Laura A. White


  • University of Dayton School of Law, J.D., 1996
  • University of Dayton, B.A., 1992

Practice Areas

  • Employment Litigation
  • Trials
  • Employment Counseling
  • Administrative Agency Proceedings
  • Arbitration and Mediation


  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago
  • Volunteer Lawyers for the Homeless


  • Illinois, 1996
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 1996
  • U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1996
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan - Pro Hac Vice
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri - Pro Hac Vice
  • U. S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee - Pro Hac Vice
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin - Pro Hac Vice


  • Chicago Bar Association, Member: Labor and Employment Law Committee
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member: Labor & Employment Law and Civil Practice & Procedure Committees
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • American Bar Association, Member: Labor and Employment Law Section
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Laura A. White

Laura A. White is a partner with Smith O’Callaghan & White and has extensive experience advising corporations in employment-related litigation. She has in-depth knowledge of the employment discrimination laws, employer compliance and federal and state court litigation in the employment law arena. Ms. White also serves as a mediator, concentrating in the employment law dispute area.

Ms. White holds the AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability. Ms. White has been selected by her peers and recognized as an Illinois Rising Star in Labor and Employment Law in 2008 and 2009, and an Illinois Super Lawyer for 11 consecutive years from 2010 to 2020, and again in 2023 and 2024. In addition, she is a Leading Lawyer in Illinois, named by her peers as a top lawyer in the category of Employment Law: Management.

Ms. White has been a partner with Smith O’Callaghan & White since its formation, and was previously an associate with Kessler Smith & Powen. Prior to her years in private practice, Ms. White gained legal experience with the University of Dayton Office of Legal Affairs and was an attorney with Loyola University of Chicago’s Office of the General Counsel.

Ms. White represents employers in numerous federal court and administrative agency proceedings, involving allegations of race discrimination, sex discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, age discrimination, disability discrimination and state handicap discrimination, to name a few. She consistently obtains favorable resolutions to discrimination and harassment charges and complaints filed with various federal, state and local fair employment practices agencies, including the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the City of Chicago Commission on Human Rights, the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division, and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, among others. Ms. White was a member of the defense team representing one of the first corporations to be sued under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), a case that resulted in the first matter to be heard by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals interpreting the FMLA. She also recently obtained the dismissal of FMLA and retaliatory discharge claims in a matter involving novel interpretation of judicial estoppel arguments.

Ms. White actively counsels employers on navigating the requirements of the ADA to ensure statutory compliance in dealing with employees with alleged disabilities and requests for reasonable accommodation. Ms. White’s record of success in obtaining dismissal or summary judgment on ADA and other discrimination claims is a direct result of her expertise in the area of employment discrimination law and her impassioned result-oriented approach to representing her clients. Most recently, Ms. White has secured victory for her clients in contentious litigation involving alleged pattern and practice claims of age and disability discrimination in federal court, as well as numerous EEOC investigations.

Ms. White also represents employers in breach of employment contract litigation, wrongful discharge claims, wage and hour claims, including the recent vindication of an employer in a wage claim in which the employee abused the judicial process, and employment-related torts, such as employee theft and wrongdoing and workplace defamation. She frequently provides critical counseling to her clients on problematic discipline and termination decisions in order to limit potential exposure and liability.

Ms. White also is a certified mediator. She holds a Mediation Skills Training Program Certificate from Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies. Applying her years of experience and the skills developed as an employment law attorney, Ms. White serves as a mediator in the full spectrum of employment law cases.

Professional Services


Recognition & Awards

  • Recognized by peers as a Leading Lawyer
    Employment Law: Management
    Law Bulletin Publishing Company
    See All Awards
  • Selected by peers as Illinois Super Lawyer
    in Labor and Employment Law,
    2010-2020, 2023-2024
    Chicago magazine

  • Selected by peers as Illinois Rising Star
    in Labor and Employment Law,
    2008 & 2009
    Chicago magazine
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell
    Highest rating for legal ability and ethics
  • Founding Partner of Smith O’Callaghan & White,
    January, 2000
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
    Trial Lawyers Honorary Society

Representative Reported Decisions

Ottley v. Anixter Inc., No. 11-2502-JTM, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147763 (D. Kan. Dec. 22, 2011)
Motion to dismiss granted in favor of employer in alleged sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit, dismissing action in its entirety based on both procedural and substantive reasons.

Kelley v. Crosfield Catalysts, 135 F.3d 1202 (7th Cir.) and 962 F. Supp. 1047 (N.D. Ill.)
First case to reach the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals interpreting the breath of protections afforded under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

Dikcis v. Indopco, Inc., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5276 (N.D. Ill.) and U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234 (N.D. Ill.)
Defense of employer in Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) lawsuit, summary judgment entered in favor of employer.