Brien was born in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He learned the valuable lesson of hard work watching his father work his way up in the restaurant industry by making sure that customers were treated fairly, honestly and had the best possible experience. Brien also spent time with his grandfather, who worked for Fansteel in Waukegan for three decades and was a steward in the machinists’ union. It was during those discussions that Brien learned the plights of working people and how important it was to challenge employers, if necessary, to fully compensate workers for their injuries and time away from the job. Brien would take these childhood lessons into the working world, often realizing that doing the right thing isn’t always easy.
Brien earned his undergraduate degree in History and Political Science at St. Norbert College in DePere, WI. While attending St. Norbert, he took part in the Washington Semester Program and spent with law makers made an impact and Brien began to consider a career in the legal field. After completing his undergrad, Brien enrolled at John Marshall Law School.
While attending John Marshall, Brien clerked for a workers’ compensation firm. And it was there he saw firsthand, the struggles injured workers go through while trying to get their cases resolved. Remembering his grandfather, he decided to dedicate his career toward advocating for the interests of injured workers and has practiced workers’ comp ever since. At Ankin Law, Brien is a familiar face at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Brien is a lifelong Chicago Blackhawks and Bulls fan and enjoys watching both teams whenever possible.