Professions Profiles

The Cairo family of lawyers

  The view out of the Kemper Building at 1 E. Wacker Drive is magnificent, sprawling out to an eagle’s view of the Chicago River and the Loop. But when Deanna Cairo Arthur, now an associate at Goldberg Weisman & Cairo Ltd., would visit her father’s office as a child, it wasn’t the window that drew her attention. It was a desk chair. “I just remember being little and being in my dad’s office, sitting in his chair and always hoping someday it would be my chair,” she says. Her father is Louis C. “Lou” Cairo, senior partner at Illinois’ …

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Acclaimed architect John Vinci

This month we highlight the distinguished career of architect John Vinci. Subjects for this column come to the attention of the author in various ways. An article in the Chicago Tribune about the controversial three sets of copper-clad wood exterior doors at the cost of nearly $670,000 in our state capitol brought this month’s subject to our attention — John Vinci. The article read as follows: “Revenge is sweet, but winning design awards isn’t bad either. Just ask the architects of the much-maligned restoration of the Illinois Capitol’s west wing. “A year ago, citing the state’s pension funding crisis, Gov. …

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Discipio & Associates

    Dr. James Discipio graduated from Loyola Dental School in 1984 and received a graduate degree in oral biology in 1985. But his “career” in dentistry began long before the 1980s. The son of a dentist, he grew up in the practice his father, Dr. Joseph Discipio, opened in 1954, right down the block from where the two men practice together now. J.V. Discipio & Associates Ltd reopened at the current location, 6737 Stanley Ave. in Berwyn, in 1956, and they have been there ever since. “What I find most rewarding about my profession is the ability to help …

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Family law trailblazer Gemma Allen

This month we highlight the career of a female trailblazer of the family law practice in the state of Illinois and throughout the country – Gemma B. Allen. Gemma B. Allen is a partner in Ladden & Allen, Chartered, a family law firm she established in 1999 to offer professional, caring and accessible representation in the areas of marriage, divorce, mediation, financial settlements, and custody matters. Prior to starting this firm, she was a partner in the notable Chicago law firms McDermott, Will & Emery, and Pretzel & Stouffer, where she was co-head of the divorce division. Not only is …

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Bernard A. Affetto & Co.

If Italian family traditions begin at home, then so, too, should Italian family business ventures. While Lewis Affetto was only 16, he helped his father, Bernard, with tax work he did out of their residence in Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood. “I’d do bookkeeping for family businesses and some simple tax returns,” recalls Lewis Affetto, who’s of Sicilian lineage. “It just came naturally to me. Then I took some accounting classes in high school and did very well, so I decided it was the right way to go.” Boy, was it ever. Today Lewis and his sister Maria Gambino run Bernard A. …

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Mortgage pioneer Victor Ciardelli

The name Ciardelli is very well known in our ethnic community, and certainly in the legal community. Victor Ciardelli, now an elder and highly respected lawyer and statesman, has been a leading litigator for decades. This month we highlight the career and successes of his son, Victor. It seems lately that we are highlighting the careers of the children of our leading lights. I guess that old adage has merit: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Victor Ciardelli, CEO and founder of Guaranteed Rate, is an innovative entrepreneur who is revolutionizing the mortgage industry. After graduating from Columbia …

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Non-profit CEO Emilia DiMenco

This month, we highlight the distinguished career of a rising star in the Chicagoland community, and a proud and contributing member of the Italian-American community, Emilia DiMenco. Although Emilia DiMenco has never owned a business, she has spent her entire professional career helping them grow. One of her most satisfying achievements was to lead BMO Harris N.A., as an executive vice president. There, she developed initiatives to support and empower women-owned businesses. In 2010, she became chief operating officer at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) and was recently promoted to president and CEO of the 28-year-old organization, selected by …

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Di Giacomo & Somers L.L.C

While divorce usually involves enlisting a lawyer, it need not descend into the kind of backbiting and mayhem often seen in Hollywood films (or Hollywood marriages for that matter). In fact, a few lawyers specialize in Collaborative law — a powerful, voluntary alternative to traditional divorce litigation where the parties and their attorneys work together as a team to achieve a fair outcome for all. “Although my firm does a significant amount of litigation, we are more oriented toward Collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution,” says Carol Di Giacomo of Di Giacomo & Somers L.L.C, a Northfield-based law firm that …

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Attorney/CPA Anthony B. Ferraro

As Baby Boomers move into their senior years, and families prepare for the road ahead, there’s too often a tragic disconnect between the planning they do and the planning they need. As an attorney who specializes in elder law, and a CPA with a master’s degree in taxation, Anthony B. Ferraro of Rosemont says that the best of intentions don’t necessarily add up to the most sound of strategies. “We deal not only with what happens when you pass away, but what happens when you don’t,” says Ferraro, who has spent nearly four decades helping his clients prepare for all …

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Fichera & Miller, P.C

Great law firms go to great lengths for their clients. They fight hard in court to get settlements that plaintiffs deserve and expect. Without question, Fichera & Miller, P.C. has delivered that stellar performance ever since Dominic R. Fichera and Howard S. Miller joined forces in 1993. The former DePaul University College of Law classmates have a refreshing take on client advocacy. “Some attorneys think that the case is their case and not the client’s case. As a result, decisions are made that reflect what’s good for the firm — and not what’s good for the client,” says Fichera, who …

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