Emily Perkins

Practice Groups:

Civil Rights Litigation/Section 1983

Employment & Labor


Medical Malpractice Defense


Office Locations:

Peoria, IL

Phone: 309.676.0400

Email Me


64 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2019 Leading Lawyers’ List - 06/28/2019

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 02/15/2019

Holiday Giving and Community Service: A Tradition at Heyl Royster - 01/02/2019

Attorneys Author Chapters in IICLE Medical Malpractice Publication - 08/03/2018

Attorneys Author Chapters in IICLE’s Illinois Civil Appeals: State and Federal - 08/02/2018

79 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 05/31/2018

Heyl Royster Supports Bradley University - 04/17/2018

Seven Heyl Royster Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 03/28/2018

Ashenhurst and Perkins Roll Out Anti-Harassment Training - 03/23/2018

Stegall and Perkins Publish on Employment Law in SIU “Survey of Law” - 03/01/2018

Holiday Giving and Community Service: a Tradition at Heyl Royster - 12/22/2017

Bertschy and Jeffers Receive Justice Awards at Pro Bono Reception - 10/27/2017

Perkins Defends Realtor in Jury Trial - 10/25/2017

Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 10/13/2017

Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 06/28/2017

Firm’s United Way Project Helps Neighborhood House - 11/08/2016

Heyl Royster and Caterpillar Provide Wills Clinic for Seniors - 11/04/2016

Women’s Forum Builds Homes with Habitat for Humanity - 09/07/2016

Five Heyl Attorneys Author Columns in Recent IDC Quarterly - 06/01/2016

Four Attorneys Published in SIU Law Journal’s “Survey of Law” - 03/03/2016

Hefflefinger and Perkins Author Article on Personal Jurisdiction for DRI - 10/07/2015

Eight Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 03/05/2015


  • Juris Doctor, Northern Illinois University College of Law, 2014
  • Bradley University, Master of Business Administration, 2011
  • Illinois State University, Bachelor of Science-Business Administration, 2008

Year Joined Firm




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Heyl Royster



Emily Perkins (Associate)


Emily concentrates her practice in the areas of employment/labor law, governmental law, Section 1983 civil rights litigation, and medical malpractice. She is involved in various employment matters, including hostile work environment issues, discrimination, and retaliation claims against employers. She works with employers of public entities in negotiating collective bargaining agreements and defending against unfair labor practice charges. She also drafts and negotiates a wide variety of contracts ranging from severance agreements to large business contracts, including purchase, consulting, license, and software agreements.

Emily defends state actors (clinical therapists and law enforcement officers) in Section 1983 deliberate indifference and failure to protect claims. In addition, she represents townships, villages, road districts and other governmental entities in a variety of litigation. Emily also defends premises liability and personal injury claims in state court.

Emily joined the firm's Peoria office as an associate in 2014, after serving as a summer law clerk in 2012 and 2013. As a member of the Trial Advocacy Society at Northern Illinois University College of Law, she had the opportunity to compete in the Student Trial Advocacy Competition for the American Association for Justice in Chicago, Illinois. While in law school, Emily also served as the President of the Student Bar Association. Her article "Regulating Appearance in the Workplace: An Employer's Guide to Avoid Employment Discrimination Lawsuits" was chosen as a winner in the National Law Review writing competition and published in February of 2014.

Significant Cases

  • D.R. v. Individual Realtor and Realty Company (2017) - Obtained defense verdict for real estate agent in a jury trial in which plaintiff claimed damages related to representations made in the course of the purchase of a home. One year after purchasing the home, the plaintiff experienced a septic tank failure that resulted in damage to his basement. The plaintiff claimed that he was unaware that the home was serviced by a septic tank and that the agent misrepresented that the home was connected to city sewer. The court granted summary judgment prior to trial on the plaintiff’s claims of fraudulent concealment, breach of contract, and professional malpractice. The judge granted the firm’s motion to strike a negligence per se count at trial. Following trial, the jury entered a defense verdict as to the fraudulent misrepresentation count, and the judge entered judgment in favor of the defendants as to counts relating to the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Young v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2017) - Represented seven clinical therapists in an inadequate mental health treatment claim. The court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion and agreed that the plaintiff could not support his claim by demonstrating that any of the individual defendants failed to provide him sufficient mental health treatment. The defendants provided evidence, including the plaintiff’s clinical progress notes which established the plaintiff’s engagement in the treatment process, to defeat the plaintiff’s claim.
  • Adams v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2017) - Successfully defended grievance examiner of a state facility in two religious claims: the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act claim and a First Amendment claim for the freedom of religion. The Central District granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion and agreed the policies at the facility did not have any effect on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. Furthermore, the facility’s failure to initiate a specific non-denominational Christian church service for these plaintiffs was not a violation of the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right because there are currently several Christian church services for the plaintiffs to attend.
  • Hughes v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2017) - Defended grievance examiner in a claim relating to the quality of food at a state facility. The court agreed that the grievance examiner had no control over the food service. Additionally, the grievance examiner properly addressed the plaintiff’s concerns outlined in his grievances and attempts to resolve. The court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion.
  • Poole v. ___ (2015) - Successfully argued summary judgment motion in state court as it related to Plaintiff’s cause of action for deliberate indifference for failing to protect him from another inmate as well as deliberate indifference to his medical needs against jail personnel. The court agreed that there was no evidence that the plaintiff’s attacker was a specific risk of harm to the plaintiff and that the defendants were not personally involved in administering plaintiff’s medication or medical treatment.
  • Strickland v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2016) - Defended jail personnel in a claim for deliberate indifference to plaintiff’s serious medical needs due to a back brace that was allegedly confiscated during his incarceration. The Central District granted defendants’ summary judgment motion based on the fact that the defendants lacked personal involvement as it related to any alleged confiscation of a back brace as well as any personal involvement in his medical care or treatment.


