Bret Rappaport

Bret works as a trusted advisor for scores of owner-operated businesses and as personal counselor for the owners and their families. For more than 30 years, Bret has represented companies and their principals in litigation, contracts drafting and negotiation, employment matters, and a host of other legal issues faced by these companies and their owners.  Bret couples an expertise in business law, estate planning, corporate law, succession planning, real estate, and family law with a genuine care for the client and dedication to do what is in their best interest.

In addition to representing clients on transactional matters, Bret is an accomplished litigator with over 75 published cases, including cases in the federal appeals court, and Illinois Supreme Court.  In law school, Bret was an intern for the American Civil Liberties Union, and a member of the team on a United States Supreme Court case involving a women’s right to choose.

Bret began his career as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General representing Illinois and its agencies before state and federal appellate courts as well as the Illinois Supreme Court. After leaving the Attorney General’s office, Bret earned partnership at the prestigious Chicago law firm, Schwartz Cooper, before bringing his talents to Hardt, Stern & Kayne in 2007.

Bret’s dedication to his clients in broad and deep. He not only represents the company, but also the family members. He works closely with them understanding that a family business is a member of the family. His collaborative approach to representation includes working closing with clients’ accountants, bankers, insurance professionals, and other outside advisors to make sure that there is a consisted and co-ordinated approach to legal, organizational, and operational issues for the company and its owners.

Bret is an accomplished author and legal writing scholar. He currently teaches English at Lake Forest College and previously held appointments teaching English at Dominican University, and legal writing at both DePaul University College of Law and John Marshall Law School. Bret’s more than a dozen published articles have been cited as authority in judicial opinions, books, and scholarly articles more than 200 times. His articles are also used as law school teaching materials.

Bret, a nationally known expert in natural landscaping and wildflower gardening. Bret lives with his wife, Jina, an elementary school librarian and live in Deerfield. They have four children and two grandchildren.


  • B.S. in Finance from Indiana University
  • J.D. University of Illinois Chicago Law School, Honors: staff editor
    of law review
  • Masters Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse DePaul University

Licensed to Practice

  • State of Illinois
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar

Publications and Articles

Volunteer, Community & Civic Activities

  • Board Member, Wild Ones Natural Landscapers (1996-2015)
  • President, Wild Ones Natural Landscapers (1997-2006)
  • Member, Deerfield Bannockburn Fire Protection Dist. (1995-1999)
  • Friends of Ryerson, Board Member (1998-2000)
  • Sierra Club Lawyers Round Table (1989-1993)
  • Save Thorngate Committee, Founder (1996)
  • Clarissa’s Prairie Committee, Founder (1998)

Memberships & Involvement

  • American Bar Association
  • Rhetoric Society of America
  • Scribes, Legal Writing Society, Law-Review Award Committee

Awards & Recognition

  • Constitutional Rights Foundation Lawyer of the Year (1992).
  • Canadian Wildflower Society, Person of the Year (2000).

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