Selected as Chicago Magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful Chicagoans in 2024, Lisa Duarte has spent her career at the intersection of law and government. Prior to joining CROKE FAIRCHILD DUARTE & BERES as Partner, Lisa served as the First Assistant Deputy Governor for Budget & Economy in the JB Pritzker Administration in Illinois. In this role, Lisa oversaw 17 agencies involving budget, economy, economic development, and regulation and more than 170 boards and commissions.
During her tenure Lisa led on some of the Administration’s top legislative initiatives, including negotiating passage of the first gaming bill in over a decade, the passing of two balanced and bi-partisan budgets, the consolidation of more than 650 police and fire pension systems, and legislation that reduced taxes and regulatory burdens on businesses and created tax incentives for economic investments and growth.
Lisa served as the primary point of contact for the business community, and executed the Administration’s priorities, including the Governor’s vision of broad diversification of boards, commissions, and the overall state workforce. She also coordinated regular business recruitment calls from the Governor to companies looking to relocate or expand. Lisa also spearheaded the pursuit to secure Illinois as the relocation site for the New York Stock Exchange’s primary servers.
Lisa played a lead role in the State of Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the original stay-at-home order of March 2020 through the distribution of the first vaccines, Lisa worked diligently to advocate for the needs of businesses and the economy while protecting the health and welfare of the residents of the State. Lisa was intimately involved in the identification of essential and non-essential businesses, the Restore Illinois Plan, as well as the tiered mitigation approach to restart the economy. Lisa’s agencies oversaw the distribution of more than $1B of CARES Act money.
Prior to joining the Pritzker administration, Lisa was a Partner in the Government Affairs practice group at a boutique Chicago law firm, where she served a diverse client base on a broad set of legislative and regulatory issues in Illinois, Chicago, and Cook County.
Lisa also worked with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office where she served as Legislative Counsel to former Mayor Rahm Emanuel representing the City of Chicago before the Illinois General Assembly, state agencies, and executive offices. She then advanced to the dual role of Chief of Staff to former Deputy Mayor Steve Koch and Chief of Staff to the Mayor’s Economic Council.
Prior to the Emanuel administration, she practiced law at a small business services firm where she focused on employment law, commercial litigation, construction law, and zoning and land use.
Outside of work, Lisa devotes her time to civic and philanthropic causes with a focus on helping the Latino community. She is a Founding Board Member of the Chicago City Council Latino Caucus Foundation Leadership Academy which focuses on developing a pipeline for the next generation of Chicago’s Latino business and civic leaders. She also a member, and previous Secretary, for the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation which awards scholarships to Latino students attending Illinois universities. Lisa mentors Latino and other diverse students informal and formally, through programs including the DePaul University College of Law’s 1L Diversity Mentoring Program.
In turn, Lisa has been recognized for her leadership by several Latino-lead organizations. Lisa received Negocios Now’s 2018 and 2019 National 40 under 40 award as well as the 2019 40 under 40 Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association. In 2020, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois bestowed upon Lisa the honor of receiving the Mercedes Luque Rosales Government Lawyer of the Year Award. In 2021, the National Latino Education Institute acknowledged Lisa’s commitment to the ongoing education of Latinos with its Emerging Leader Award.
Lisa’s other civic engagement include serving on the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Board of Directors at Choose Chicago, the City of Chicago’s travel, tourism, and convention board. She is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago. Lisa uses her business and government acumen to guide Illinois American Water, through her position on its Board of Directors. Her other awards and accomplishments include being a 2016 graduate of the Edgar Fellows Program and a 2017 graduate of the Crain’s Leadership Academy Program. Lisa has been recognized as an Emerging Lawyer for years 2018 and 2019 by Leading Lawyers Magazine.
Lisa is an Equity Partner and serves on the Firm’s Management Committee.