College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Jean Manning '78 MBA, Chief Counsel for Employment of the US Senate, retires


Jean Manning ’78 MBA, the first-ever Senate Chief Counsel for Employment, is retiring after 21 years. Four leaders of the Senate (Senators Reid, McConnell, Durbin, and Hatch) granted her emeritus status, making her the fifth person ever to have received such an honor.

According to Sen. Durbin, “To Jean’s credit, the Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment has earned a stellar reputation throughout the Senate…Since its inception, [the office] has never lost a case…I thank Jean for her exceptional service.”

In her role as chief counsel, Jean defended and advised senators in all employment law matters, representing them before the US Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, and trial courts throughout the country. Jean testified before Congress, advised the Senate about and participated in drafting legislation, and regularly delivered speeches on constitutional and employment law matters. 

After earning her Illinois MBA, Jean joined Arthur Andersen in its Chicago consultancy division. She left Arthur Andersen to conduct a one-year, cross-national study of consumer complaint behavior across Europe, which piqued her interest in law. Following law school, Jean practiced for major firms in Los Angeles and for a Fortune 500 company in Connecticut. In 1993, Jean was hired by the United States Senate.

Along with an MBA, Jean holds a BA (1972) and a JD (1983) from the University of Illinois. She was the convocation speaker for the MBA graduating classes of 2001 and 2012, has served as president of the College of Law Board of Advisors, and has served as a member of the University of Illinois Foundation for several years. She credits the University for much of her success. 

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