Linda K. Stevens


  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1987, cum laude
  • Kalamazoo College, B.A., 1984, cum laude

Practice Areas

  • Trade Secrets, Noncompete and Restrictive Covenant Agreements
  • Litigation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Arbitration
  • Commercial
  • Compliance and Counseling
  • Copyright and Trademark
  • eDiscovery and Litigation Readiness


  • Illinois, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1991
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1987
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar, 1993
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, 1994

Prior Professional Affiliations

  • Schiff Hardin LLP, Chicago, Illinois, Partner (1993-2018), Associate (1987-1993)
Download vCard

Linda K. Stevens

Linda K. Stevens is Of Counsel with Smith O’Callaghan & White. She is an experienced litigator and counselor who helps clients protect their intellectual property and resolve their commercial disputes. Much of Linda’s work relates to employee departures, including those involving non-competition and confidentiality covenants, trade secrets, and allegations of employee raiding and other unfair competition. Linda assists clients big and small, and while Linda has successfully handled significant cases in state and federal courts around the country, she is most proud of her ability to achieve her clients’ goals outside of the courtroom. Linda recognizes that a “business win” is sometimes more important and cost-effective than a legal victory, and she is adept at identifying and creating the leverage necessary to achieve her clients’ goals as swiftly and inexpensively as possible. And when litigation becomes necessary, Linda is an impassioned advocate with a laser focus on success. For over thirty years, Linda’s clients have relied on her judgment, experience, and total commitment to their cause.

Linda is frequently asked to speak, write, and teach regarding her areas of concentration. For example, Linda has been a guest lecturer on intellectual property protection at various Chicago law schools and at industry meetings across the country, and she has taught trial advocacy at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. Linda has held leadership positions within and outside her firm in the trade secret and non-competes area. For more than a decade, Linda co-chaired her former firm’s Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants Client Service Team and she co-chaired an American Bar Association Trade Secrets subcommittee, as well.

Linda comes to Smith O’Callaghan & White after spending more than 30 years in “Big Law” (Schiff Hardin LLP, 1987-2018). In Smith O’Callaghan & White, Linda has found a boutique firm offering the same top-quality legal assistance that her clients have come to expect with flexible fee arrangements and lower hourly rates.

Recognition & Achievements

  • Has obtained – and defeated requests for – emergency injunctive relief in trade secrets, noncompete, employee raiding, trademark, and other commercial disputes.
  • Regularly drafts contracts (including licenses, non-competes, non-disclosure covenants, and other agreements) to assist clients in protecting their valuable business information and customer relationships.
  • Clients regularly call on Linda for counsel on how to minimize the risk of liability – and to avoid being sued in the first place – when hiring employees from the competition.
  • Helps clients respond to cease and desist letters in a way that helps to defuse conflict and avoid litigation.
  • Drafts intellectual property licenses and other contracts to help clients realize the maximum value from their intangible assets.
  • For clients seeking to minimize their liability risk and maximize the safeguarding of their IP assets, Linda designs information protection programs that include appropriate contracts and policies as well as computer and network-based security measures.
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale Hubbell
    Highest rating for legal ability and ethics
  • Named to Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois list, 2011 and 2012, by Super Lawyers
    See All Awards
  • Named Illinois Super Lawyer
    in Intellectual Property Litigation Law
    Nineteen consecutive years, 2006-2024
  • Recognized again in 2018 by peers as a Leading Lawyer
    Intellectual Property Law
    Trade Secrets/Unfair Competition Law
    Law Bulletin Publishing Company
  • Selected for The Legal 500’s elite “Leading Lawyers” list in
    Intellectual Property: Trade Secrets
  • Linda K. Stevens selected by The National Law Journal as one of Midwest’s Top Rated Lawyers, April, 2019


American Bar Association, Former Co-Chair of Trade Secrets Subcommittee (2001-2017)

For more than a decade, Linda Co-Chaired her former firm’s Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants Client Service Team

Publications and Presentations

Linda writes and speaks extensively regarding various litigation and intellectual property-related topics. Much of her work addresses the substantive legal, procedural, and practical issues arising in cases regarding trade secrets and non-competes. Linda’s publications and presentations include:

Speaker and Presenter
Select Counsel Webinar
“Non-Competes, Trade Secrets, Departing Employees and Raiding:
Key Tips for In-House Counsel to Protect Your Company’s Interests”
June 27, 2018
Link to Webinar

Speaker and Presenter
Wolters Kluwer Webinar
“The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Practical Lessons and Strategic Tips”
May 16, 2018

“Drafting Non-competes in a Tough Enforcement Climate,” Corporate Counsel Magazine (Feb. 22, 2017)

Co-Author, Defend Trade Secrets Act Handbook (Wolters Kluwer, 2016)

“Trade Secret Remedies” chapter of the Intellectual Property Handbook (IICLE)

“Update on the Defend Trade Secrets Act: Recent Cases and Emerging Issues,” (webinar) Managing Intellectual Property (Nov. 3, 2016)

“Secrecy in the Age of Email and Social Media” CFAA Update, American Bar Association Second Annual Intellectual Property Litigation Regional CLE Workshop (Jun. 2012)

“Use of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in Trade Secret Litigation: Employer v. Former Employee,” The John Marshall Law School 56th Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference: Hot Topics and Current Developments in Patent, Trademark, Copyright and Trade Secrets Law (Feb. 24, 2012)

“You Can’t Take It With You: What’s New in the Law Regarding Trade Secrets and Non-Competes,” ABA Section of Litigation, Hot Topics in Intellectual Property Litigation CLE Workshop (Jun. 10, 2011)

“Fundamentals of Franchising,” American Bar Association Thirty-Third Forum on Franchising (Oct. 13, 2010)

Other Experience

Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University School of Law

Adjunct Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom Program