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Patricia C. Benassi has practiced law in central Illinois for the past 39 years. She attended the University of California (Boalt Hall) and graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 1969. She also attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois for one year. She began her legal career with the National Labor Relations Board in Peoria, Illinois, where she worked from 1969-1980. In 1980, she and her husband, A. Lou Benassi, established the law firm of Benassi & Benassi, P.C., where she has specialized in employment law and civil rights for the past 28 years. She has represented individuals in numerous high profile discrimination and civil rights cases, including the landmark sexual harassment and race discrimination cases against Mitsubishi Motors. Ms. Benassi has been awarded an AV rating by her fellow lawyers for the past twenty-four years, the highest rating possible for ability and integrity. She was selected by her peers to be a member of the Leading Lawyer Network in 2004; was named One of the Ten Most Influential Women Lawyers in Illinois in 2000 by American Legal Media; received the Women of Achievement Award from Women in Management in 1994, and the Equality and Justice Award from the National Organization for Women in 1996. In 2007, Ms. Benassi was awarded the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Award for a life’s work devoted to equality and justice for women by the Illinois Conference of the National Organization for Women. In 2007-2008, she was designated as an Illinois Super Lawyer. She has been a member of NELA since 1991 and has participated as an instructor and attendee at numerous NELA conferences.

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