Barbara Dunn

Barbara Dunn


Co-Chair of the firm’s Associations & Foundations Practice Group, Barbara is relied upon by clients and colleagues alike for her innovative approach to nonprofit and tax-exempt legal matters. She remains at the forefront of current trends in this area of the law and advises clients on meetings, hospitality and travel law; contracts; employment law; computer, trademark and copyright law; litigation and risk management; administrative law; taxes; antitrust; and governance matters.

Barbara also counsels a wide variety of clients in the travel, tourism, hospitality, incentive, and meetings industries. She represents both businesses and nonprofit organizations regarding the negotiation and documentation of contracts for major events, conferences, trade shows and the like on a local, regional, national and international scale.

Known for her depth in the law and candid communication style, pragmatism and workable solutions are at the core of Barbara’s commitment to those she serves. With more than a quarter century of experience, Barbara does not reinvent the wheel, saving her clients valuable time and money. Her ability to work with a variety of personalities and reconcile different points of view when resolving complex issues and difficult disputes is among Barbara’s greatest strengths. Barbara’s strong communication skills and sense of humor make her a highly sought commentator on issues affecting nonprofit corporations and hospitality organizations alike.

Barbara has been involved in a variety of leadership positions in organizations that serve the associations and hospitality industries. She was the first woman to serve in a leadership role as chair of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Legal Section Council in 2005-2006.

Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Barbara was a partner at the law firm of Howe & Hutton Ltd., where she practiced for more than 20 years.

Professional and Community Involvement

Immediate Past President, Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys; President (2017-2019); Board Member (2013-2020)

Member, Illinois State Bar Association

Member, Missouri Bar Association

Volunteer, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

Former chair, Chicago Bar Association Trade and Professional Association Committee

Former board and executive committee member, American Brain Tumor Association


Crain’s Chicago Notable Gen X Leaders in Law, 2021

All sessions by Barbara Dunn