When a highly valuable employee moves from one company to another, attorney Pete Steinmeyer is an employer’s first call. Whether losing an employee to a competitor or hiring one away, companies trust Pete to respond at a moment’s notice with practical advice in plain English.
Knowing he may only get one shot, he thrives in fast-paced, high-stakes environments while protecting a company’s most valuable data, trade secrets, and customer relationships. Pete diffuses stressful situations with humor and candor to help his clients decide what is truly important before they act.
Outside of his employee mobility practice, Pete counsels employers on responding to a wide variety of workplace challenges, including discipline and discharge. He also leads investigations of alleged workplace misconduct, such as harassment and retaliation. Through close communication and meticulous analysis of the details, Pete uncovers potential problems early. And when the facts show his client is in the right, he’ll fight to the end to prove it.
Pete is a thought leader who frequently writes and speaks about employment and workforce mobility issues. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The National Law Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Law360, and other publications. Pete is also Managing Shareholder of Epstein Becker Green’s Chicago office. In his free time, Pete is an avid golfer constantly in pursuit of his next great shot. He’s also a history buff and a hiker. He was formerly a member of the hearing board for the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission.
- Defeated multimillion-dollar claims against a financial services company including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent concealment, and tortious interference. At trial, Pete systematically whittled down the case to show it had no merit, ultimately compelling the court to issue a directed verdict or finding in favor of his clients on all claims. The plaintiffs received nothing.
- Defeated efforts to prevent three individuals from assuming new positions at a competing oil industry company. At trial, Pete confronted difficult facts to prove that the plaintiff overreached, with the end result being that the individuals were allowed to assume their new positions.
- Represented a manufacturing industry client in a trade secret misappropriation case in which, through dogged discovery, Pete ultimately convinced the court to issue a default judgment and award nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees and costs as a sanction for evidence spoliation and lying under oath.
- Defeated a five-count complaint against two former insurance industry employees and their new employer for alleged violations of restrictive covenants, alleged tortious interference, and alleged trade secret misappropriation. Pete focused on the real-world implications of the facts and succeeded in proving the plaintiff was overreaching. He got the case dismissed and then argued and won on appeal.
- Defeated reverse discrimination claims against a financial services firm. The day after Pete took the plaintiff’s deposition, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his case and received nothing.
- Argued and won Contempo Design, Inc. v. Chicago & N.E. IL Dist. Council of Carpenters, 226 F.3d 535 (7th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Following a victory at trial and even though he was just 10 years out of law school, Pete convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to affirm an award of $445,000 against the carpenters’ union for an illegal strike and a declaration that a collective bargaining agreement signed to end the illegal strike was null and void. This was the only en banc decision issued by the Seventh Circuit in 2000.
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Employment Law—Management and Labor Law—Management (2016 to 2024), "Lawyer of the Year" for Employment Law–Management, Chicago (2023)
- Chambers USA: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business, Illinois—Labor & Employment (2022 to 2023)
- Crain's Notable Leaders in Employment & Labor Law (2023)
- Illinois Chamber of Commerce Tony Reinhart Champion of Free Enterprise Award (2023)
- Illinois Super Lawyers, Employment & Labor: Employer (2006 to 2023)
- The Legal 500 United States, Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense (2021)
- Leading Lawyers, Employment Law: Management and Trade Secrets/Unfair Competition Law (2013 to 2021)
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Peer Review Rating
A sampling of Pete's recent publications includes:
- “Non-Compete Laws: Illinois” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Oct. 2023)
- “Trade Secret Laws: Illinois” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Aug. 2023)
- “Lights, Camera … Trade Secrets Action” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Westlaw Today (April 2023)
- “Trade Secrets Litigation” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Feb. 2023)
- “Preparing for Non-Compete Litigation” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Feb. 2023)
- “Garden Leave Provisions in Employment Agreements” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Feb. 2023)
- "Expert Q&A on the FTC’s Proposed Rule Banning Employee Non-Competes" (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Feb. 2023)
- “Ethical Issues for Attorneys Related to Restrictive Covenants” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Aug. 2022)
- "A Vaccine for ‘Normal,’ but Legal Issues to Consider for Employers" (coauthor), Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (April 26, 2021)
- "Trade Secrets Law 25 Years After PepsiCo Disclosure Case" (coauthor), Law360 (Jan. 2021)
- “Hiring from a Competitor: Practical Tips to Minimize Litigation Risk” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (May 2020)
- "The Future of Force Majeure in Employment Contracts” (coauthor), Law360 (April 2020)
- “Expert Q&A on Biometrics in the Workplace: Recent Developments and Trends” (coauthor), Thomson Reuters Practical Law (Feb. 2018)
- “Developing a Plan for Employee Departures in California,” IPWatchdog (June 27, 2017)
Spilling Secrets Podcast Series
Pete is a co-host of Spilling Secrets, a podcast series on the future of trade secrets and non-compete law. Each episode features an all-star panel of attorneys talking about real-life problems, developments, and strategies when dealing with trade secrets, non-competes, and other types of restrictive covenants.
- University of Chicago Law School (J.D., 1990)
- University of Virginia (B.A., 1987)
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas
Professional & Community Involvement
- Chicago Council of Lawyers (President, 2009 - 2010)
- Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Hearing Board (2013 – 2022)
- Illinois Chamber of Commerce: Board of Directors; Employment Law & Litigation Committee
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Thomson Reuters Practical Law’s Labor & Employment Service, Advisory Board
- January 27, 2023
- Non-Competes, Non-Solicits, and Confidentiality Agreements for Attorneys: What Are the Rules of the Road? - ACC Suburban Lunch ProgramNovember 30, 2022
- Non-Competes, Non-Solicits, and Confidentiality Agreements for Attorneys: What Are the Rules of the Road? - ACC Downtown Lunch ProgramNovember 29, 2022
- September 29, 2022
- April 5, 2022