Jana Cohen Barbe

Class of 2016

Jana Barbe serves as Global Vice Chair of Dentons, the largest law firm in the world.  Since the inception of Dentons, Jana has been integrally involved in the development and implementation of a strategic vision that created a top tier global legal business comprised of a 7500-attorney law firm and multiple ancillary companies.  She has done so by balancing aspiration and ambition with fiscal responsibility and, in the process, has earned a reputation for her integrity, her candor and her pragmatism.  In her governance role for this billion-dollar, international business, with 141 locations serving 58 countries and comprised of more than 13,500 lawyers and staff persons, Jana is known for her ability to build consensus and is frequently called upon to navigate differences among diverse global regions.

In addition to serving on the Global Board of Dentons, the Global Advisory Committee and the U.S. Board, Jana chaired the firm's Financial Institutions Sector - the largest sector of the law firm and its economic driver - as well as its pre-eminent real estate practice.  Jana skillfully led both during the economic downturn of the past decade and did so in a manner that both preserved and protected the firm's brand while positioning the firm to maximize opportunities on behalf of its clients during the anticipated, and now realized, recovery.  As a real estate professional who advises many leading global financial institutions and insurance companies, Jana is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential and highly regarded practitioners in real estate law.  Her highly specialized substantive expertise bridges tax, corporate, partnership, finance and real estate law further enhancing her business acumen.  As one Firm client put it, "Jana is unique in that she sees things from many different directions, anticipating issues and opportunities. Jana asks all the right questions and is very practical and solution-oriented, which makes her so effective on delivering sound advice to complex matters."

Equally committed to serving her community, Jana is the president emerita of Thresholds, Illinois' oldest and largest provider of supportive services and housing to individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses and one of the Chicagoland area's most visible and well-respected non-profits.  Jana led Thresholds' prominent board comprised of Chicago community leaders from 2013 - 2015, a time when Thresholds had an operating budget of $80 million, a staff of over 1000, and was recognized as one of the Chicago Tribune’s “Top Workplaces" and one of Chicago's "101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For".  Her service to Thresholds, which serves more than 9,500 adults and youths each year, has spanned more than 25 years.