Every law firm's resume speaks of the unwavering commitment of its lawyers to advance the clients' interests in an intelligent, efficient, and economical way. That was the basis upon which Ottosen Britz Kelly Cooper Gilbert & DiNolfo, Ltd. was formed in 1992, and that remains the cornerstone of the firm today. What sets Ottosen Britz apart is the fact that many of its lawyers are distinguished, not only as lawyers, but also in other fields.

Karl R. Ottosen started out of law school with the Illinois State Labor Relations Board as one of its first hearing officers. As such he helped shape policies that govern the Board's operations even today. Robert J. Britz's first job after high school included a tour of duty in Vietnam as the commander of a Marine platoon, while John H. Kelly began his career as a beat cop. G. Robb Cooper, a former teacher and administrator, brings an understanding of educational systems to his role as counsel to the clients he serves.

Two of the firm's attorneys have taught law, including Maureen Anichini Lemon who has served as an adjunct law professor and G. Robb Cooper who served as a graduate professor at Northern Illinois University College of Education for seventeen years. Many of the firm's attorneys are frequently invited to speak to various professional groups, provide training, as well as write for various professional journals and publications.

Shareholders

Karl R. OttosenKarl R. Ottosen has over 28 years of experience representing governmental bodies, private corporations, and individuals in a variety of labor and employment law issues. Mr. Ottosen frequently negotiates contracts with unions representing bargaining units in law enforcement, fire protection, education, public works, and other public services, as well as with private sector manufacturing units.

Mr. Ottosen is regularly selected to speak at seminars and workshops on labor, employment, and local government law issues. His topics include issues in finance, litigation, anti-discrimination compliance, supervisor training, sexual harassment, violence in the workplace, and other general labor and employment concerns.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Municipal
  • Public Safety
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Courts, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • University of Illinois College of Law
    J.D., 1984
  • Western Illinois University
    B.S., Secondary Education, 1981
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
    (Member, Local Government Law and Labor and Employment Law Sections)
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Illinois Council of School Attorneys
  • Illinois Public Employer Labor Relations Association
AWARDS AND HONORS
  • Named an Illinois Super Lawyers by Illinois Super Lawyer Magazine 2006-2012
  • Named a Leading Lawyer by Leading Lawyer Magazine 2006-2015
Robert J. BritzRobert J. Britz engages in the general practice of law with an emphasis in municipal and local government law, as well as real estate, estate planning, probate, and business matters.

Mr. Britz thoroughly enjoys the challenge and diversity of legal practice, an attitude that is the foundation for his meticulous and responsive approach to client service. Mr. Britz highly values accessibility and promptly responds to client phone calls and emails. He keeps current on changes and new developments in his areas of expertise, and his knowledge and effectiveness make him a strong client advocate when negotiating with opposing counsel.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • General
  • Municipal
EDUCATION
  • Northern Illinois University School of Law, J.D., 1978
  • University of Illinois, Chicago, B.A., Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1974
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • United States Supreme Court
AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association (Member, Local Government Law Section Council and Estate Planning and Probate Committee)
  • Kane County Bar Association (Past President, 2006-2007) (Active in Local Government Law, Estate Planning and Probate, and Commercial Real Estate Committees)
  • Illinois Municipal League Attorneys’ Section (Member, Legislation Committee)
  • Illinois Institute for Local Government Law
  • Illinois Township Attorneys Association
  • Elburn Lion’s Club (Member and Past Officer)
  • Elburn Chamber of Commerce (Past President and 2004 Member of the Year)
  • Elburn American Legion Post 630 (Member and Past Commander)
John H. KellyJohn H. Kelly focuses his local government practice on public employment, particularly as it relates to police departments, fire departments, and public safety communications. In addition to serving as general counsel for local governments, he practices in the areas of pension and administrative law. He has appeared before all levels of the state court system and numerous administrative bodies, including the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

