Denise Baker-Seal

Richland Plaza 1
525 West Main Street
Suite 200
Belleville, IL 62220-1547

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Denise counsels clients inside and outside the courtroom on employment and complex litigation matters.

Denise’s employment law practice is a mix of litigation and client counseling. She regularly defends employers in state and federal cases alleging harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims and offers guidance and training to help employers minimize the risk of workplace misconduct.

Denise also handles cases involving catastrophic injuries, primarily in premises liability, product liability and transportation matters. She frequently represents businesses of all sizes, including product manufacturers, truck lines, property owners, and real estate agencies. Denise is a valued business partner for every client. She is an aggressive litigator, but takes a cost-effective approach and understands when disputes are best suited to compromise. A farmer’s daughter, Denise applies her farming work ethic to the practice of law and the diligent representation of her clients.

In addition to her skills as a litigator, Denise is experienced in effective dispute resolution alternatives and regularly represents clients in mediations and arbitrations. A lifelong resident of central Illinois, Denise serves as an arbitrator in the St. Clair County and Madison County, Illinois, mandatory arbitration programs. She is on the firm’s employee and personnel committee and is the co-founder of the Fifth Friday Initiative to increase retention and promotion of women in the firm.

Successful Recent Case Results 
  • Secured dismissal during trial in favor of a third-party defendant employer of the plaintiff truck driver in a case against a scrap metal operator. Plaintiff’s injuries occurred on the defendant’s property and included a partial amputation of the plaintiff’s foot. Our client was dismissed during trial, which ensures the workers’ compensation carrier will recover its substantial lien from the $3-million plaintiff’s verdict.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of employer correctional healthcare company in lawsuit brought by physician alleging racial discrimination and retaliation.
  • Obtained summary judgment for employer for retaliation claims under Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.
  • Secured defense jury verdict in auto accident wrongful death case involving commercial motor vehicle owned by a pool installation company.
  • Obtained dismissal of a putative class action lawsuit filed against automobile dealership under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.
  • Obtained defense arbitration award in professional liability real estate matter in favor of agent and broker based on alleged failure to disclose mine subsidence.
Prior Legal Experience

Law Clerk, Hon. Lewis M. Blanton, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (1998-2000)

More About Denise


  • Northeastern University School of Law (J.D., 1998)
  • Millikin University (B.A., Political Science, Sociology, summa cum laude, 1995)

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Recent Achievements

  • Best Lawyers - Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants (2024)
  • Meritorious Service Award, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IADC) (2021)
  • Super Lawyers - Personal Injury: General, Illinois Super Lawyers (2014-2020)
  • Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin Publishing Company (2019)
  • Volunteer of the Year, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IADC) (2017)

Professional Affiliations

  • ALFA International, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Committee member
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, First Vice President (2022 - present)
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Board of Directors (2016 - present)
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Employment Law Committee Chair (2014 - 2017)
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Survey of Law Co-Managing Editor (2016-2021)
  • Federal Bar Association of the Southern District of Illinois, President (2020-2022)
  • Southern District of Illinois Chapter of Federal Bar Association, President
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • St. Clair County Bar Association
  • Madison County Bar Association



  • Presenter, "True Grit: How to Achieve Ultimate Success in Your Career and Life," ALFA International Women's Initiative Practice Group Regional Seminar, March 2022
  • "Access Denied! ADA Accessibility Claims," ALFA International Labor & Employment Pittsburgh Regional Seminar, September 2019
  • "Case Law Update: 'The Times They Are A-Changin,'" Brown & James General Defense & Insurance Law Symposium, January 2018
  • "Who's the Boss? Understanding Employment Relationships in the Contemporary Legal Landscape," Illinois Society of Association Executives, April 2016
  • "Defending the Plaintiff's Blackboard of Special Damages," Brown & James Law Symposium, January 2016