Multiple sources who work closely with the Chicago Law Department say city legal staff have been informed that Corporate Counsel Stephen Patton is preparing to leave his position as head of the department. Spokespersons from the mayor’s office and Law Department have flatly denied that Patton is leaving.
According to Daily Line sources, Patton will reportedly leave by the end of this week, or early next week. Also according to those sources, a replacement has already been chosen, and will be announced when Patton’s departure is announced.
“I’ve spoken to Steve Patton about this and he says it is simply not true,” said Law Department spokesperson Bill McCaffrey when reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon. Later that evening, Adam Collins, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Director of Communications, emailed this reporter, “This is not correct,” reinforcing McCaffrey’s statement.
Informed of City Hall’s response, Daily Line sources doubled down on their story, named an unconfirmed replacement, and reported the alleged new corporate counsel’s spouse has already found a job in Chicago.
Patton was one of Emanuel’s first appointments, in May 2011, and is one of his closest advisors. Prior to joining city government he was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, where he led the firm’s Litigation Management department. Under Patton’s leadership, Chicago’s Law Department earned a reputation for ferocity, adopting many practices that had long become standard in the corporate arena, such as resisting disclosure and pressing opposing attorneys as far as possible, for the sake of defending the city’s interests.