An emphasis of Mr. Kelly’s practice is the representation of 9-1-1 centers throughout Illinois on all aspects of their operations, including state regulations, corporate organization, personnel policies and practices, and liability issues. He is defense counsel for a major insurer of 9-1-1 agencies, and is the attorney for the National Emergency Number Association, the Illinois Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association, and the Illinois Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Municipal
  • Public Pension
  • Public Safety
EDUCATION
  • John Marshall Law School
    J.D., 1981
  • Northwestern University
    B.A., Political Science, 1973
    Member, Hockey Team
  • University of Illinois
    Police Training Institute, 1973 (Ervin H. Warren Award for Excellence)
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Courts, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association (Member, Administrative Law Section)
  • Chicago Bar Association (Past Member, Administrative Law Committee)
  • Member, NENA Educational Advisory Board
  • Member, National Emergency Number Association
  • Member, Association of Public Safety Communications Officials
  • Emergency Number Professional, National Emergency Number Association
Thomas J. GilbertFor over 35 years, Thomas J. Gilbert has focused his practice in the area of municipal law with the representation of numerous fire protection districts, the Forest Preserve District of Will County, municipalities, pension boards, and fire commissions. Mr. Gilbert has handled numerous real estate transactions, both residential and commercial. Since joining the firm in 2002, Mr. Gilbert has devoted a considerable portion of time to public sector labor and employment law.

Mr. Gilbert frequently lectures on issues pertaining to fire service law and taught fire science law at Joliet Junior College. He has provided articles for publications of the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts and the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • General
  • Labor & Employment
  • Municipal
  • Public Pension
  • Public Safety
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Member, Trial Bar)
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois (Member, Panel of Trustees)
EDUCATION
  • Loyola University of Chicago School of Law
    J.D., 1974
  • University of Michigan
    B.A., LS&A (Public Address), 1971
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Florida Bar Association
  • Will County Bar Association (Past President, 1994-1995)
Stephen H. DiNolfoStephen H. DiNolfo focuses his practice on general litigation, as well as labor and employment law. A significant part of his practice is dedicated to defending local governments and EMS providers in employment and malpractice claims.

In addition to counseling clients regarding employee related issues, Mr. DiNolfo has conducted numerous investigations for fire protection districts, school districts, and 9-1-1 centers on alleged employee misconduct including sexual harassment, criminal allegations, and disciplinary matters.

Mr. DiNolfo is experienced in all facets of litigation before state and federal courts, as well as administrative tribunals. Mr. DiNolfo has defended clients against claims of wrongful death, improper intubation, failure to defibrillate, and violation of federal civil rights stemming from alleged professional misconduct. He has defended 9-1-1 centers against claims of improper or inadequate emergency dispatching, and represented individual paramedics before administrative review boards. In addition, Mr. DiNolfo is regularly retained by a national insurance company to represent their clients in auto liability, premises liability, and subrogation matters.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Litigation & Insurance Defense
  • Public Safety
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Courts, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • University of Toledo College of Law
    J.D., 1991
    Research Editor, Law Review
  • LeMoyne College
    B.S., Business Administration, 1988
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • National Defense Research Institute
Craig D. HasenbalgMr. Hasenbalg has spent his career of more than 20 years immersed in one area of law: Business Law. Not long after receiving his J.D. degree from the University of California at Berkley, he received an advanced degree in federal taxation and has emphasized the tax aspects of business transactions ever since. His practice includes all aspects of federal and state tax law, estate planning, and the strategic arrangements that necessarily form a part of every business owner’s daily life. His goal is to maximize the profitability of every business he represents, and to manage the transfer of wealth between generations to both minimize taxes, and avoid disputes where possible.

Mr. Hasenbalg comes to Ottosen Britz after successfully growing his own law firm, and therefore can share on a very practical level his clients’ concerns about running a business. On a daily basis, Mr. Hasenbalg reviews and negotiates contracts, leases, business plans, loan documentation, and discusses estate planning and estate tax issues with wealthy individuals. Mr. Hasenbalg is currently the only member of the firm admitted to the United States Tax Court, and in addition to tax cases, Mr. Hasenbalg regularly represents clients involved in business controversies, fiduciary disputes, Will contests and similar types of litigation. Mr. Hasenbalg also has formed and currently represents numerous charities in and around the northern Illinois area. He also has acted as an expert witness providing expert testimony in various cases in Illinois.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Corporate & Business Law
  • General
  • Taxes
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Tax Court
EDUCATION
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
    Chicago – Kent College of Law
    Master of Laws Degree in Taxation, 1998
  • University of California at Berkley
    the Boalt Hall School of Law
    J.D., 1993
  • University of California, San Diego
    B.A., magna cum laude, 1990
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association
More information coming soon.

