From negotiating employment contracts to representing human trafficking survivors in civil litigation, Nakisha Chaney’s practice focuses on empowering individuals who desire to know, secure, and enforce their legal rights. Nakisha is an employment, civil and human rights litigator. Her clients range from highly-compensated professionals who want to negotiate an employment or separation agreement to vulnerable low-wage earners who seek recourse for labor exploitation and other workplace harms. Nakisha has represented clients in actions involving sex harassment and discrimination; race, age and disability discrimination; retaliation and whistleblowing; prison abuse; contract and noncompete negotiation and litigation; and human trafficking. Nakisha also counsels and represents college students, professors, and employees in disciplinary proceedings.
Nakisha’s cases have been featured in statewide and regional media coverage, including through outlets in Atlanta (GA), South Bend (IN), Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Benton Harbor. In 2016, Nakisha was featured in Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s verdicts and settlements. Nakisha has been a featured speaker on issues of employment litigation, sexual harassment, and human trafficking for groups at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Oberlin College, as well as for numerous organizations in Michigan, Ohio and New York. Nakisha is a member of the National Black Lawyers-Top 100, and she currently serves on the State Bar of Michigan’s District Character and Fitness Committee.
Prior to joining Salvatore Prescott & Porter, Nakisha was a Senior Attorney at NachtLaw P.C., where she practiced employment and civil rights litigation. She previously served as a commercial litigator at Dickinson Wright PLLC and clerked for two years at the Michigan Supreme Court.
Nakisha earned her BA from Oberlin College, Phi Beta Kappa and with high honors. She earned her JD from the University of Michigan Law School where she was a member of the Journal of Gender and Law.
Awards / Recognition
- National Black Lawyers – Top 100
- The American Society of Legal Advocates – Top 100 Labor & Employment lawyers in Michigan (2018)
- Super Lawyers Michigan, Employment Litigation (2018)
- Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” Award, Washtenaw County Bar Association (2018)
- Board Member, Ozone House (past)
- Board Member, Sanctum House (past)
- Board Member, Student Advocacy Center of Michigan (past)
- State Bar of Michigan District Character and Fitness Committee (past)
- Member, Amnesty International (present)
Teaching / Speaking
Nakisha has spoken extensively on issues of employment litigation, sexual harassment, and human trafficking, including the following:
- Speaker, Sexual Harassment Policies and Investigations, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, November 2018
- Guest Lecturer, Sexual Harassment Rights and Remedies, University of Michigan, College of Engineering, October 2018
- Keynote Speaker, Private Enforcement: The Role of Civil Litigation in Combating Human Trafficking, 2018 MHTTF and PAAM Human Trafficking Conference, Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force and Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, October 2018
- Author, “Civil Rights Damages” (chapter in the book Damages and Remedies in Michigan), Institute of Continuing Education, March 2018
- Speaker, Sexual Harassment, University of Michigan Society of Women Engineers, February 2018
- Speaker, Human Trafficking: Civil Litigation, Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, Mason, Michigan, January 2017
- Guest Lecturer, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, University of Michigan College of Engineering, November 2016
- Speaker, From Oberlin Grad to Human Trafficking Litigator, First in the Family Speaker Series, Oberlin College, October 2016
- Speaker, The Role of Lawyers in Combating Human Trafficking, ATLAS, Michigan State University College of Law, October 2016
- Speaker, Human Trafficking Forum, Ypsilanti District Library, Ypsilanti, Michigan, October 2016
- Speaker, What is Human Trafficking?, Farmington Hills Democratic Club, Farmington Hills, MI, July 2016
- Guest Speaker, Civil Litigation and Human Trafficking, 910 am Detroit (radio), May 2016
- Panelist, Human Trafficking, Citizen Education Law Clinic, Ann Arbor, MI, May 2016
- Author, The Private Cause of Action and the Fight Against Human Trafficking, Labor and Employment LawNotes, January 2015
- Presenter, Michigan’s Human Trafficking Laws, Lucas County (Ohio) Human Trafficking Coalition Meeting, Toledo, Ohio, December 2014
- Co-organizer/Moderator, Conference, Human Trafficking and Our Children: Detection, Protection and Prevention, Detroit, MI, February 2014
- Panelist, Human Trafficking, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Washtenaw Region, Ann Arbor, MI, October 2013
- Co-Author, Labor Trafficking, Res Ipsa Loquitur, July 2013
- Panelist, Women of Color – Perspectives on the Profession, State Bar of Michigan, Labor and Employment Section, Detroit, MI, December 2015
- Lecturer, Discovery and Depositions, CORT Basic Lawyering Skills Training, Ann Arbor, MI, December 2014
- Trainer, Sexual Harassment, U.S. Attorney’s Office (Eastern District of Michigan), December 2013
- Faculty, Identifying and Dealing with Bullying in the Workplace, 38th ICLE Labor & Employment Law Institute, March 2013
Paul Egan, Inmate granted early release by Gov. Snyder, is suing prison officials, The Detroit Free Press (Jan. 16, 2019)
Judgment entered against psychiatrist in trafficking matter, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Verdicts and Settlements, Vol. 31, No. 4, November 28, 2016.
John Hogan, Grand Rapids Public Schools Turns Blind Eye to N-Word, lawsuit claims, WZZM 13 (ABC) (Feb. 4, 2016)
John Agar, Black student says school won’t stop racial slurs by white classmate, mLive (Feb. 4, 2016)
M.L. Nestel, Lawsuit: School Won’t Punish Student for Calling Classmate N-Word Over and Over, Daily Beast (Feb. 12, 2016)
Travis Robinson, School Board does not terminate Benton Harbor High Principal, 16 WNDU (NBC) (Oct. 21, 2016)
Robert Snell, Rare harp seized in case involving shrink, sex and pimp, The Detroit News (Oct. 26, 2016)
John Agar, Lawsuit: Inmate at Ionia prison ‘hogtied’ after filing complaint, mLive (Feb. 22, 2014)
Nakisha is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. She is admitted to practice in the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.