Alston & Bird has added to its litigation, investigations, and corporate governance capabilities with the addition of Chaka Patterson as a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office. Formerly senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for Adtalem Global Education, he brings more than 25 years of experience as in-house counsel, government prosecutor, and attorney in private practice.
“Chaka has that special mix of corporate, government, and law firm experience that clients so highly value,” said Bill Jordan, co-head of Alston & Bird’s Litigation Practice and a member of the firm’s Partners Committee. “Having tried more than 15 jury cases to verdict and argued numerous appeals in state and federal courts, he brings significant first-chair trial and appellate experience and an established track record in matters ranging from False Claims Act cases to health care and securities fraud.”
In addition to Patterson’s roles at Adtalem, where he oversaw the company’s legal, compliance, and corporate governance operations and counseled on mergers and acquisitions, his other private sector experience includes positions as vice president, treasurer, and associate general counsel at energy company Exelon.
Patterson’s career also includes significant government experience. He was the chief of the Civil Actions Bureau for Cook County’s State’s Attorney Office in Illinois. In this role, he managed a team of 100 lawyers in defending the county and its officeholders and employees in civil suits, providing legal advice to all county agencies and officeholders, and filing affirmative litigation on behalf of the county.
Patterson also served as an assistant attorney general and chief of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office Special Litigation Bureau, where he prosecuted civil and criminal fraud cases, including health care fraud, securities fraud, complex consumer fraud, charitable trust fraud, and False Claims Act (FCA) cases.
Patterson’s private practice experience includes positions as partner and counsel in three BigLaw firms. In addition to representing clients in business and commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense, he advised on state attorneys general investigations and litigation, defended clients in FCA actions, and assisted management and boards with internal investigations and compliance reviews.
A champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, Patterson has been honored by the Harvard Law Society of Illinois as “Role Model of the Year” and the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce for his leadership in diversity in business.
“Chaka brings significant heft to our commercial litigation capabilities, both complementing our existing practices and strengthening our presence locally and nationally,” said Teresa Bonder, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s San Francisco office. “He is an outstanding addition to our accomplished and growing team of litigators.”
Patterson earned his undergraduate degree from Amherst College, his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. Following law school, he clerked for the Hon. Solomon Oliver, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and Hon. Karen Nelson Moore of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.