Family businesses are the foundation of our economy and the foundation of Bret’s professional practice. Bret represents a wide variety of more than twenty family owned businesses. Bret serves as a trusted advisor and outside general counsel for the companies, as well as the attorney for the family members who own and operate those businesses.
After three years as an accomplished Illinois Assistant Attorney General arguing cases before the state and federal appellate courts and Illinois Supreme Court, Bret joined the Chicago law firm Schwartz Cooper Chartered to work with his father, Earle Rappaport. Earle had been outside general counsel and attorney for family owned businesses for decades.
Today, Bret represents, among others, Ottawa Dental Laboratory, a leader in the industry, MJ Celco, a national metal stamping manufacturer, Victory, a international trophy manufacturing firm, Bushnell, Inc., a PVC pipe supplier, Grand Stage Lighting Company, the premier name in the theatrical lighting, Major-Prime Plastics, a plastic resin supplier and Aetna Manufacturing, a manufacturing firm. Bret, is the third generation of Rappaport to serve these firms, which themselves are now owned by children or grandchildren of their founders.
This lineage has provided Bret a valuable perspective on the unique legal needs and challenges faced by family owned and owner operated firms. His strategic view and keen sense of the practical have proven to be invaluable to the clients he serves.
Bret has mastered not only the nuances of family businesses, but has experience in the areas in which they require legal services, both litigation and transactional. Bret has litigated cases involving covenants not to compete, shareholders agreements, employment contracts. In particular, Bret has successfully counseled his clients in and litigated matters related to claims under the ADA, FMLA, FLSA and WARN Act. In addition, he has prosecuted and defended personal injury matters involving his clients.
To assist clients in avoiding litigation, Bret conducts seminars on how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, reviews and drafts employee handbooks, conducts FLSA audits and works closely with clients in their strategic business planning.
As a trusted advisor, Bret counsels his clients, not just about their businesses. He provides representation for divorces, pre-nuptial agreements, as well as adoptions and other personal litigation needs including estate planning for individuals and the companion area of succession planning for the family business.
Bret has dedicated years to pro bono causes and was named Lawyer of the Year by the Constitutional Rights Foundation for his work with inner city schools. For many years, Bret has been an adjunct law professor at DePaul Law School. As a legal scholar, Bret has published numerous law review articles and is a member of Scribes, the society of legal writing professionals. Bret is a nationally recognized for his knowledge of and commitment to the preservation of our natural heritage by educating about and advocating for native landscapes, wildflowers and prairies.
- Corporate Law & Business Entities
- Estate Planning
- Civil Litigation
- Banking and Lending
- Employment Law and Family Law
- John Marshall Law School, J.D. (1986), Editor Law Review
- Indiana Univesity, B.S. Finance (1983)
- United States Supreme Court (1988)
- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (1986)
- Northern District of Illinois (1986)
- Illinois Supreme Court (1986)
- Adjunct Professor Law, DePaul University