Christopher G. Ward


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Experience & CredentialsOther Offices

Practice Areas

  • ADA & FMLA Compliance
  • Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation
  • Union/Employer Matters
  • Labor & Employment
  • Labor & Employment Class Actions
  • Reductions-in-Force
Contact InfoTelephone: 312.832.4364
Fax: 312.832.4700
University Northwestern University, B.A., cum laude, 2001 Phi Beta Kappa
Law SchoolUniversity of Illinois College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2005
Admitted2005, California; Illinois; Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Districts of California; Northern and Southern District of Illinois; Seventh, Ninth and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeal

Christopher Ward is a partner and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP, where he focuses on representing and counseling employers in all aspects of labor and employment law throughout the country. He is a member of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice.

Mr. Ward regularly handles wage and hour matters, including wage and hour class and collective actions under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the provisions of the California Labor Code and Business & Professions Code. Mr. Ward routinely counsels clients on wage and hour compliance matters, including compliance with municipal wage orders, particularly those governing wage and hour matters at airports throughout California.

Mr. Ward represents employers in litigation and administrative matters relating to all aspects of federal, state and local discrimination and harassment laws, including leading case presentations in bench and jury trials. Mr. Ward also routinely handles appellate litigation arising from such matters, and has successfully represented clients before both federal and state appellate courts throughout the country. He additionally regularly assists clients with family and medical leave issues, both through counseling and litigation and has further represented employers in whistleblower claims under numerous federal and state laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, in both administrative and court proceedings. Mr. Ward also regularly works with emerging and growth companies, and in particular growing tech companies, to aid them in navigating employment issues as they move through post start-up phases and all the way through their growth cycle.

Mr. Ward also has experience in traditional labor matters, and he frequently counsels employers on employee, union and employer rights under both the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act. Mr. Ward's work in the labor relations arena also includes representing employers in administrative matters and litigation before both the National Labor Relations Board and the United States Courts of Appeals.

Community Engagement

Pro bono service makes up an important part of Mr. Ward's practice, and he frequently counsels not-for-profit employers on employment-related matters, and has also successfully represented them in employment-related litigation. He has also repeatedly acted as pro bono defense counsel in both the United States District Courts and the United States Courts of Appeals, and through such work, he helped establish, through multiple published opinions, important standards requiring uniformity in criminal sentencing and ensuring that criminal sentences have a legitimate factual and evidentiary basis. Mr. Ward also serves on the board of directors of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Presentations and Publications

Mr. Ward is a regular presenter at employment law conferences and national webinars, and has repeatedly lectured at seminars organized by the National Business Institute. He has also contributed to the employment law treatise, The Law Guide - Employee Relations Law for Illinois Employers, published by MRA - The Management Association, Inc. Mr. Ward additionally serves as the editor of Labor & Employment Law Perspectives (, the Foley Labor & Employment Practice's weekly blog providing timely insight on emerging legal and business developments.


In 2012 - 2014, Mr. Ward was named to the list of Illinois Super Lawyers-Rising Stars. The Rising Stars® list represents the top 2.5 percent of lawyers under 40 years old in Illinois based upon a survey of his peers.* He was further extremely honored to be named the 2012-2013 recipient of the Foley & Lardner LLP Labor & Employment Practice's Larry Arnold Award, which recognizes the attributes of Determination, Toughness, Creativity and Strong Work Ethic.


Mr. Ward graduated from Northwestern University (B.A., cum laude, 2001), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and the University of Illinois College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2005).


Mr. Ward is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Seventh, Ninth and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Districts of California, the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois, and all state courts in California and Illinois.


Mr. Ward is fluent in Spanish.

* The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no certificate, award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois. (Also at Los Angeles, California Office)


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FMLA Stands for "Family and Medical Leave Avalanche"
Christopher G. Ward, August 28, 2014
We noted last year that 20 years after the original passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the Department of Labor issued a survey report lauding the effectiveness of the law and the positive impact it has had on the American workforce. One of the most interesting points...

Food, Folks, and Franchise-Wide Liability: NLRB Signals Intent to Pound Square Joint Employer Peg Into Round Franchise Hole
Christopher G. Ward, August 12, 2014
A big part of what makes the franchise model of business attractive to small business owners is the opportunity to own and operate their own business, but with their entrepreneurial risk backstopped by a known regional or national brand. In turn, the franchisor facilitates the success of its...

Now I Have to Allow Insubordination and Verbal Abuse Too?
Christopher G. Ward, June 17, 2014
Several weeks ago, in both a tongue-in-cheek and concerned fashioned, we wrote about a federal court decision that concluded an employer had to tolerate an employee’s admitted theft as a reasonable accommodation for her disability. As part of that commentary, we observed that government...

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Office Information

Christopher G. Ward

321 North Clark, Suite 2800
ChicagoIL 60610


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