Shelley C. Danek’s clients include the most sophisticated clients developing pharmaceutical, biotech, and nanotech products, including start-up firms, international corporations, and universities. Shelley advances and secures the value of her client’s patents and intellectual property portfolios, with a mind toward regulatory and legal frameworks for pharmaceutical products, and the unique business needs of start-ups. Clients rely on her sure know-how of their technologies and her assiduous attention to their businesses, qualities developed from her advanced study and research in chemistry and postdoctoral research in RNA interference.

Shelley was selected for inclusion as an “Emerging Lawyer” in the 2015–2017 editions of Emerging Lawyers Magazine, in which individuals are recognized among the top up-and-coming attorneys in Illinois under 40. She was also recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Illinois. Since 2018, she has been named a "Leading Lawyer" by Leading Lawyer Magazine. In 2023, Shelley was recognized in Crain's Chicago Business on the "Notable Women in STEM" list. 

Representative Experience

  • Successfully prosecuted to issuance patent applications covering recently approved drug products in U.S. and foreign jurisdictions.
  • Counseled clients on European opposition proceedings for a patent covering a commercial pharmaceutical formulation.

Shelley has successfully handled patents and patent portfolios in a wide variety of technologies, including:

  • Pharmaceuticals and methods of use
  • Protein conjugates and methods of synthesizing
  • Combination therapies
  • Novel treatment methods
  • Novel dosing and administration methods
  • Prodrugs and metabolites of pharmaceuticals
  • Pharmaceutical formulations
  • Synthesis of organic molecules and polymers, including solid phase methodologies
  • Lithography and nanomaterials
  • Biodiagnositics
  • Molecular organic frameworks (MOFs) and molecular electronics

Background and Credentials

Shelley's work has spanned patent prosecutions, invalidity and freedom-to-operate opinions, accelerated examination, and portfolio management. Her clients have included small or startup biotech and nanotechnology firms, large pharmaceutical corporations, and universities. She offers exceptional proficiency in helping pharmaceutical clients develop patent strategies in view of FDA regulations and related exclusivity provisions.

She earned her J.D. in 2008 from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Prior to joining Marshall Gerstein, Shelley was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, researching structural analogs of RNA bases for use in RNA interference (RNAi) applications. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. Her doctoral research included pursuing the total synthesis of natural products and evaluating new assay techniques for identification of novel catalysts using combinatorial chemistry.

She also holds a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in international relations, both from American University in Washington, D.C.


  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology (J.D.)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D.)
    • Chemistry
  • American University (B.A.)
    • International Relations
  • American University (B.S.)
    • Chemistry
  • Stanford University
    • post doctoral work

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Publications and Presentations

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