar associations and served on the Merit Selection Panel for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She has also served on the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Franchising, co-chaired its annual program, and served on its Litigation and Dispute Resolution Steering Committee, Publications Committee, and the Editorial Board for the Franchise Lawyer.

        Teaching Appointments

        • Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (1988 – present)
        • Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University School of Law (1996-present) Trial Advocacy
      • Insights

        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

        Chambers USA 2017 Recognizes 20 Schiff Hardin Attorneys and 4 Practice Areas

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that 20 attorneys and four practice areas were recognized in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA, a leading legal industry ranking.

        News Release

        Partner Paula Morency Named BTI Client Service All-Star for the Second Time

        Partner Paula Morency has been named a 2017 BTI Client Service All-Star for delivering superior client service.

        News Release

        39 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2017 Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists, and Two Schiff Hardin Attorneys Named to Top 50 Women Lawyers

        Thirty-nine Schiff Hardin attorneys have been selected for inclusion on the 2017 Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

        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

        25 Schiff Hardin Attorneys, 7 Practice Areas Ranked by Chambers USA 2016

        Twenty-five Schiff Hardin attorneys and seven practice areas received leading rankings in the 2016 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.


        CFPB Proposes Rules Banning Use of Class Action Waivers in Consumer Arbitration Agreements

        The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed new rules that would largely ban the use of “no class action” arbitration provisions in consumer financial products and services agreements. 81 Fed. Reg. 32,830-01 (May 24, 2016).

        News Release

        Partner Paula J. Morency Named Franchise Times 2016 Legal Eagle

        Paula has earned the Legal Eagle honor since the award debuted in 2008, reflecting her recognition by peers and the Franchise Times editorial board as one of the best attorneys in franchising.

        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

        40 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

        The Super Lawyers selection methodology includes a statewide nomination process, peer review by practice area, and independent research on candidates.

        Speeches & Presentations

        Paula has been a frequent speaker and author on such topics as class actions, arbitration, consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices act claims, franchising, trial advocacy, expert witnesses, mediation, and antitrust topics. Her most recent papers and presentations include:

        • “Private Justice through Arbitration,” ABA Forum on Franchising, Miami (Oct. 2016 scheduled presentation)
        • “What to Do When the Class Action Arrives,” DRI Retail and Hospitality Seminar, Chicago (2016)
        • “Race, Sex, and Bad Behavior: Tackling Tough Topics in Jury Selection,” panel presentation at ABA Women of the Section of Litigation (2015)
        • “Effective Mediation,” ABA Forum on Franchising Intensive Program, Orlando, Fla. (2013)
        • “Tangled Web: Distribution Pricing in the Internet Age,” (Panelist), ABA Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. (Mar. 2012)
      • Citizenship

        Civic and Charitable Memberships

        • Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago, Board of Directors (1993-present), Executive Committee and former Board Chair
        • Princeton AlumniCorps, Board of Directors (2010-2016)