Partners

W. Anthony AndrewsW. Anthony Andrews is an experienced litigator who has spent his entire career defending governmental and private entities in state and federal court. His practice includes litigating matters brought under premises liability, medical malpractice, employment law, and civil rights violations. Mr. Andrews has successfully tried cases in several counties, many to a defense verdict. He has prevailed in numerous summary judgment motions, and successfully defended them on appeal in published opinions in state and federal court.

Mr. Andrews defended the largest school district in Illinois at trial in a construction liability case, as well as a large local school district at mediation in a bus v. pedestrian accident. He has also defended multiple municipalities in premises liability cases arising from accidents on sidewalks or bike paths; a sheriff in federal court by obtaining summary judgment in a racial discrimination case; police officers in federal civil rights cases arising out of excessive force claims and a fire district in a retaliation case. His defense experience also extends to commercial developers in construction liability actions; commercial carriers, bus companies, and firefighters in catastrophic automobile accidents; and large retailers in premises liability actions.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Litigation & Insurance Defense
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Supreme Court
EDUCATION
  • DePaul University College of Law
    J.D., 1993
    Editor, DePaul Business Law Journal, Article and Notes Section
    Recipient, American Jurisprudence Award in Insurance Law
  • Lewis University
    B.S., Business and Psychology, 1990
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • American Bar Association
  • Will County Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Chicago Litigation Attorneys
  • DePaul University College of Law Alumni
  • Lewis University National Alumni Association
Carolyn Welch CliffordCarolyn Welch Clifford has devoted her legal career to the representation of local governments in Illinois with a special emphasis on legal issues involving the fire service. In her practice, Ms. Clifford primarily represents public pension funds, fire and police commissions, and fire protection districts. She also advises villages and cities in areas such as policy development, liability issues, and employment matters.

In her practice Ms. Clifford is actively involved in legal issues regarding the management of public pension funds. Ms. Clifford has extensive experience in handling firefighter and police disability pension matters from the initial hearing stage to appellate review. In her role as counsel for fire and police commissions, she advises clients on hiring, promotion, discipline, and discharge matters unique to the fire and police service. Her experience with employment matters from the initial hiring stage through disability and retirement provides her a unique perspective in advising clients. Ms. Clifford has handled several appellate cases and argued before the Illinois Appellate Court. Her appellate cases have included several issues of first impression, including an interpretation of duty-related issues involving a firefighter seeking a mental disability pension, the causation required for occupational disease pensions, and an analysis of a pension board’s right to deliberate in closed session.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Public Pension
  • Public Safety
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1989
    Teaching Assistant, Business and Technical Writing (Outstanding Teaching Award)
  • University of Illinois
    B.S., News – Editorial Journalism, 1986
    Editor-in-Chief, The Illio
    Mortar Board
    Senior 100
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Lecturer, Northwestern University, School of Continuing Studies
  • National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (Leadership Committee for the Public Safety Affinity Group)
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association (Past Co-Chair, School Law Committee, Young Lawyers Section)
G. Robb Cooper focuses his practice on education law relating to school districts and other educational entities. He represents clients in the areas of employee discipline and dismissal, labor relations and collective bargaining, and student matters. Mr. Cooper also deals with construction related contracts and disputes, and general administrative issues.

Mr. Cooper has served as a teacher and administrator. He has a practical understanding of the operation of public and private educational systems and the concerns they face. He is highly responsive to client concerns and develops creative solutions to their legal issues.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • General
  • Labor & Employment
  • School Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Loyola University, J.D., Ph.D.
  • Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland, M.S.C.
  • Oregon State University, B.S.
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Illinois Council of School Attorneys
Shawn P. FlahertyWith a diverse local government practice, Shawn P. Flaherty assists clients with legal matters involving public safety issues, labor and employment, collective bargaining, public pension, public finance, municipal litigation, election law and board governance matters.

Mr. Flaherty advises and represents clients in the screening, hiring, promotion, and discipline of personnel. He has conducted dozens of public pension disability hearings. He negotiates labor contracts, participates in labor grievance arbitrations and he is regularly involved in election matters, referenda preparation, and budget and levy matters. Mr. Flaherty’s municipal litigation practice experience includes annexation and boundary disputes, municipal consolidation, tax increment financing issues, and administrative review of pension and commission decisions. He routinely attends public board meetings as corporate or special counsel. Mr. Flaherty has represented clients in more than two dozen appeals.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Municipal
  • Public Pension
  • Public Safety
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law
    J.D., cum laude, 1996
    Editor-in-Chief, Volume 16, Northern Illinois University Law Review
  • Illinois State University
    B.S., Political Science, summa cum laude, 1993
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association (Past Member, Committee on Judicial Evaluations) (Past Member, Local Government Law Section Council)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • DuPage County Bar Association (Past Chair – Local Government Committee)
  • Kane County Bar Association
  • Lecturer, Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts
  • Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (Associate Member)
AWARDS AND HONORS
  • Named a Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine, (2008-2010)
Maureen Anichini LemonMaureen A. Lemon represents school districts and other educational entities in all aspects of school law including school board governance and policy development, special education law, boundary changes, Freedom of Information Act requests, Open Meetings Act obligations, student discipline, school board elections, and constitutional issues. She works closely with school boards and administrators on matters relating to the rights and responsibilities of school boards, students, and employees.

In the field of employment law, Ms. Lemon advises and represents clients in discipline, discharge, employment-at-will, disability matters and discrimination cases. Her labor experience includes negotiating collective bargaining agreements, handling grievance and interest arbitrations, and coordinating strike management.

Ms. Lemon defends clients on claims before the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Education OCR, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She has defended school districts in federal and state courts including the Illinois Appellate Courts and the Illinois Supreme Court.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • School Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Central Districts of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • University of Illinois
    College of Law
    J.D., magna cum laude, 1990
    Order of the Coif
  • University of Illinois
    Master of Education (Ed.M.), Educational Administration, 1990
    B.S., Finance, 1986
    B.S., Economics 1986
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association (Past Co-Chair, School Law Committee)
  • Illinois Council of School Attorneys
Joseph Miller IIIJoseph Miller III practices in the areas of municipal and education law. In addition to serving as general counsel for local governments, he practices in the areas of civil rights litigation and municipal finance. He has appeared before all levels of the state court system and numerous administrative bodies, including the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Mr. Miller advises and represents clients in the screening, hiring, promotion, and discipline of personnel. He has conducted investigations in matters concerning sexual harassment and civil rights discrimination, and defended clients when these issues result in litigation. His practice also includes public finance and taxation matters, election issues, student rights, and student disciplinary matters. With the advent of medical record privacy concerns, he advises clients regarding state and federal laws affecting the disclosure of these records. He represents clients before courts and administrative agencies, and attends public meetings as corporate counsel.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Litigation & Insurance Defense
  • Municipal
  • Public Safety
  • School Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
EDUCATION
  • Washington University School of Law, St. Louis
    J.D., 1994
  • University of Illinois
    B.A., Speech Communication & English 1991
    President, Black Student Union
    Men’s Tennis Team, Member, 1989-1991
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Illinois Council of School Attorneys
Joshua B. RosenzweigJoshua B. Rosenzweig concentrates his practice in commercial litigation, business disputes, estate and trust litigation, real-estate transactions and disputes and landlord-tenant disputes.

Mr. Rosenzweig has extensive experience in state courts representing businesses, officers, individuals, executors and trustees. He has successfully defended businesses against claims for breach of contract and fraud and defended trustees against claims for breach of fiduciary duties. He has also successfully represented plaintiffs in cases involving claims for breach of contract, negligence and landlord/tenant disputes.

Mr. Rosenzweig has represented clients in all phases of litigation from pre-suit investigation to trial to post-judgment collection. Mr. Rosenzweig focuses on providing his clients with practical legal advice to ensure clients’ ultimate goals are achieved.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Corporate & Business Law
  • Litigation
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • The John Marshall Law School
    J.D., 2006
  • University of Michigan
    B.A., Sports Management and Communications, 2002
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association (General Counsel)
  • DuPage County Bar Association
William R. ThomasWilliam R. Thomas practices in the general areas of law including real estate, criminal and juvenile matters, eminent domain, wills and estates, local government law, and civil litigation.

In his general practice, Mr. Thomas provides solid legal advice addressing the concerns of his clients. Mr. Thomas represents clients in both residential and commercial real estate transactions throughout northern Illinois. In his past and present eminent domain practice, Mr. Thomas has represented the City of Chicago for the expansion of O’Hare International Airport and represents the State of Illinois, Department of Transportation for the expansion of public highways. Mr. Thomas is also an appointed Special Assistant Attorney General on condemnation matters for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • General
  • Litigation & Insurance Defense
  • Municipal
  • Public Safety
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Valparaiso University School of Law
    J.D., 1991
  • Augustana College
    B.A., Political Science, 1987
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association

Associates

John E. MotylinskiJohn E. Motylinski represents local government entities, with a focus on fire protection districts, public pension funds, municipalities, townships, and school districts. He provides services in matters involving labor and employment, personnel issues, public pensions, local government liability issues, student issues, landlord/tenant disputes, and litigation.

