An accomplished lawyer in her own right, Jessica Arbour joined our firm in 2017 after more 15 years advocating for and supporting the vulnerable, injured, and abused. She has worked on more than 1500 cases of clergy sexual misconduct nationwide, as well as cases involving daycares, schools, transportation companies, massage therapists, and medical professionals.
No stranger to high profile, challenging cases, Ms. Arbour’s advocacy has involved convincing courts around the country to make new laws to protect the vulnerable where they did not previously exist. By way of example, Ms. Arbour successfully argued a case of first impression in Arkansas against the Diocese of Little Rock. The Bishop’s attorneys argued that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution barred all claims against the Diocese and other religious entities where the accused perpetrator was a religious figure, like a Catholic priest. If the Bishop’s attorneys prevailed, it would have been a devastating result for survivors of sexual abuse in Arkansas. But Ms. Arbour’s tenacity carried the day; the Arkansas court ruled in her favor in a lengthy published opinion, Oates v.Taylor, 2012 WL 994530 (Ark. Cir. 2012).
In 2011, Ms. Arbour received a $100,650,000.00 award from a Florida jury on behalf of a clergy sexual abuse victim, which was the largest verdict in the state that year, and one of the 20 largest verdicts in the United States.
Ms. Arbour has made dozens of appearances in local, national, and international media including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and New York Times, as well as foreign language media worldwide.
In recognition of her tireless efforts to protect children, in 2011, Ms. Arbour was nominated for the ABA Young Lawyers Division Child Advocacy Award. She is also consistently named a Rising Star by SuperLawyers Magazine, which recognizes the top echelon of up and coming attorneys under 40 nationwide.
Ms. Arbour was born and raised in Northern Minnesota. She has also lived and practiced in South Florida and Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of St. Thomas in 2000 and graduated from DePaul University College of Law in 2009. She is admitted to practice in Illinois (2014), Florida (2009), Middle District of Florida, and Southern District of Florida, and Northern District of Illinois. She has also been admitted pro hac vice to practice in various courts around the country on behalf of her courageous clients.