With experience both in private practice and as in-house counsel for a labor union, Lauren has the unique ability to see both sides of a case. In addition, she has a deep and well-rounded understanding of all areas of labor and employment law.

Lauren represents management on issues related to collective bargaining relationships and labor disputes, including formulation of bargaining strategies, contract administration, maintenance of operations during labor disputes, and responses to “corporate” campaigns.

Clients facing litigation turn to Lauren for her insights in handling discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour complaints in federal and state court, as well as labor arbitrations and matters before the NLRB, EEOC, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and other state and federal agencies.

When it comes to employment counseling, clients turn to Lauren for her experience with all aspects of employment matters including internal investigations, employee disciplines, wage and hour, and leaves of absence. She frequently serves as counsel to in-house attorneys and human resources executives on policies and procedures, non-compete agreements, hiring and terminations, reductions in force, employment contracts, settlement agreement, and severance matters. In addition, Lauren also handles OSHA compliance and investigations.

Lauren is at the forefront of Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), providing compliance counseling to businesses and representing companies facing litigation.

With the increased focus on sexual harassment in the workplace, the firm has launched the Workforce Investigations Team to assist clients with investigations, compliance, and resolution. Lauren is a founding member of WIT and has decades of experience assisting clients in this area.

Lauren has advised clients across a diverse range of industries, including food and beverage, automotive, construction, gaming, manufacturing, outsourcing, education, telecommunications, and staffing services, including security staffing. She frequently represents private and family owned businesses and family offices.

She is an elected member of the Chicago Bar Association Board of Managers and is the former Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women. 

  • Experience

    • Played a critical role in defending a global electronics products company against claims filed by a former female sales executive who filed multiple internal complaints, agency charges and an arbitration demand alleging sex discrimination and retaliation. After a six-day arbitration hearing, a final award was issued in favor of the client.
    • Represented employers in dozens of labor arbitrations, including the recent representation of a manufacturer in dismissal of a grievance.
    • Successfully represented multiple clients to obtain the dismissal of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation lawsuits filed in federal and state court through summary judgment.
    • Lead negotiator in numerous collective bargaining negotiations.
  • Credentials


    • IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 2007
      Labor and Employment Certificate
    • George Washington University, B.A., Political Science, 2004

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)

        Professional Memberships

        • American Bar Association
        • Chicago Bar Association, Board of Managers
        • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Fellow (2020)
      • Insights

        News Release

        Four Schiff Lawyers Join LCLD 2020 Leadership Programs

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that four attorneys have been selected for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s (LCLD) 2020 leadership programs.

        News Release

        Emerging Lawyers Network Lists Seven Schiff Attorneys

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that seven attorneys have been named to the 2020 Emerging Lawyers Network, which comprises attorneys who have demonstrated themselves to be professional, ethical, and experienced at an early stage in their legal career.


        #MeToo After Year 2: What In-House Counsel Need to Know

        It goes without saying that a harassment-free workplace is good for business. In most cases, workplace harassment is not a problem just between the victim and harasser; it’s an issue for all employees at all levels.

        Blog Post

        2020 Labor and Employment Legislative Developments

        Schiff Hardin Employment Law Landscape


        The Nuts and Bolts of Labor Arbitration

        2019 Arbitration Institute

        Chicago, Ill.

        Updates on Significant Changes in State Law

        United States Law Firm Group Labor & Employment Committee

        Los Angeles, Calif.
        Blog Post

        Amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act

        Schiff Hardin Employment Law Landscape

        News Release

        Novak Elected to Chicago Bar Association Board of Managers

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that Labor and Employment Deputy Practice Group Leader Lauren Novak has been elected and installed for a two-year term to the Chicago Bar Association’s (CBA) Board of Managers, the governing council that decides policy issues for the CBA.

        Blog Post
        Blog Post

        SCOTUS Deals Another Blow to Classwide Arbitration

        Schiff Hardin Employment Law Landscape

        Other Publications

        • ERISA Fiduciary Answer Book Sixth Edition (2015) and Supplement (2016), Multiemployer Plans chapter author, Wolters Kluwer

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “The Nuts and Bolts of Labor Arbitration,” The Chicago Bar Association’s 2019 Arbitration Institute, Chicago, Ill. (Nov. 4, 2019)
        • “Updates on Significant Changes in State Law,” USLFG Labor & Employment Committee, Los Angeles, Calif. (Sep. 26, 2019)
        • “Working Women’s Legal Summit,” The Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, Ill. (Mar. 8, 2019)
        • “Ethical Issues Facing In-House Lawyers,” (speaker) Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, In-House Counsel Committee, Chicago, Ill. (Nov. 5, 2018)
        • “Investigating Sexual Harassment Allegations,” Association of Inspectors Generals Fall 2018 Training Conference, Chicago, Ill. (Oct. 25, 2018)
        • “Women in Leadership: Women Helping Women,” (speaker) Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women Annual Kick-off Reception (Oct. 9, 2018)
        • “Sexual Harassment Training for Employers,” (speaker) Schiff Hardin Webinar (Sept. 10, 2018)
        • “Women on Top: How to Be a Changemaker” (speaker) CBA Alliance for Women, the South Asian Bar Association Women’s Committee, and the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago (Mar. 27, 2018)
        • “New Laws and Lessons for Employers After Trump’s First 100 Days,” (co-presenter) Schiff Hardin Podcast (May 11, 2017)
        • “A New Administration: What’s In Store for Employers,” (speaker) Schiff Hardin Webinar (Dec. 13, 2016)
        • “Be in Compliance: Understanding If & How the New Overtime Rules Apply to Your Organization,” Housing Action Illinois - 2016 Housing Matters Conference, Bloomington, Ill. (Oct. 27, 2016)
        • “The Intersection of Education and Labor: Practicing before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board,” YLS Education Law and Labor & Employee Committees, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, Ill. (Mar. 29, 2012)
        • “Developing Accurate and Legally Defensible Job Descriptions: When Was the Last Time Your Job Descriptions Were Updated?” YLS Education Law Committee Meeting, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, Ill. (Oct. 14, 2010)

      Employment Law Landscape

      Amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act

      Last week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law several amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act that are certain to have wide-ranging impacts. Most significantly, Illinois will join the growing number of states that prohibit employers from asking about or considering a job applicant’s prior salary history when making hiring decisions. The amendments will... Continue Reading