Michael H. Cramer

Shareholder || Chicago

Mr. Cramer counsels and represents employers on a variety of labor and employment-related legal matters. He has advised clients ranging from small non-profits to Fortune 500 companies on employment matters, negotiated cost-effective resolutions to troubling disputes, and litigated to victory.

Based on extensive interviews of in-house attorneys, the BTI Consulting Group named Mr. Cramer a BTI Client Service All-Star—one of just 29 Labor and Employment attorneys in the United States to achieve this recognition in 2015. Based on other peer surveys, Mr. Cramer has achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer review rating (AV), and repeatedly has been named among the Best Lawyers in America, a Leading Lawyer, and an Illinois Super Lawyer. Mr. Cramer has been elected to The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, an organization of labor and employment attorneys in practice for more than 20 years who meet “the highest professional qualifications and ethical standards.”

Mr. Cramer’s employment litigation practice includes discrimination and harassment cases, wage and hour collective actions, and restrictive covenant litigation. Examples of his work include:

  • Defending employers including retail chains, restaurant chains, manufacturers, and staffing companies in numerous class and collective actions involving alleged wage and hour violations;
  • Defeating a former employee’s attempt to certify a class of more than 200 employees alleging denial of overtime pay, then defeating the remaining plaintiff’s claims at trial;
  • Winning summary judgment on behalf of employers in numerous discrimination and retaliation suits;
  • Defeating a 27-count federal lawsuit brought by the former chief executive of a non-profit organization against the entity and each of its board members;
  • Defeating an age and sex discrimination suit in a federal jury trial;
  • Defeating a former high-ranking executive’s suit claiming he was entitled to millions of dollars under an executive severance plan; and
  • Assisting clients to reduce EEOC charges and lawsuits by counseling HR and management on policies and potentially volatile disciplinary and termination decisions.

Mr. Cramer often conducts training for clients’ executives, HR professionals and entire workforces on topics including anti-harassment, internal investigations, workplace bullying, and professionalism. He is a frequent speaker and writer on employment law topics through organizations including the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and the Northern Illinois Society for Human Resources Management.


Learn more about Michael H. Cramer


  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1988
  • B.A., with distinction, University of Michigan, 1985

Admittance to Practice

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Central and Northern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Litigation, and Labor and Employment Law Sections)
  • Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (Labor and Employment Law Advisory Committee)
  • CARPLS – Cook County’s Legal Aid Hotline (Advisory Board, Board of Directors 2000-2008, President 2004-05)
  • Chicago Bar Foundation Investing in Justice Campaign (Vice Chair)
  • Ogletree Deakins Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee
  • Award-Winning Independent Filmmaker
  • The Chicago Committee (Senior Mentor, Mentorship Academy, 2017)
  • Public Interest Law Initiative (Board of Directors, 2017-present)


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Demystifying Pay Audits, Pay Transparency, and Pay Disclosures" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • March 29, 2018 - Aurora Beacon-News - "'Time is indeed up': Aurora forum looks at ways to fight sexual harassment"
  • November 3, 2015 - NBC5 - "'Fake' Service Animals Allowed in More Chicago Businesses"
  • March 30, 2015 - Chicago Daily Law Bulletin - "A Mind on the Move"
  • February 11, 2015 - Law 360 - "GCs Name Favorite Employment Lawyers"
  • September 2, 2014 - Chicago Tribune - "Oak Park lawyer makes second feature film: a 'supernatural punk rock romantic comedy'"
  • November 25, 2013 - Law360 - "5 Tips To Keep Your Holiday Party Merry and Lawsuit-Free"
  • November 1, 2012 - Chicago Lawyer Magazine - "Lawyers Represent Nonprofit Groups, Find Great Job Satisfaction"
  • December 15, 2011 - Chicago Lawyer - "Using Office Art to Convey a Firm's Culture"
  • October 3, 2011 - Crain's Chicago Business - "Navigating Around Social Media's Legal Land Mines"
  • May 2011 - Chicago Lawyer - "Bringing Outside Creativity to the Law"
  • December 9, 2010 - Chicago Lawyer - "Employment: Life Has Gotten Busier for Employment Lawyers"
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers Logo
  • Acritas Star (2018-present)
  • BTI Client Service All-Star (One of 29  employment attorneys in the United States “identified solely through client feedback—as delivering the highest levels of client service”) (2015)
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (elected 2013)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2012-present)
  • Illinois Super Lawyer (2005-present)
  • 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 To Watch (2003)
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell