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Rita M. Powers is Co-Managing Shareholder of the Chicago office and Co-Chair of the firm's Real Estate Litigation Practice. She concentrates her practice on litigation involving real estate and real estate financing, primarily with respect to shopping centers, hotels, and office buildings. She counsels clients on pre-dispute issues, and engages on their behalf in complex business litigation, trials, arbitrations, and mediations involving commercial landlord-tenant disputes and rent resets; large commercial mortgage foreclosures; conveyance and post-closing disputes among real estate buyers, sellers, brokers, and managers; construction issues; ADA claims; JV and partnership disputes, fraud claims and dissolution; and business torts. Additionally, her previous experience includes white collar criminal work on alleged Medicare/Medicaid, government contracting and government officials' fraud and abuse.


  • Complex commercial litigation
  • Real estate litigation, including landlord-tenant and property acquisition disputes
  • Shareholder, partnership and limited liability company disputes
  • Complex commercial foreclosures and workouts
  • Business fraud
  • Construction litigation
  • Reinsurance/insurance



  • Obtained more than $70 million in property damage and business interruption insurance coverage from over a dozen London primary and excess insurers, as well as three brokers, on the single largest claim arising out of Hurricane Lenny on November 17, 1999, in the British Virgin Islands, resolving lawsuits in both Texas and London.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a declaratory judgment action for Saks, Inc., allowing it to exercise an early termination option as the anchor tenant of a mall, saving it more than $2.5 million in future lease payments.
  • Obtained dismissal for a luxury hotel owner of contract and tort claims brought by a terminated project manager and general contractor in Arizona and Missouri federal courts on a $125 million construction project.
  • Defeated breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and related claims brought by a 50-50 passive partner against its operating partner, obtaining dissolution of the partnership and an award of more than $500,000 in attorneys’ fees against the passive partner.
  • Obtained summary judgment for Kimco Realty Corporation and avoided more than $3 million in damages arising out of a shopping center lease termination transaction.
  • Obtained summary judgment for the owner of a historic luxury hotel in Chicago in a ground lease dispute.
  • Obtained summary judgment for the ground lease tenant of a shopping center against various alleged breach claims and further summary judgment against the landlord for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, including an injunction against future lawsuits and various sanctions.
  • Obtained dismissal of claims by the current owner of the renowned Alexander Calder sculpture, “The Universe,” who attempted to invalidate the former owner’s option to re-purchase the sculpture at 50% of its appraised value.
  • Represented a national clothing retailer in a lease dispute over a flagship location.
  • Represented a national parking garage operator in a lease dispute with a historic Chicago hotel.
  • Represented developers and REITs in various lease and acquisition disputes at shopping centers nationwide.
  • Represented owners, general contractors and lenders in construction disputes and mechanics liens, including the primary lender in a $34 million lien dispute over the condo conversion of the Palmolive Building in Chicago.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a GE subsidiary reinsurer in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with respect to the late notice of approximately $10 million of Personal Injury Protection claims under the parties' long-standing reinsurance treaty. Allstate Insurance Co. v. Employers Reinsurance Corp., 441 F. Supp. 2d 865 (N.D. Ill. 2005).
  • Obtained a finding of bad faith, in addition to insurance coverage, in federal court against National Union for a subcontractor under a contractor's CGL Policy. The Edward Gray Corp. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., No. 94 C 6992, 1997 WL 102542 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 5, 1997), reconsideration denied, 1997 WL 222888 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 24, 1997).

Recognition & Leadership

  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Real Estate - Litigation, 2017 and 2022
  • Listed, Crain’s Chicago Business
    • “Notable Women in Law,” 2022
    • “Notable Gen X Leaders in Law,” 2019
  • Listed, Leading Lawyers Network, 2011-2024
    • Top 100 Real Estate-Related Lawyers in Illinois, 2020
    • Top 100 Women Real Estate-Related Lawyers in Illinois, 2011-2013, 2015-2020
  • Named, Client Service All Star, BTI Client Service All-Stars Report, 2016
  • Member, Advisory Board, Metropolitan Family Services’ Legal Aid Society
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Council of Lawyers
  • Member, Women's Bar Association of Illinois
  • Past Member, DePauw University, Board of Visitors, 2007-2010


  • J.D., Vanderbilt University Law School, 1990
    • Executive Editor, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law
  • B.A., Economics and Management, cum laude, DePauw University, 1986
    • Management Fellow
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois