• 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 partner at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. Nicholas is a trial attorney who represents global companies, middle-market businesses, and entrepreneurs in commercial business disputes including shareholder disputes, real estate litigation, trade secrets, employment matters, and other business disputes in courts and arbitration forums around the country. 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.
  • Lead counsel for Mexican logistics broker in contract dispute with the U.S. subsidiary of a German rail manufacturer, that led to a favorable settlement in an international arbitration.
  • Recovered millions of dollars on behalf of a U.S. based international investment firm against competitor for breach of an asset purchase agreement.

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.

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, distributions and fiduciary duties in industries including real estate services, manufacturing, software development, hospitality, logistics, and commodities trading. 

Financial Services Litigation

  • Lead counsel in successful defense of private equity firm in multimillion dollar contract dispute with a national 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.

Real Estate | Construction Litigation

  • Lead trial counsel for municipality and stadium lessor in private arbitration defeating NFL team in claims involving the team’s contractual rights.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Represented former executive in a trademark infringement action against the software company he founded, resulting favorable settlement before trial.
  • Obtained judgment on behalf of a Fortune 500 automotive supplier against a distributor for unauthorized use of trademarks.
  • Successful representation of an American Civil Rights era-icon in right of publicity litigation.
  • 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.

Professional Liability Defense

  • Lead counsel defeating malpractice claims seeking eight-figure damages asserted against client arising out of a failed partnership and resulting patent licensing dispute.
  • Defended AmLaw 25 firm in malpractice action arising out of the prosecution of patents for a medical device.

Honors & Awards

  • Crain's Custom Media, honored as one of Chicago’s Notable Minority Executives in Accounting, Consulting and Law for 2020
  • Crain's Custom Media, honored as one of Chicago's Notable Minority Lawyers for 2018
  • Ariel Investments and The Urban Business Roundtable, honored as one of Chicago's Top 40 under 40 Game Changers, 2012
  • Illinois Super Lawers, 2020-2021
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, recognized as a Rising Star, 2008-2019


  • Chicago State University, Board of Trustees, Chairman/Vice-Chair/Member, (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, National Panel of Commercial Litigation and Consumer Arbitration Panel Arbitrator




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