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Heyl Royster



Dana Hughes (Partner)


Born and raised in Rockford, Dana joined the firm's Rockford office as an associate in 2006. There, she defended the rights of employers in workers' compensation claims before arbitrators and commissioners at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and protected their interests in state courts in third party claims. She was an active member in the Winnebago County Bar Association, serving on its Board of Directors and Diversity Committee, and as past Chair of the Association's Workers' Compensation Section. Dana also served as an arbitrator for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit's Court-Annexed Arbitration System.

In April of 2015, Dana relocated to the firm's Peoria office to join its workers' compensation group, where she continues to concentrate her practice in the representation of employers throughout the central part of the state. She became a partner in 2016. Dana is a member of the Peoria County Bar Association, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel and Defense Research Institute.

Dana is an annual contributor to the firm's claims handling seminar and the firm's monthly publication devoted to workers' compensation issues, Below the Red Line. She has contributed to in-house newsletters for clients and has presented before the ISBA's Insurance Law Section. She has been a guest speaker to local community college and high school students on topics such as leadership and the practice of law. In 2015, Dana co-authored an extensive survey of Illinois Workers' Compensation Law published in the Southern Illinois University Law Journal.

While in law school, Dana was a student representative to the Illinois State Bar Association. She served as a judicial law clerk in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. She was member of the NIU Law Review, where her writing was published in the Northern Illinois University Law Review and Kane County Bar Journal. Dana was also recipient of the Women's Bar Foundation's scholarship, which is awarded to one female law student from each of Illinois' law schools.


  • “Procedure, Appeals, and Special Remedies,” chapter in Workers’ Compensation, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2019)
  • “Three Recent Appellate Court Jurisdictional Rulings Should Give Practitioners Pause When Filing Reviews,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article
  • "A Primer on Recent Cases Impacting Workers’ Compensation Defense," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2016) - Download Article
  • "Survey of Illinois Law: Workers' Compensation—Understanding Interest and Enforcement Issues in Workers' Compensation Cases Following an Award of Benefits," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2015) - Download Article
  • "Appellate Court Further Restricts Employer's Ability to Terminate Temporary Total Disability Where Employee Was Discharged for Cause," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article 
  • "Survey of Illinois Law: Workers' Compensation," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2014) - Download Article

Public Speaking

  • “Spotlight on Sexual Harassment Claims: Defense Strategies in the Era of the #MeToo Movement”
    Heyl Royster's 33rd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2018
  • “Winning at Recorded Statements”
    Greater Peoria Claims Association 2017
  • “It’s All About the Fundamentals: Honing Your Initial Investigation Skills to Establish Your Best Claim Defenses”
    Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2017
  • “New Recruits: The Millennial Juror”
    Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2017
  • “Defending Your Company Before and After a Lawsuit or Claim is Filed”
    Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show 2017
  • “Stress in the Workplace”
    Heyl Royster Employers' Day Seminar 2016
  • “Temporary Transitional Employment”
    Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2016
  • “Illinois Workers’ Compensation – Back to Basics”
    Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show, Peoria 2016
  • “Undocumented Workers: Benefits Without Borders”
    Heyl Royster's 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015
  • “Social Media: A New Litigation Tool?”
    Winnebago County Bar Association’s Trial Section 2012
  • Click here to view full list”

Professional Recognition

  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.
  • Named to Law Bulletin Publishing Company's list of Illinois Emerging Lawyers (2015-2018). 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.

Professional Associations

  • Peoria County Bar Association
  • Winnebago County Bar Association (Board of Directors, 2009-2012)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute

Court Admissions

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