Francis Liesman is an associate in the litigation and enforcement practice group based in Ropes & Gray’s Chicago office. He represents clients in complex commercial litigation, internal investigations, and white-collar criminal and civil enforcement matters. Francis works with a diverse group of clients, including medical technology and health care companies, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, and non-profit institutions.
Francis maintains an active pro bono practice representing plaintiffs in civil rights litigation.
Before joining the firm, Francis served as special assistant corporation counsel in the Constitutional and Commercial Litigation Division at the City of Chicago Law Department, where he represented the City of Chicago and its agencies in constitutional challenges in federal and state court.
While in law school, Francis served as a law clerk at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan, where he worked on various trial and appellate litigation matters. He was the managing editor for the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy and worked with Duke’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic.
Prior to attending law school, Francis spent three years teaching high school science in Gary, Indiana through Teach For America.
- Assisted in defending a private equity company against a series of mass tort lawsuits brought in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, including securing full dismissal with prejudice on summary judgment one day before jury selection in a bellwether trial.
- Defending a non-profit health system against a data breach class action in federal court.
- Conducted an internal investigation into the adequacy of a public company’s compliance program and accounting controls in response to a whistleblower report and reported findings to the company’s Audit Committee.
- Represented global pharmaceutical and medical device companies in DOJ and internal investigations involving alleged violations of the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act relating to the promotion and sale of company products.
- Conducted anti-corruption, economic sanctions, and export control due diligence in connection with dozens of cross-border transactions in the telecommunications, energy, life sciences, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, food and beverage, and agri-business industries.
- Represented the City of Boston in a First Amendment case, Shurtleff v. City of Boston, before the United States Supreme Court.
- Litigating the civil rights claims of a formerly incarcerated plaintiff in federal district court. [Pro Bono]
- Assisted in counseling a SPAC in an SEC investigation related to a proposed merger.
- Represented a former executive of a non-profit corporation in a civil investigation brought by the SEC Office of Inspector General.
- Regularly litigating commercial disputes in Illinois federal and state courts.
- Assisted in counseling a public company in an American Arbitration Association commercial arbitration related to earn-outs and other deal-related issues in the acquisition of a high technology manufacturer.
- Assisted in representing a private company in a JAMS commercial arbitration related to a contractual dispute with a large private retailer.
- Co-author, Louisiana’s Higher Education Foreign Security Act of 2022 Signals Continued Scrutiny of Foreign Influence in American Academia (Ropes & Gray Alert October 18, 2022)
- Francis X. Liesman, “Swords into Plowshares: Nuclear Power and the Atomic Energy Act’s Preemptive Scope in Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren,” Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy (March 14, 2019)
- JD, magna cum laude, Duke University School of Law, 2020; Managing Editor, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy
- BS (Biomolecular Science and Spanish), with Distinction, University of Michigan, 2014; Phi Beta Kappa; William J. Branstrom Prize
Admissions / Qualifications
- Illinois, 2021
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois