Past Chapter Spotlight - Chicago

WWCDA spotlights the WWCDA Chicago Chapter and Leaders, including Rachel Copenhaver and Jordan Matthews, who share their inspirational and impactful experiences as members of the WWCDA, their path that led to their leadership within WWCDA, the importance of their work and WWCDA’s role in their journey.

Welcome to the Women’s White Collar Defense Association (WWCDA) blog post series profiling its diverse, talented membership. A global group of more than 3,000 accomplished women attorneys and other professionals, members are from 48 chapters who specialize in the representation of clients facing criminal or civil enforcement, regulatory, and administrative actions, and in need of internal investigations and compliance counselling.

Rachel Copenhaver Chicago Chapter Leader

Jordan Matthews, Chicago Chapter Leader

Vice Chair North America Midwest

Partner, Jones Day (Chicago, IL)

Jordan Matthews Chicago Chapter Leader

Rachel Copenhaver, Chicago Chapter Leader

Shareholder, Vedder Price, P.C. (Chicago, IL)

How has being a WWCDA leader of the Chicago Chapter helped or advanced your career?

Rachel: The number one benefit of becoming a Co-Chapter Leader has been expanding my network both within Chicago and across the WWCDA more broadly. In serving as one of the Chapter’s main points of contact, you have the opportunity to meet more of your Chicago members, whether at sponsored-events or through more informal connection and collaboration. In addition, I was able to attend my first Leadership Retreat in Miami Beach in late February/early March of this year, and this was an amazing opportunity to connect with such a strong base of other white collar practitioners.

Jordan: Being a leader of the Chicago Chapter has given me access to a network of phenomenal attorneys who I otherwise never would have met. I have been able to meet women literally from around the world who all want to elevate women’s voices in the white collar space. It has also been a great referral network. In fact, within several weeks of attending my first Leadership Retreat, I received a phone call from a WWCDA member with a referral.

Can you tell us the story of your path to becoming a leader of the WWCDA Chicago Chapter?

Rachel: I have been a member of the WWCDA Chicago Chapter for several years, going back to when I was a law firm associate. Through my participation in the robust, active Chicago Chapter, I have been able to foster many strong connections and to considerably grow my network. Plus, we are a fun group too! We have had a strong precedent of dynamic, thoughtful leaders over the years, and I knew that I wanted to follow in their footsteps, if given the chance, to contribute to a group that has been so meaningful to me in my career.

Jordan: I first learned about the WWCDA when I left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago in 2021. When I returned to private practice, every woman I knew who worked in the white collar space told me, “You have to join the WWCDA!” With such glowing recommendations, I joined immediately. From day one, I loved being a part of a group full of talented, thoughtful, fun women. Given my fabulous experience, I jumped at the chance to be a leader of the Chicago Chapter when the opportunity became available.

What can you tell us about the WWCDA Chicago Chapter and its members?

The Chicago Chapter continues to thrive and grow in size. We continue to add white collar attorneys and consultants to our network. These women are strong additions to our existing member base, resulting in a network that is a cohesive combination of seasoned white collar practitioners and professionals in the earlier stages of their white collar careers. We have a membership that is eager to connect, collaborate, and share ideas with one another.

What are the immediate goals of the WWCDA Chicago Chapter?

Our immediate goal is to diversify both the content that we provide to our members and the ways in which we bring our members together. We are thinking about new program ideas, including those that we have learned about from our colleagues in other WWCDA chapters that we are hoping to re-purpose for use in Chicago!

Does the WWCDA Chicago Chapter have any stories about its successes or the success of its members that you can share?

In July 2022, Bethany Biesenthal and Taylor Grode, both WWCDA members, secured an acquittal for a former JP Morgan Chase employee who was charged in a criminal racketeering case over an alleged multimillion-dollar precious metals market spoofing scheme. With just a handful of federal spoofing prosecutions at that time, the matter took on a particular significance. The trial, which started in July 2022, was named a White Collar case to watch by Law 360. Bethany and Taylor joined the matter to assist as trial counsel. At the conclusion of three weeks of testimony, Bethany delivered the closing argument on behalf of the client and after eight days of deliberations, the jury found the client not guilty of all charges.

Tell us a little about yourself and your practice.

Rachel: I am a shareholder in Vedder Price’s Government Investigations and White Collar Defense practice, and I have been at Vedder Price since 2008. My practice includes representing companies and individuals in government investigations, conducting internal investigations, and counseling clients during regulatory examinations. I represent public companies, investment advisers, broker-dealers, boards of directors, accounting firms, officers, directors and individuals in matters involving alleged financial fraud, insider trading, board governance and oversight, whistleblower allegations, financial statement restatements and internal controls violations.

Jordan: I am a partner in Jones Day’s Investigations and White Collar practice where I focus my practice on internal and government investigations, high-stakes civil and criminal litigation, and compliance counseling. Prior to joining Jones Day, I was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. As a federal prosecutor, I investigated and prosecuted a wide range of crimes, including national security, espionage, theft of trade secret, cybercrime, extortion, RICO, civil rights, financial fraud, and tax offenses.

If you could go back and give your younger self any advice, what would it be?

Rachel: Stay in touch with the contacts that you meet at events or programs, even if that means re-initiating contact after what feels like too much time has passed! Often professional obligations and life prevent us from fostering relationships with great people immediately after events or programs. I would tell my younger self to stop worrying if the last contact with someone feels stale – still reach out. You could be missing out on a wonderful collaboration! Jordan: Get involved! Community and legal organizations like the WWCDA are a great way to meet people, learn more about the law, and expand your personal and professional network. Make the time for them because you never know who you’ll meet.



Expand Your Reach

WWCDA Chapters provide an array of activities, initiatives and programming. Members' visibility and strength are elevated by the regular opportunities to build valuable relationships and broaden their network of professional contacts regionally as well as globally helping to further diversity across the practice.

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