Carl R. DraperPartner
Areas of Practice
Litigation & Appeals
Judges and attorneys throughout Illinois recognize Carl Draper as a leader in administrative law because he usually knows more about an agency’s rules than the agency’s own lawyers do. Carl led Feldman Wasser’s prosecution of the highly publicized IDOT lawsuit, successfully representing 16 Illinois Department of Transportation Employees who were fired for their political affiliation.
Carl’s courtroom knowledge of state, municipal and federal governmental bodies runs deep, thanks in part to his years as an assistant attorney general and legal counsel to the governor of Illinois. About three-quarters of his practice currently involves litigation.
He has become the go-to lawyer for state employment issues for judges, fellow attorneys, and clients who regularly refer cases to him.
Because Carl is sensitive to his clients’ financial concerns, he gives upfront fixed fee quotes on standard employment, administrative and benefits cases so clients know exactly how much his legal services will cost. He also provides legal consultations for a small charge to individuals from the private and public sectors who want advice on employment issues.
In addition to his work in administrative, employment and benefits law, Carl has won significant cases involving civil rights, the aspect of his profession that first attracted him to law. Recently, he has also expanded his benefits practice, helping citizens to obtain unemployment compensation and other government benefits when they have been denied.
Professional responsibility has long been a hallmark of Carl’s practice. He has actively represented attorneys on ethics issues including in investigations and hearings before the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. He has spoken at seminars focusing on the topic, giving real-life guidance on practicing law in compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
To learn more about Carl’s history of fighting for employees, civil rights and the needs of clients in Illinois administrative law settings, please read this 2019 Leading Lawyers Magazine article.
Honors and Awards
- Super Lawyers
- Leading Lawyers, Civil Rights/Constitutional Law, Employment Law: Employee, False Claims Act/Whistleblower Law, 2006-present
- Illinois, 1981
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1982
- 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. Supreme Court
- University of Illinois College of Law, J.D. 1981
- Bradley University, B.S., psychology, 1976
Cases and Results
Whitlow v. The Illinois Department of Transportation: Carl Draper led the FeldmanWasser team in a high-profile lawsuit on behalf of 16 Department of Transportation employees fired for their Republican party affiliation. Carl gave the opening and closing arguments and examined most of the key witnesses. His work helped secure compensation for the clients’ lost time and distress, their reemployment with IDOT, and full payment of all their legal fees.
Carl has helped numerous professionals — including attorneys, physicians, nurses, CNAs, insurance agents, and others — to maintain their professional licenses from government agencies.
In a benefits discrimination case, Carl successfully pursued a class action against an insurance company that tried to cancel the life insurance policies of a group of gay customers. The life insurance company was forced to maintain the customers’ policies and offered a financial settlement that was split among the parties.
Carl has helped numerous families with legal disputes involving child support, child custody and divorce.
Carl successfully sued the Illinois Department of Agriculture in the widely publicized “Mongo the Steer” case. His client raised Mongo the Steer for the Junior Grand Livestock competition at the Illinois State Fair and won first prize. That prize was revoked when it was found that she had administered an anti-inflammatory drug to Mongo prior to the competition. Carl argued that the Department of Agriculture had not taken adequate steps to legally adopt the rules of competition and to inform participants and the public about the rules. The Sangamon County Circuit Court and the Appellate Court agreed.
Carl defended state regulatory actions against some of the best lawyers in Illinois in his tenure as an Illinois assistant attorney general and a legal counsel to Illinois’ governor.
Illinois State Bar Association
- Board of Governors, 2006-2012
- Assembly, 2001-present
- Administrative Law Section Council, 1988-present; chair, 2014-2015
- Law Office Economics Section Council, 1994-2006; chair, 2002-2003
- Committee on Legal Technology, 2013-present
- Standing Committee on Strategic Marketing, 2006-2012; co-chair, 2006-2009
- Various special committees and task force projects
College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Fellow, 2012-present
Lincoln-Douglas Inns of Court
Sangamon County Bar Association
Government Bar Association
Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association
- Feldman Wasser, 1987-present
- Governor of Illinois, James R. Thompson, counsel, 1984-1987
- Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Neil Hartigan, assistant attorney general, 1982-1984
- McConnell, Kennedy, Quinn & Johnston, associate, 1981-1982
Because Carl is considered an authority on Illinois state employment matters, he lectures regularly on employment law to the Illinois State Bar Association, the Sangamon County Bar Association, the Bar Association of the Central and Southern Districts, and other professional groups.