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Elizabeth K. Ainslie

Retired Partner
T 215-751-2359

    Named one of "America's Top 50 Women Litigators" by The National Law Journal, Elizabeth Ainslie has tried more than 75 cases to verdict and conducted innumerable evidentiary hearings, sentencings, oral arguments and arbitrations.

    From 1979 to 1984, Ms. Ainslie was a federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, serving as the chief of the Fraud Section during 1983 to 1984. After leaving the U.S. Attorney's office, Ms. Ainslie worked for 15 years at a law firm she founded, and since 1999, she has been at Schnader. She is on the roster of neutral arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association.

    Ms. Ainslie has been handling settlement conferences for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for over 20 years. She has served as a paid arbitrator on several occasions and has been first-chair in two International Chamber of Commerce arbitrations.


    Significant Commercial Litigation

    • International arbitration in Dublin, Ireland, involving a biotechnology distribution agreement between an American company and a major Italian corporation; represented plaintiff and prevailed.
    • Defense of major law firm in civil RICO action claiming $500 million in damages before trebling; settled.
    • Successful defense of The New York Times in federal defamation trial.
    • Arbitration in London in which a Nigerian company claimed breach of contract for aeromedical equipment; represented plaintiff and prevailed.
    • Representation of a major health insurance carrier in a civil RICO action against a pharmaceutical company.
    • Qui Tam (whistle-blower) lawsuits involving allegations of Medicare fraud, one of which generated the largest healthcare whistle-blower settlement in U.S. history.
    • Successful defense of a major national bank in a lender liability trial. 
    • Successful prosecution of a wrongful use of civil process action on behalf of an investment banker against a major law firm that had recklessly accused the banker of securities fraud and racketeering.
    • Representation of an investor, in a civil RICO action against a U.S. government-owned business arising out of sale of Costa Rican timberland; settled.
    • Representation of a major utility company against the trucking company that systematically stole oil from the utility, in a lawsuit that secured a treble-damage verdict in excess of $6 million.
    • Representation of that utility in successful litigation against Lloyd's of London arising out of that same incident.


    • Harvard Law School, LL.B.
    • Smith College, B.A., magna cum laude

    Bar Admissions

    • Pennsylvania
    • Massachusetts

    Professional Affiliations

    Ms. Ainslie has taught in trial practice courses at Harvard Law School, the Attorney General's Advocacy Institute, the Academy for Advocacy and Temple University's James E. Beasley School of Law. She spent a semester recently at Cornell Law School as its Distinguished Practitioner in Residence.

    Other Distinctions

    • Ms. Ainslie has been included annually in The Best Lawyers in America for Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants 2006-2018
    • Ms. Ainslie is a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer," one of the top lawyers (male and female) in the state, 2004-2017.
    • Ms. Ainslie is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as chair of its Federal Criminal Rules Committee. She is also a past Pennsylvania State Chair of the College.
    • Ms. Ainslie is listed in Chambers USA as among the top practitioners in general commercial litigation in Pennsylvania, 2009-2016.
    • Ms. Ainslie is a member of The American Law Institute (ALI).
    • Ms. Ainslie was named Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Cornell Law School, 2009.