Mr. Motylinski advises and represents clients in all aspects of local government law. He assists employers and fire and police commissions in the hiring, promotion, and discipline of personnel. He also represents employers in the collective bargaining process, as well as other labor relations matters. Mr. Motylinski regularly represents clients before courts and administrative agencies, and routinely attends public board meetings as corporate counsel.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Municipal
  • Public Pension
  • School Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • University of Illinois College of Law
    J.D., summa cum laude, 2015
    Articles Editor, University of Law Review
    Recipient, Kerker Law Award & Townsend Scholarship 2014-15
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    B.A. Political Science, 2010
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Will County Bar Association
Brian J. O'ConnorBrian O’Connor’s practice includes local government including police and firefighter pensions, probate and estate planning, residential and commercial real estate, and general business law.

In his governmental practice, Mr. O’Connor advises and counsels clients in various aspects of law including board governance and policies, Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Act matters, annexation and boundary issues, ordinance enforcement, collective bargaining, and employee hiring, promotion, and discipline. In his general practice, he counsels private clients on estate planning and regularly represents individual and governmental clients in both residential and commercial real estate transactions including facility construction matters. His business law practice involves establishing and maintaining corporate, limited liability, and not-for-profit organizations and partnerships, and providing advice on organizational and employment matters.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • General
  • Labor & Employment
  • Municipal
  • Public Pension
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law
    J.D., 2004
    Award recipient, Outstanding Contribution to the College of Law Community
  • United States Army
    Command and General Staff Officers Course, 1987
  • University of Southern California
    M.S., Systems Management, 1984
  • Loyola University of Chicago
    B.S., Biology, 1975
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association
  • American Legion
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Military Officers Association of America
AWARDS AND HONORS
  • Kane County Bar Association Outstanding New Lawyer, 2008
  • Elburn Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year, 2009
Vladimir Shuliga, Jr.Vladimir Shuliga, Jr. concentrates his practice in the areas of litigation, municipal, public safety, pension, and school law. He assists clients with legal matters involving grievance and interest arbitration, collective bargaining, employment issues (including discipline and dismissal), public pensions, and litigation.

Mr. Shuliga represents clients in various aspects of labor and employment law including negotiating collective bargaining agreements and participating in both grievance and interest arbitration. He regularly represents clients in state and federal courts and routinely attends public board meetings as corporate counsel. Additionally, Mr. Shuliga has represented clients in a variety of administrative proceedings, including defending charges brought before the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Labor Relations Board, and the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Litigation
  • Municipal
  • School Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
    J.D., cum laude, 2013
    Labor and Employment Certificate
    Executive Articles Editor, Law Review
  • DePaul University
    B.A. Political Science, magna cum laude, 2010
Ericka J. ThomasEricka J. Thomas concentrates her practice in all areas of municipal litigation, including insurance defense, village prosecution, and civil rights defense. She also practices in the areas of public pension, administrative, and appellate law. She has extensive jury trial experience and has appeared before various levels of the state and federal court systems, including the Illinois Supreme Court.

With many years of experience as an Assistant State’s Attorney, Ms. Thomas advocates a straightforward approach to municipal litigation. Her litigation skills and strategies have enabled her to develop highly successful appellate and administrative writing techniques. Ms. Thomas offers her clients practical and effective problem-solving skills and a superior detail-oriented work product.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Litigation & Insurance Defense
  • Public Pension
  • Public Safety
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Courts, Northern and Central Districts of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Valparaiso University School of Law
    J.D., 1992
  • Indiana University
    B.S., Business, 1989
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
Meganne TrelaMeganne Trela concentrates her practice in the areas of litigation, municipal, and school law. She assists clients with legal matters involving collective bargaining, contracts, employment issues, special education issues, and public pensions.