  • “Certain Patient Records Deemed Privileged Under Patient Safety Act,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article
  • "Interlocutory Appeals of Certain Orders" chapter in Illinois Civil Appeals: State and Federal, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2018) - Read Excerpt
  • "Expert Discovery," chapter in Medical Malpractice, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2018) - Read Excerpt
  • “The Naked Truth: The Constitutionality of Public-Nudity Ordinances,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article
  • "Survey of Illinois Law: Employment Law," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2015) - Download Article; (2017) - Download Article
  • “Seventh Circuit Addresses the Parameters of Class-of-One Equal Protection Claims,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article
  • "Seventh Circuit Addresses Public Employee Speech," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
  • "Severance Agreement Upheld by Seventh Circuit Proves Big Win for Employers," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • "Regulating Appearance in the Workplace," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
  • "Supreme Court Places Burden on Employers to Address Religious Accommodations," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
  • Click here to view full list.

Public Speaking

  • “Sexual Harassment Prevention and Tips”
    IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference 2019
  • “Sexual Harassment Update for Public Employers”
    Heyl Royster’s 33rd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2018
  • “How to Minimize Cyber Liability”
    104th Annual Illinois Municipal League Conference 2017
  • “Premises Liability Update”
    Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2017
  • “Ethics in Employment Law”
    National Business Institute: Illinois Employment Law 2017
  • “Cyber Liability for Public Bodies”
    Illinois Association of County Board Members New Employment Laws Seminar 2017
  • “Mitigating Volunteer Liability”
    IASB/IASA/IASBO’s Joint Annual Conference 2016
  • “Social Media - Must Know Legal and Insurance Risks”
    Kuhl & Company Insurance Quarterly Seminar 2016
  • “2016 Legislative Update for Public Employers”
    Heyl Royster Lunch & Learn Governmental Seminar 2016
  • “New Laws Affecting Illinois Employers”
    Heyl Royster Annual Employment Seminar/Webinar 2015
  • Click here to view full list”

Professional Recognition

  • Named to Law Bulletin Publishing Company's list of Illinois Emerging Lawyers (2018 and 2019). Only two percent of Illinois lawyers under the age of 40 or who have been licensed to practice for 10 years or less earn this distinction.
  • Quoted in the Madison Record in article entitled, "Seventh Circuit finds severance agreement enforceable and valid in case against CVS." Click here to view article.
  • Quoted in the Hanford, California Sentinel regarding employment discrimination laws and appearance in the workplace. Click here to view article.
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law recipient of the "Outstanding Contribution to the College of Law Community" Award (2014)
  • Winner of the Winter National Law Review 2014 Writing Competition

Professional Associations

  • Federal Bar Association
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Local Governmental Law Committee 2016-present; Employment Law Committee 2016-present)
  • Abraham Lincoln Court
  • Peoria County Bar Association (Young Lawyers Committee, Chair, 2017-2018; Vice Chair, 2016-2017; Community Outreach Chair, 2014-2016; Project Santa co-chair, 2015; Winter Series Civil Practice CLE co-chair, 2016)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • 10th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Subcommittee

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois

Community Involvement

  • Active in Bradley University's pre-law programs, including the annual Mock Trial Competition
  • Member of Women in Leadership of Central Illinois (2014-2015)
  • Generation United member/volunteer (2015)
  • Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, Class of 2016 Graduate
  • St. Jude Washington to Peoria Runner (2015-2017)
  • Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters, Board Member (2015-present)
  • Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria, Board Member (2016-present)
  • Volunteer for Pro Bono Help Desk for 10th Judicial Circuit
  • Volunteer mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters “Lunch Buddies” program
  • Volunteer tutor for Neighborhood House