Chris Sheean

From Openwaterpedia
Chris Sheean, Attorney & Family Man
Chris Sheean, Big Shoulders Race Director

Chris Sheean is a prominent attorney in Chicago and race director of the Big Shoulders 5K Swim, the most popular race in the Midwest U.S.A. The 2.5K and 5K race is touted as a Lake Michigan-size test of guts, determination and fortitude amidst the chilly, windswept waves.


Big Shoulders was founded in 1990 by 1960 Rome Olympics gold medalist Bill Mulliken and guided to its global status by Sheean. Mulliken saw the City of Chicago, known for its tough but endearing demeanor, rugged work ethic and soaring skyline, as an unconventional but ideal spot for an open water swimming race. Captured as the "City of Big Shoulders" by the poet Carl Sandburg, Chicago is blessed to reside at the foot of one of the fresh water marvels of the world, Lake Michigan.

A consummate family man and tough open water swimmer, Sheean has developed Big Shoulders from a local phenomenon to a race of international prominence. The gregarious and able leader has grown Big Shoulders from 80 to 1200, while securing status as a Master's National Championship 5K race for the first time in 2000.

Sheean oversees an ever expanding dossier of volunteers, sponsors and safety infrastructure as Big Shoulders enters its third decade. He was named as one of the 101 Movers And Shakers In The Open Water Swimming World by the Daily News of Open Water Swimming for 2011.


Born Detroit, Michigan, 1966; admitted to bar, 1992, Illinois, United States District Courts, Northern (including Trial Bar), Central and Southern Districts of Illinois; 2002, United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; 2004, United States District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma; 1999, United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Education: University of Arizona (B.A., 1989) and University of Arizona College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1992) Executive Editor, The Arizona Law Review (1991-1992)
Outstanding Advocate, Moot Court (1989-1990) and Ares Fellow (1990-1991)

Member of the American Bar Association and Defense Research Institute

Legal practice in the areas of Commercial Litigation and Business Disputes, Intellectual Property and Toxic Tort Litigation

Publications include “Misappropriation of Non-Trade Secret Information Actions,” DRI’s For The Defense (2008)
“Illinois Trade Secrets Law,” Compendium on Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Clauses, DRI Publications (2008)
“Strategies for Defeating Class Certification in Mass Tort Cases,” Exploring Toxic Tort and Environmental Liability Claims, DRI Publications (2007)
“Defending Trade Secrets Claims,” DRI Defending Intellectual Property Compendium, Vol. 2, DRI Publications (2007)


Sheean was one of the featured speakers at the 2011 Open Water Swimming Safety Conference in San Francisco, California.

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