Practice and Industry Groups

John M. Dickman

Shareholder Chicago

John Dickman is a Shareholder in the Chicago office of Ogletree Deakins. He concentrates his practice in employment litigation and counseling. His clients represent a broad spectrum of industries, including financial services, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer products. Of particular note is his representation of one of the world’s largest hedge funds for more than 15 years.

Mr. Dickman’s litigation practice is heavily focused on trade secret and non-compete litigation, representing employers seeking to enforce employment agreements, as well as employers seeking to hire employees who are subject to post-employment restrictions. He has also conducted numerous internal investigations concerning possible misappropriation of confidential information and trade secrets by former and newly hired employees.

In addition, Mr. Dickman has litigated numerous matters involving ERISA claims. He has led successful representations of employers in executive compensation litigation and defeated arguments that executive incentive programs imposed unlawful restraints of trade, imposed unlawful forfeitures, and violated wage payment laws.

Mr. Dickman’s extensive employment litigation experience also covers the defense of age, race, sex, and disability discrimination claims, as well as sexual harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, breach of contract, and common law tort claims. He has conducted investigations and handled lawsuits involving single plaintiffs, as well as major class actions in federal and state courts throughout the country. He has handled private arbitrations, and represented clients before such government agencies as the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Department of Labor, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Throughout his more than 20 years of experience, Mr. Dickman has assisted clients with preventative measures by providing advice and counsel over a broad range of labor and employment issues. He has helped employers draft documents and policies for alternative dispute resolution and arbitration programs; incentive and bonus compensation programs; restrictive covenants and protection of employer assets; wage and hour compliance; lift-outs; reductions in force; disability leaves; and terminations. Mr. Dickman also regularly provides advice and counsel on employment issues arising in corporate transactions and due diligence.

Mr. Dickman received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Iowa in 1987 and a J.D., cum laude, from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1992, where he was a member of the Law Journal.


  • Medical Device Company versus Former Executive and New Employer (Delaware Court of Chancery, 2015).  Obtained temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunction against former executive based on trade secret misappropriation and violation of restrictive covenant agreement.
  • Former Executive versus Hedge Fund.  (American Arbitration Association, 2014).  Obtained summary disposition in favor of clients on all six claims asserted by terminated former executive who sought multi-million dollar recovery for breach of contract.  Petition for recovery of attorney’s fees also was settled favorably for clients. 
  • For-Profit Educational Institution versus Former Marketing Employee.  (Hennepin, Minnesota County Court, 2013). Successfully obtained temporary restraining order enjoining competitive employment by former employee based on claims of trade secrets misappropriation, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of confidentiality agreement.
  • Pharmaceutical Company versus Former Employee and Competitor; (Middle District of Florida, 2013). Obtained favorable outcome for employer seeking temporary and preliminary injunctive relief to enforce restrictive covenants against former employee and new employer.
  • Finlay v. Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. 872 F.Supp.2d 730 (N.D. Ill.2012) and 2012 WL 1952642 (N.D. Ill. 2012). Successfully defended employer against a former executive’s claims under ERISA, Title VII, and Illinois Whistleblower Act following employer’s termination of severance payments.  Also obtained summary judgment in favor of employer on counterclaims seeking repayment of severance amounts under ERISA and for common law breach of contract.
  • Hedge Fund versus Former Employee, (Circuit Court of Cook County, 2011). Successfully obtained temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against a former employee based on misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Smith v. C.R. Bard, Inc., 730 F.Supp.2d 783 (M.D. Tenn.2010). Obtained summary judgment for employer sued by a former salesman for retaliatory discharge under federal False Claims Act, Tennessee False Claims Act, Tennessee Public Protection Act and Tennessee common law.
  • Food Company versus former Manager, (Northern District of Illinois, 2009).  Obtained temporary restraining order and consent judgment and permanent injunction on behalf of employer against a former employee based on claims of breach of restrictive covenants, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Successfully represented fragrance and cosmetics companies, including executives serving as ERISA plan administrators, in putative nationwide class action on behalf of individuals who claimed they were improperly classified as independent contractors.  Plaintiffs sought benefits under several ERISA pension and welfare benefit plans and unpaid overtime.  Successfully defeated plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and obtained summary judgment on vast majority of remaining individual claims. 
  • Has represented one of the world’s largest hedge funds for more than 15 years on all employment matters, including numerous successful litigation and private arbitration matters involving executive compensation disputes, trade secret misappropriation, enforcement of restrictive covenants, and alleged wrongful termination; and counseling regarding employment, arbitration, and separation agreements; restrictive covenants; and restructurings and downsizings.


Published Works