After 30 plus years experience in Big Law and as a corporate Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel, its President, Karen Layng, formed M.A.I.T. Co. Karen’s LinkedIn profile can be accessed here.

Her significant experience as a trusted Board member, a strategic advisor to clients and their boards turning around businesses and handling companies’ bet-the-company trials and arbitrations, and as an Adjunct Professor on ethics in the Northwestern Engineering Masters of Science in Design Construction program, is described.

M.A.I.T. Co. serves businesses in the construction, manufacturing, energy and engineering industries. Karen’s legal expertise in these industries includes representing public and major private companies in complex commercial disputes, internal criminal and civil ethical and fraud investigations. She also serves as a licensed arbitrator and mediator on the AAA commercial, construction and joint venture and M&A panels. This experience allows her to uniquely review claims handling protocols and to develop client compliance programs on all corporate enterprise risks, including exposure ranging from cyber breaches to ethical lapses.

Among it services, M.A.I.T. Co. acts as a strategic advisor to corporate boards and equity investors. It provides effective and sustainable cost-savings procedures and innovative business policies and insurance and claims handling services. M.A.I.T. Co. consults on best practices in risk management, general liability, workers compensation and ethical leadership compliance reviews. This work includes  assisting clients to develop policies providing greater transparency and predictability in accrual and analysis of loss contingencies and reserve setting. The company also develops corporate ethics compliance programs and trains boards and senior executives on their responsibilities to implement and support ethical leadership cultures. 

M.A.I.T. Co. also provides construction management services on rehabilitation projects (specializing in preservation of significant architectural buildings). The above photo is from a building designed by preeminent prairie-style architect, Charles Whitney Stevens. M.A.I.T. Co. saved the residence from the wrecking ball, gutting and rehabbing the historic structure. The project was recently featured in Crain's Chicago.


Additional Experience Includes:

  • First woman president of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association in its then 51-year history and current Member of 7th Circuit Civil Pattern Jury Instructions Committee;

  • Board Member to the Girl Scouts of the USA, serving on its strategy, audit and pension advisory committees and served on its CEO Search Committee;

  • Management Committee Member, Chair of Compensation Committee, Chair of Litigation Practice Area, Chair Construction Law Group and Hiring Partner while at Vedder Price;

  • Executive Advisor to the Metropolitan Plan Commission;

  • Co-Chair ABA Construction Litigation Committee;

  • Member of the Economic and Executives Clubs of Chicago;

  • Immediate past Board Chair of the Girls Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Chair of Long Term Property Planning Committee and 13 year troop leader for Riverside Troop 4590;

  • Former Board Chair of the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Association (for which Karen was recognized with the University's Distinguished Service and Alumni Loyalty Awards);

  • Former Member of the Board of the University of Illinois Alumni Association and Chair of its President's Council;

  • Past Co-President St. Ignatius College Prep. Parent Organization and SICP Strategic Advisory Committee member;

  • Incorporated and served as Board Member of St. Ignatius Hockey Club;

  • Past President Riverside Elementary Education Foundation;

  • Past Chair Village of Riverside Plan Commission (work included rewriting award-winning zoning code for national historic Village); and

  • As volunteer, developed and implemented internet-based Cultural Arts Program for St. Mary School, Riverside, IL.

Arbitration Services:

Karen serves nationwide as a licensed AAA arbitrator and mediator on the complex construction, commercial and joint venture and M&A panels. Her AAA resume can be viewed here.

Northwestern University Adjunct Professor:

Karen is an Adjunct Professor to the Northwestern University College of Engineering Masters of Science program in Design Construction. She teaches Ethics in Engineering and Construction and lectures on cyber risks and other topics.

Recent Speaking Engagements:

Karen is a frequent lecturer on cutting edge construction, ethics and arbitration topics at leading industry functions. She presented on the opening plenary at the 2018 ABA Forum on Construction Annual meeting (April 2018 in NOLA) on the Economics of Construction and obtaining your mini MBA. In April 2019, Karen spoke at the FCIA Annual Chicago meeting on Firestopping 20 Years in the Making: What do We Know About Potential Sources of Liability? Additional significant engagements include:

  • Panelist Construction Super Conferences (12/2018) on two panels - SCOTUS Swings the Pendulum Back in Favor of Arbitration: Ensure That Your Next Arbitration Clause Is Effective and Enforceable and Mind the Coverage Gap: Insurance Specifications and Policy Terms That Can Trip You Up; (12/2017) on How Effective Preliminary Hearings Ensure Efficiency and Economy and on panel entitled Streamlining Your Arbitration: How to Avoid Reliving the Construction Project “Brick by Brick;” (12/2016) on Modern Challenges and Ethical Dilemmas at Arbitration; (12/2015) on Ethics in Arbitration; (12/2014) on Ethical Pitfalls of Electronic Communications; (12/2013) on Ethical Lapses and Criminality in Construction Procurement and Staffing;

  • Panelist at ABA's 2019 Insurance Coverage CLE Seminar (3/2019) Tucson, AZ., on Workers Compensation: Disruption is the Only Cure to Saving a Broken System

  • Panelist at ABA's Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference (4/2019) Minneapolis, MN on I Know You Want to "Beat the Heck Out of 'Em" and that "Money Doesn't Matter," But . . . How to Save Parties from Themselves in Construction Arbitration

  • Panelist on AAA Webinar (12/2016) on What Advocates Can Learn From Walking in an Arbitrator’s Shoes;

  • Panelist (with Marathon Petroleum) at the ILTA Annual Conference (6/2014) on Ethical and Other Considerations Relating to Electronic Discovery and

  • Panelist at the Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference and Bar Annual Meeting (5/2013) on The How-to of Civil Settlements and Criminal Plea Bargains.




To schedule a consult to discuss:

  • innovative, cost-cutting business strategies or Board governance policies;
  • enterprise risk management, turnaround, and ethical compliance reviews or
  • improved insurance claims handling programs that M.A.I.T. Co. can offer, please fill out the Contact Form below. 

To hire Karen as an arbitrator or Mediator:

please email her directly at kplayng@mait-co.com or via the American Arbitration Association. 

Name *