Jesse H. Ruiz



(312) 569-1135 phone
(312) 569-3135 fax

Jesse H. Ruiz is a partner in the firm's Corporate and Securities Group and a member of the firm's Education Industry Group. For over 19 years, Jesse has focused his practice on business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments, equity and debt offerings, financings, the purchase and sale of assets from bankruptcy estates, and a variety of commercial transactions.  Drawing on his experience in business, management consulting, and his work in the public sector, Jesse also counsels public and privately-held companies and entrepreneurs on strategic initiatives and transactions.  Jesse also counsels clients on corporate finance issues; negotiation of consulting and other commercial agreements; reorganizations; corporate compliance; corporate governance issues; employment matters; and the formation of business entities in the United States, Latin America and Europe. 

Additionally, Jesse serves as the relationship partner for several major firm clients and supervises and manages all aspects of the firm’s legal services, including those in class action litigation, contract, corporate, compliance, customs & trade, environmental, labor & employment, intellectual property, land use & zoning, litigation, real estate and regulatory matters.

In 2011, the Walmart Legal Department awarded Jesse its inaugural Walmart Legal Spark Award for “outstanding client and community service and dedication to diversity in the legal profession."

Since 2006, Jesse has served as a member of the board of directors of Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon Company.

Acquisitions and Divestitures. Jesse has represented public and private acquirers and sellers, and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees, in a range of transactions across a variety of industries, including public utilities, manufacturing, technology, publishing, finance and consulting.

Jesse has also served as lead counsel in a number of international transactions, including counseling a Canadian client on the leveraged buyout of a dedicated Web hosting business in the United States; serving as U.S. counsel to an Indian company in the sale of its Mumbai-based market research business to a British buyer in London; and representing an Australian company in the sale of one of its subsidiaries, one of North America’s largest welded tube companies, to one of the largest integrated steel producers in the United States.

Other representative transactions include: 

  • The $1.4 billion merger of a public utility holding company with another public utility holding company.  The transaction involved numerous state and federal regulatory issues and filings.
  • Sale of an agricultural equipment manufacturing business to a public company.
  • Represent a consulting firm in the purchase of an information technology assets from the bankruptcy estate of another consulting firm.
  • Represent an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Trust in its purchase of all the outstanding stock of a food and beverage distribution company.
  • Represent the shareholders of an investment company in the sale of all their shares to a bank holding company.
  • Sale of an Australian-owned mining equipment manufacturing business to a U.S. buyer.
  • Sale of all the assets of a consulting industry publishing company, and producer of tradeshows, to a large national publishing company.
  • Sale of an intermodal transportation business to a private equity fund.

Legislative Legal Counsel. Jesse is legal counsel to the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation.  In 2003, and again in 2009, he received the Foundation’s Leadership Award for providing legal counsel to both the Foundation and the Caucus, and assisting in the founding of both organizations.

Public Service. In November 2015, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Jesse the President of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. Previously Jesse had served as the vice president of the Chicago Board of Education from May 2011 until December 2015.  Jesse served as the interim CEO of the Chicago Public School System from April through July of 2015, the third largest school district in the nation, with approximately 400,000 students and a budget of almost $6 billion.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appointed Jesse to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission from February 2011 to February 2013.

Prior to accepting the Mayor’s appointment to the Chicago Board of Education, Jesse served as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education from September 2004 to May 2011. The Illinois State Board of Education oversees the operation of the state’s school system for 2.1 million students in grades Pre-K-12, and administers an $11 billion annual budget.  He had also previously served on the Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Monitoring Commission.

Community and Other Activities. In August 2013, Jesse was appointed by the president of the ABA to the Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, an historic commission that aims to ensure that the voices of the Latino community across this nation are heard.

He is past president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and Past Chairman of the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois.  He is also Past Chairman of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms.  He has taught corporate law as an Adjunct Professor of Corporate Law at John Marshall Law School. He also serves on several other civic and charitable boards and committees.

Awards and Honors. At the Hispanic National Bar Association's annual convention in September 2014, Jesse was named the Latino Lawyer of the year by the HNBA. In April 2012, Jesse, along with his wife, received the Barristers Philanthropic Award from Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth for his work in education advocacy and youth mentoring.

In March 2007, El Valor, one of the country’s leading nonprofits serving the Hispanic Community, awarded Jesse their Education Excellence Award for his work to open doors for educational opportunities for everyone.

In September 2005, he was selected by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to receive his Education Award, honoring his commitment to promoting leadership in the Hispanic community and the City of Chicago and as an individual who contributes to improving the quality of life of all Latinos in Illinois.

He also received the Chicago Bar Association’s 2005 Vanguard Award as a Chicago-area lawyer who has “made the law and legal profession more accessible to, and reflective of, the community at-large.”

In 2003, Jesse was also profiled in the prestigious Crain’s Chicago Business list of “40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Chicago Business.”  That same year, he was recognized by Chicago Lawyer magazine as one of the “40 Attorneys Under 40 in Illinois to Watch” and was selected by Chicago United to be featured in its first “Business Leaders of Color” publication, featured in the October 13, 2003 issue of Crain’s Chicago Business.

In General. Prior to joining the firm, Jesse was a management consultant with the international consulting firm of Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc. (n/k/a Strategy & Company), where he was a member of the Operations Management Group.  At Booz Allen, Jesse assisted clients with developing a profitability roadmap, redesigning a nation-wide customer service system, and implementing a lean manufacturing initiative.  Prior to attending law school, he was also a member of the sales departments of Inland Steel Company and Ryerson Coil Processing Company.  In addition to his industrial sales duties at Ryerson, Jesse participated in an employee team that successfully re-engineered the company’s operations and brought it to sustained profitability.

Jesse received his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, where he served as an editor of the University of Chicago Law School Roundtable, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Chicago Bar Association Leadership and Client Development Institute
Effective Leadership: What does it take to be a leader in your profession and your community?
Turnaround Management Association
Effective Leadership Under Fire
Northern Trust
Jesse Ruiz Speaks to Northern Trust's Latin Heritage Leadership Council
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department of Economics Commencement Speaker
The University of Chicago Law School
Giving Back While Growing Your Career: The How and Why of Non-Profit Service
University of Chicago Law School
Partnership and Advancement at a Law Firm
Diversity Panelist
Walmart Legal SuperConference
Aurora University
American Bar Association President's Council
University of Chicago Latino Law Students Association
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
American Bar Association
Keynote Address, Southern Illinois University, Latino Heritage Month
American Conference Institute's National Forum on Achieving, Managing and Maintaining Law Firm Diversity
Northwestern's Latino Law Student Association's Latino Heritage Month Program
Harvard Law School, Education Panel Speaker


Jesse Ruiz Featured in University of Chicago Law School’s My Chicago Law Moment Series
Jesse Ruiz Appointed President of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners
Drinker Biddle Partner Jesse H. Ruiz Named Hispanic National Bar Association Latino Lawyer of the Year
Jesse Ruiz Named Father of the Year by the American Diabetes Association
Jesse Ruiz Named to Leadership Greater Chicago’s Fellows Class of 2014
Drinker Biddle, Exelon Partner on Pro Bono Clinic
Jesse Ruiz Speaks to the Media About Chicago Public School Strikes
Jesse H. Ruiz Appointed to Serve on Chicago Board of Education and U.S. Department of Education Commission
Chicago Lawyer Names GCD's Jesse Ruiz One of 10 Lawyers Taking Off After 30
GCD, Ruiz host Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms: Wal-Mart makes strong statement on diversity

Jesse H. Ruiz Chosen Among Diversity & the Bar Featured Rainmakers