Thomas E. Deer

Shareholder || Chicago, Indianapolis

Mr. Deer is currently serving his second term as a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors. Mr. Deer represents management in a variety of employment-related matters, including litigation involving age, race, sex, and disability discrimination claims, covenants not to compete, trade secrets, wage and hour claims, ERISA claims, and other workplace torts.  Mr. Deer has a national employment practice, and has defended cases for employers from coast to coast. Mr. Deer also serves as the relationship partner for a number of the firm’s national clients. In that role, he manages an Ogletree Deakins team to service the client’s labor and employment needs across a number of jurisdictions. Mr. Deer has particular industry experience in the retail, financial, staffing, and higher education industries. Since 2009, Mr. Deer has been named in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Mr. Deer has acted as lead trial counsel in employment discrimination/wrongful discharge and non-compete cases in federal district and state courts. At one jury trial, Mr. Deer’s client received a defense verdict of no liability on a novel “gender plus” legal theory. In another, Mr. Deer’s client received a directed verdict on liability.

Mr. Deer also practices traditional labor law.  His labor experience includes bargaining contracts, handling labor arbitrations, grievance administration, and the defense of unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB.

Mr. Deer is a frequent speaker and author.  He has been a speaker and moderator at American Bar Association meetings, including twice at the ABA’s Annual Meeting.  He regularly performs training for clients on all aspects of labor and employment law.

Learn more about Thomas E. Deer
  • Ciesielski v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., No. 14 C 10073, 2016 WL 3406399 (N.D. Ill. Jun. 21, 2016)
  • TPUSA, Inc. v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals of the Ind. Dep’t of Workforce Dev., 988 N.E.2d 284 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013)
  • Curran v. JP Morgan Chase, N.A., 633 F. Supp. 2d 639 (N.D. Ill.  2009)
  • Fane v. Locke Reynolds, LLP, 480 F.3d 534 (7th Cir. 2007)
  • Osborn v. Knights of Columbus, 401 F. Supp. 2d 822 (N.D. Ohio 2005)
  • Osborn v. Knights of Columbus, 401 F. Supp. 2d 830 (N.D. Ohio 2005)
  • Stephenson v. Allstate Ins. Co., 328 F.3d 822 (6th Cir. 2003)
  • Van Campen v. IBM, 326 Ill. App. 3d 963, 762 N.E.2d 545 (2001)
  • Hartman v. Hook-Superx Inc., 42 F. Supp. 2d 854 (S.D. Ind. 1999)
  • McCurdy v. Sheriff of Madison County, 128 F.3d 1144 (7th Cir. 1997)


  • J.D., cum laude, Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington, 1994
  • B.A., cum laude, Yale University, 1991

Admittance to Practice

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth and Seventh Circuits

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Past Chair; Employment Law and Litigation Committee of TIPS Section – two terms)
  • Defense Research Institute (Employment Law Committee)
  • Advisory Board, Executive Risk Insights Conference – Chicago (May 16, 2016)


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Fingerprints, Voice Patterns, and Retinal Scans—The Risks of Using Employee Biometrics" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • WorkSmart Systems Fall Client Education Series - ""protecting the Special Sauce", and Overview of Restrictive Covenants" - Indianapolis - September 20, 2016
  • Executive Risk Insights Conference (Moderator) - "EPLI Spotlight" - Chicago - May 10, 2016
  • Manpower Group Webinar Series 2016 (with Mark Toth) - "What's New & What's Next in Employment Law" - February 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "You’re Not the Boss of Me" - Indianapolis - October 8, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Breaking Bad News and Keeping Informed" - Kohler - June 25, 2015
  • ACC Chicago - "Piping Hot Employment Law Topics" - Chicago - June 9 - 10, 2015
  • May 17, 2018 - SHRM Online - "Illinois Biometric Class Actions Are on the Rise"
  • December 11, 2017 - Law360 - "4 Tips For Making Employees Behave At Holiday Parties"
  • July 13, 2011 - Law360 - "Q&A With Ogletree Deakins' Thomas Deer"
  • October 3, 2008 - - "Legislative Changes: Waiting for the Election Results?"
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Best Lawyers In America (2009-present)
  • Editor-in-Chief, Federal Communications Law Journal