Ms. Trela represents clients in all aspects of local government law including collective bargaining, employee discipline and dismissal, and grievance arbitration. She regularly represents clients in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. Additionally, Ms. Trela provides counsel to local government clients on a variety of subjects including board policy and the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Litigation
  • Municipal
  • School Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
    J.D., 2012
    Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate
    Moot Court Honor Society, Vice President
  • University of Arkansas
    B.A., Broadcast Journalism with Honors, 2005
James G. WargoJames G. Wargo concentrates his practice to the areas of municipal law and general litigation. He has a broad range of experience representing local governmental bodies in Illinois on both transactional and litigation matters. In particular, he has experience working with police departments, fire departments and fire protection districts on numerous issues, including employment matters, disability claims, and tort defense.

Mr. Wargo regularly handles civil litigation in both state and federal courts, including employment, tort, contract, construction, real estate, eminent domain, and administrative review litigation. He also provides counsel to local governmental entities on a variety of subjects, including board practices and procedures, public construction projects, ordinance drafting, code enforcement, conflicts of interest, and the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Litigation
  • Municipal
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • Federal Trial Bar
EDUCATION
  • DePaul University College of Law
    J.D., 2000
    DePaul Business Law Journal – Managing Editor of Notes & Comments
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    B.A., Economics 1992
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
Laura A. WeizeorickLaura Weizeorick concentrates her practice in the areas of school and municipal law, litigation and public pensions. She regularly defends clients on alleged claims of negligence, employee misconduct and civil rights violations in state and federal courts, and before administrative tribunals including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Labor Relations Board, and the State of Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. In addition, she handles firefighter and police disability pension matters from the initial hearing stage to appellate review.

As part of the firm’s school law group, her practice focuses on a variety of student and employment issues including special education matters, gender identity issues, suspensions, expulsions, record retention, employee discipline, investigatory interviews, separation agreements and terminations. She has considerable experience with charter school issues and successfully denied the recent multi-district virtual charter school application for four districts in the western suburbs. She regularly develops proactive policies, resolutions and waivers and frequently presents testimony in front of the State Board of Education and the General Assembly.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Labor & Employment
  • Litigation
  • Municipal
  • Public Pensions
  • School Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
EDUCATION
  • Northwestern University School of Law
    J.D., cum laude, 2008
    Wigmore Scholar
    Criminology Editor, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
  • University of Illinois
    B.S., Economics, High Honors, 1986
    General Assembly Scholarship
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Illinois Council of School Attorney

Of Counsel

Herbert C. Steinmetz, Jr.Herbert C. Steinmetz engages in the general practice of law with an emphasis on Commercial and Residential real estate, estate planning, probate and business matters.

Mr. Steinmetz believes in a responsive approach to client service, maintaining the accessibility and promptly responding to all client phone calls and other communications. He keeps current on changes on new developments in the area of his expertise to effectively represent his client’s interest.

Mr. Steinmetz has lectured on basic estate planning as well as a past speaker for Kane County Bar Real Estate seminars. He has also taught real estate law at Waubonsee Community College.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Corporate & Business Law
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • Florida (now retired)
EDUCATION
  • University of Illinois College of Law
    J.D., 1967
  • St. Joseph’s College
    B.A., English, 1964
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association
  • Director and Former Chairman of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.
Michael B. WeinsteinMichael B. Weinstein has over 40 years of municipal law, public pension law and appellate law experience representing local governments and public pension funds. While primarily representing public pension funds, Mr. Weinstein also assists local governments with legal matters involving administrative law, municipal litigation (including appeals), the Illinois Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts, labor and employment, collective bargaining, and board governance matters.

As the former General Counsel for the State Universities Retirement Fund of Illinois (SURS), Mr. Weinstein was involved in all aspects of pension fund management, from contract reviews to administrative hearings and administrative review litigation. Mr. Weinstein also served as the state agency Ethics Officer for SURS, as well as its Freedom of Information Act officer. While Associate General Counsel for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), he successfully briefed and argued a major administrative review case before the Illinois Supreme Court (Ultsch v. IMRF). He has briefed and argued cases in all five Illinois Appellate Court districts, as well as before the Illinois Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Municipal
  • Public Pension
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Member, Trial Bar)
EDUCATION
  • University of Illinois College of Law
    J.D., 1973
  • University of Illinois at Chicago Circle
    B.A., Honors in Political Science, 1970
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
  • Illinois State Bar (Member, Administrative Law Section Council)
  • (Past Member, Local Government Law Section Council)
  • American Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Appellate Lawyers Association
  • National Association of Public Pension Attorneys

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