Meet Our People (and Dog).
Sandra M. Emerson, Attorney
Sandra M. Emerson received her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1997, where her academic distinctions included placement on the Dean's Honor List; earning the highest class grade in the following classes: Legal Writing I & II, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Pre-Trial Litigation, and Labor Law; admission to the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (LADR) certificate program; placing in the Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition; and working as a judicial extern for the Honorable Ruben Castillo, United States District Judge for the Northern District Of Illinois.
During school and prior to founding Emerson Law Firm, Ms. Emerson worked or volunteered for a variety of organizations, including the Asian Human Services Pro Bono Clinic of Chicago; the Chicago-Kent College of Law Legal Clinic; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31; and three Chicago-area law firms, including Katten, Muchin & Zavis (now Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP) and Fox & Grove, Chartered.
Ms. Emerson's background encompasses real estate matters, such as residential and commercial real estate closings, foreclosure defense and loss mitigation; bankruptcy and collections matters; contract law; construction law; consumer law; civil and commercial litigation; mechanics' lien litigation; and labor relations and employment matters. She has served as an arbitrator for the Cook County, Illinois mandatory arbitration program, and -- as either an attorney or real estate broker -- has successfully represented thousands of clients in sales and purchases, including numerous short sale transactions. A graduate of Max Gardner's Foreclosure Fraud and Mortgage Securitization Boot Camp, Bankruptcy Boot Camp, and Reg X/Z Boot Camp (TILA and RESPA), she contributes to Avvo.com, a free legal advice site for consumers, and performs pro bono work for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services by providing representation to homeowners in foreclosure. She is a current or past member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and the Illinois Association of Foreclosure Defense Attorneys, for which she has served as the Director of Programs and a member of the AFDA Legislative Committee. Licensed to practice in Illinois and Georgia, she has also been recognized by her peers in Illinois as a Leading Lawyer in both foreclosure and real estate, a distinction earned by less than five percent of all lawyers in Illinois .
Matthew C Swenson, Attorney
An Illinois native, Matthew Swenson attended Ridgewood High School in Norridge and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2010, where his academic achievements included receipt of an academic award for the highest grade in Bankruptcy, placement on the Dean's Honor List, and selection as a faculty fellow for Chicago-Kent's Center for Access to Justice & Technology.
Mr. Swenson's work experience demonstrates a deep commitment to assisting consumers in need. While at Chicago-Kent, he served as a legal intern for the low-income taxpayer clinic for the Chicago-Kent College of Law. And, as a volunteer attorney for the Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services, he has advised numerous individuals on consumer debt issues and tenant rights. He has received extensive continuing legal education, including Max Gardner's Bankruptcy Boot Camp and Reg X/Z Boot Camp (TILA and RESPA) and numerous conferences on consumer rights litigation and bankruptcy.
Mr. Swenson does pro bono work as a volunteer attorney for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services by providing mediation representation to homeowners in foreclosure. He also routinely volunteers for Wills for Heroes. He is a member or past member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the National Association for Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the Association of Foreclosure Defense Attorneys, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates. He is licensed to practice in Illinois.
Jacqueline Barnes, Legal Assistant
Jacqueline Barnes grew up near Galena, Illinois and moved to the Chicago area in 2003 to attend Kendall College. She has both a Bachelor of Arts in English from Taylor University and a culinary degree from Kendall College. She loves the outdoors! A mother of one, her interests include cooking (of course!), reading, travel, dining out, camping, fishing, hiking, and rock collecting.
Kirby, Head of Security
Kirby is proud to work at Emerson Law Firm every day. He loves to attend meetings! He provides love and comfort to our clients, especially those offering a tasty treat.
Team Pacchini - Short Sales (not pictured)
Emerson Law utilizes experienced short sale negotiators Team Pacchini (the dynamic duo of Donna and Mike Pacchini). The Pacchinis are well-versed in mortgage lending and underwriting, as Donna comes from a background in mortgage lending. Over the years, Donna and Mike have worked with over 30 law firms and have successfully closed thousands of short sales in the Chicago area.
Richard F. Kohn (retired)
Our longtime of-counsel, Richard F. "Dick" Kohn retired on December 31, 2018. During his time at Emerson Law, his experience and expertise were invaluable. A three-time graduate of Max Gardner's famed Bankruptcy Boot Camp, he trained extensively in identifying and combating foreclosure fraud. Formerly the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the nation’s largest privately-held mortgage loan servicing company, Mr. Kohn is known nationwide for his highly effective work as a volunteer attorney for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago's Home Ownership Preservation Project. In 2004, the Illinois State Bar Association awarded Mr. Kohn the prestigious John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service award for his dedication to fighting predatory lending and preserving home ownership. In 2009, Mr. Kohn also received the Wayne B. Flanigan award from the Lake County (IL) Bar Association for his contributions to supporting access to legal services for the poor.