• Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (trial bar)
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana


University of Illinois at Chicago, B.A., 2000

  • with honors; Phi Beta Kappa

University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 2003

  • cum laude


Nicholas Gowen is a trial attorney who represents Fortune 500 companies and middle market companies in commercial business disputes in courts and arbitration forums around the country. Nicholas serves as lead trial and appellate counsel in matters, including shareholder disputes, real estate litigation, trade secrets, employment matters, and other business disputes, representing global companies and entrepreneurs. Nicholas approaches litigation with an eye toward results; understanding that advancing his clients’ litigation strategies should fit within their overall business interests. Nicholas is well-versed in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration.  In addition to serving as an advocate in arbitration and mediation, he is a commercial and consumer arbitrator listed on the American Arbitration Association’s National Roster of Arbitrators. 

Nicholas has been honored as one of Chicago’s “Top 40 under 40 Game Changers” by Ariel Investments and The Urban Business Roundtable and selected by Crain's Custom Media as one of Chicago's Notable Minority Lawyers.

Nicholas received his B.A. in political science with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000, where he was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D.,cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2003.


Business and Commercial Litigation

  • Lead trial counsel representing a U.S. manufacturing company in an international arbitration defeating a Chinese metal packaging conglomerate in a $10 million contract dispute
  • Lead counsel representing global automotive supplier in a substantial contract dispute with a global customer that led to favorable settlement
  • Recovered millions of dollars on behalf of a U.S. based international investment firm against competitor for breach of an asset purchase agreement.
  • Lead trial and appellate counsel successfully defending a Chinese national in a breach of contract dispute related to the client’s facilitating the issuance of an EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa.
  • Recovered several million dollars on behalf of a computer software design company in breach of contract against a professional services provider

Trade Secret and Employment Litigation

  • Lead counsel representing closely-held company in prosecuting multiple successful actions to enforce restrictive covenants in employment agreements against former sales representatives
  • Successful prosecution of trade secret claims on behalf of electrical component manufacturer against two larger competitors. Negotiated favorable multimillion dollar settlement prior to empaneling jury
  • Lead counsel in multiple representations of corporations and (former) executives in disputes involving trade secrets, restrictive covenants in employment agreements, and non-solicitation agreements, in industries including: manufacturing, international customs brokerage, retail, architectural design, finance, technology, engineering, and sporting goods
  • Lead counsel representing closely-held company in internal investigation of sexual harassment and discrimination claims brought by employees against senior executives

Financial Services Litigation

  • Lead counsel in successful defense of private equity firm in multi million dollar contract dispute with a national bank
  • Lead counsel in successful defense of a commercial real estate investor in several multi million dollar disputes with a regional bank
  • Defeated claims brought by Brazilian investment fund alleging breaches of contractual and fiduciary duties and conversion against multiple investor clients
  • Recovered more than $25 million in fraud suit on behalf of a biopharmaceutical company against one of the largest U.S. financial institutions

Shareholder and D&O Litigation

  • Lead counsel defending chairman of a private equity firm and portfolio company in a derivative action brought by minority shareholders and executives of the portfolio company
  • Represented multinational corporation in Delaware Chancery Court on claims that defendants defrauded client relating to a $20 million sale of a manufacturing business. Case settled favorably for client
  • Lead Counsel in multiple representations defending private companies, majority shareholders, and officers in litigation involving ownership rights, distributing, and fiduciary duties in industries including real estate services, manufacturing, software development, hospitality, logistics, and commodities trading. 

Real Estate / Construction Litigation

  • Lead trial counsel defeating TRO filed against real estate developer client by commercial tenant that sought to delay a $100 million redevelopment of a regional shopping center
  • Lead trial counsel securing arbitration victory and damages for construction-industry client in breach of contract dispute against one of the nation's largest construction companies
  • Lead trial counsel for municipality and stadium lessor in private arbitration defeating NFL team in claims involving the team’s contractual rights
  • Defended construction industry client in a $10 million breach of contract dispute against residential building owner leading to favorable low-dollar settlement

Intellectual Property/ Unfair Competition Litigation

  • Lead counsel in successful defense of major research university in patent infringement litigation related to use of electronic equipment
  • Represented former executive in a trademark infringement action against the software company he founded
  • Obtained judgment on behalf of a Fortune 500 automotive supplier against a distributor for unauthorized use of trademarks
  • Represented entertainer in copyright infringement dispute with music producer over use of vocal arrangements
  • Represented technology company in false advertising claims against competitor based on misleading comparisons with products sold by our client
  • Successful representation of an American Civil Rights era-icon in right of publicity litigation

Professional Liability Defense

  • Lead counsel defeating breach of nine-figure fiduciary duty and malpractice claims against  representing boutique law firm asserted by former client arising out of a failed partnership and patent licensing dispute
  • Defended AmLaw 25 firm in malpractice action arising out of the prosecution of patents for a medical device
  • Defeated tortious interference claims asserted by competitor against AmLaw 25 firm and its partners

Honors & Awards

  • Ariel Investments and The Urban Business Roundtable, honored as one of Chicago's Top 40 under 40 Game Changers 
  • Crain's Custom Media, honored as one of Chicago's Notable Minority Lawyers for 2018
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, recognized as a Rising Star, 2008-2019
  • Crain's Custom Media, honored as one of Chicago’s Notable Minority Executives in Accounting, Consulting and Law for 2020


  • Chicago State University, Board of Trustees, Chairman/Member (previously Vice-Chairman), (2017-2019)
  • Project H.O.O.D. Advisory Committee, Board of Directors (2012 – Present)
  • Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, Board of Directors (2018-Present)
  • Chicago Foundation for Education, Board of Directors (2019-2020)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, Visiting Instructor, Political Science, (2005-2017)
  • Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee, Investigative Division, member
  • National Bar Association

o Commercial Law Section

  • Chicago Bar Association

o Federal Civil Practice Committee, Past Vice Chair/Chair

  • National Employment Law Council
  • American Arbitration Association, Commercial Litigation Panel Arbitrator




330 North Wabash Avenue, Suite 2100
Chicago, Illinois 60611-3607
T: 312.840.7000
F: 312.840.7900