Paula M. Carstensen

Of Counsel
blank image Paula M. Carstensen
10 S. Wacker Drive
21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60606, US

T: 312.585.1410 F: 312.585.1401
Paula is a post-trial and appellate attorney with extensive experience in litigating high exposure complex appeals in a variety of areas including: work site accidents, product liability, professional liability, municipal liability, and insurance coverage. She prosecutes and defends appeals in federal and state courts nationwide.

Her practice includes trial monitoring, where she collaborates with trial counsel to prepare dispositive and other pretrial motions, motions in limine, motions for directed verdict, jury instructions, verdict forms, and post-trial motions. Clients appreciate Paula’s perspective and ability to analyze complicated legal issues. Her collaboration at all phases of significant cases allows her to evaluate potential liability and exposure for damages and to ensure that the most persuasive legal arguments are presented and preserved at every stage of the proceedings. 

Oral argument is a unique opportunity to find out what the judge is focused on and persuade the court that your client’s position is correct.


  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Illinois Woman’s Bar Association
  • Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association

Before Nicolaides

Paula brings prior experience in public service where she defended and prosecuted over 100 civil and criminal appeals, earning her a stellar reputation as an appellate advocate in the Cook County States Attorney’s Office.

  • Assisted in obtaining defense verdict on appeal of brain injury lawsuit by drafting and arguing critical motions-in-limine and jury instructions.
  • Secured Fourth Circuit's affirmation that, under North Carolina law, dozens of claims, arising out of hospital's alleged use of surgical instruments that were not properly sterilized, comprised a single occurrence; insured's elevator repair company used barrels to store used hydraulic fluid extracted during elevator maintenance at hospital.
  • Obtained affirmance by Seventh Circuit of district court's ruling that bank acted reasonably by unfreezing certain accounts included in citation to discover assets.
  • Successfully handled post-trial briefing and appeal regarding set-off and post-judgment workers' compensation lien waiver.
  • Successfully defended appeal of trucking accident lawsuit involving brain injury, in which plaintiff sought more than $30 million.
  • Crafted winning argument in a case of first impression involving reliance upon patient's comparative fault in a medical negligence claim involving the failure to diagnose an aortic aneurysm.
  • Obtained affirmance of a jury verdict finding no coverage was owed for several class action settlements involving warranty claims arising out of insured's defective roofing products.