Pamela Sakowicz Menaker is the Communications Partner at Clifford Law Offices. As an attorney with two degrees in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Pam combines her experience in these two fields in handling the press in the many high-profile cases handled by the firm. For instance, Pam was involved in the month-long trial of internationally-claimed violinist Rachel Barton who was severely injured by a Metra train. The case drew front-page headlines and daily television coverage in what has been described as the most publicized civil trial in the history of Cook County. It resulted in a $29.6 million verdict that was upheld on appeal. Pam is involved with numerous clients from the initial filing of a case to the final settlement of the matter. She routinely conducts press conferences so that an organized, considered approach to high-profile matters can be presented that ensures the clients’ rights are protected. Other cases for which she has handled the press that drew national media attention include the fire at the Cook County Administration Building, the scaffolding collapse at the John Hancock Building, the porch collapse in Chicago that killed 13 and injured dozens of others, the Union Pacific derailment that led to a bridge collapse killing a Chicago suburban couple and most recently an international press conference held in Boston involving seven of the eight circus performers who were injured when a “human chandelier” act collapsed in Rhode Island during a Ringling Brothers performance.
Pam also has been involved in handling the press involving Girl X, a girl left for dead at a Chicago housing project; Michael Chambers, who was killed by off-duty officers at a wedding in south suburban Countryside; Bob Collins, the popular WGN radio personality who was killed in a small plane crash; Nancy Clay, who was killed in a high-rise fire when Chicago firefighters were unable to reach her; and every major commercial airline crash in the United States over the past decade in which Robert Clifford has been involved.
When it comes to the press, Pam is no stranger. Her background includes experience in every type of media outlet. Upon graduating from Northwestern, Pam worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. She then moved to ABC-TV where she worked for the local affiliate in Chicago as a writer/producer for the local news. She also created the column Prelude in N for North Shore Magazine which she wrote for two years for the popular magazine. She has been a Washington correspondent and political speech writer in the nation’s capital as well as a producer/writer for Tribune Entertainment and the New York Times Corporation where she worked on a pilot for a news magazine program. Pam has taught as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she taught writing to graduate students and assisted in teaching Law of Journalism to undergraduates. Most recently, Pam was an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Program of the Integrated Marketing Communications Department of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism where she taught a class on “Consumer, Law and Ethics of Marketing.”
Pam also has been very involved in legal writing since her graduation from Loyola University School of Law in 1984. Having been the first night-law student selected to compete on the school’s Moot Court team, while still a student Pam argued a case before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in her Appellate Practicum class. After being sworn in as an attorney in Illinois, she later appeared before that court as a pro bono attorney representing criminal defendants for the Northern District of Illinois. She also was selected as an extern attorney and worked in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Consumer Fraud Division, where she was introduced to issues of consumer fraud.
In 1991, she continued her brief writing for Clifford Law Offices as well as handling of the press on high-profile cases that grew until her appointment in 2001 as the firm’s Communications Partner, which recognizes her journalism as well as her legal experience. Pam also is involved in various bar associations including the American Bar Association where she was Co-Chair of the Section of Litigation’s Written Materials Committee, a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force and other positions involving the publication of materials for that 70,000-plus member section. She also served as Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting in Chicago in 2005, helping organize the dozens of programs and written materials accompanying the continuing legal education seminars. She also served as an Editor on the prestigious Litigation Magazine that is distributed quarterly to the section’s members and most recently she was appointed to a three-year term on the ABA Standing Committee on Strategic Communications and as an Editor of Litigation News. Pam also has been a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s (CBA) Editorial Board for the Chicago Bar Record, serving as its book review editor since 2000. In 2006, she was appointed to serve as Co-Chair of the CBA’s Pro Bono Week Committee, which was marked by the Chicago mayor and the Illinois governor proclaiming it a special week in October in recognition of the efforts of the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation in raising the awareness of lawyers’ pro bono efforts in Chicago and around the state. She also serves on the CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee and its Public Affairs Committee.
Pam was selected in 2006 to serve as the Co-Chair of the Host Committee for the Illinois Bar Foundation’s Annual Gala Affair. The annual event, designed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars which ultimately is used to benefit the dozens of pro bono legal organizations around Chicago, is an event that attracts hundreds of lawyers who also are committed to furthering the philanthropic goals of the charitable arm of the Illinois Bar Association. Pam was elected to the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Assembly for a second three-year term. She also has served a number of years on the Illinois Bar Journal, the publication of the ISBA that goes out monthly to its thousands of members across the state. She also serves on its Marketing and Communications Committee. Currently, Pam spearheads the continuing legal education programs at Clifford Law Office