This month we highlight the career of David T. Arena, one of the brighter lights in the Illinois legal community, a respected and highly successful litigator, and a partner in the influential and impacting firm of DiMonte & Lizak.
Jesuit educated, David T. Arena received his undergraduate degree from Loyola University Chicago, concentrating in political science and graduated with honors in 1993. While in college, an obvious precursor to his accomplishments as a lawyer, he was involved in the Lakeshore Student Government Association, was a member of Phi Sigma Alpha National Honor Society, a recipient of a Presidential Scholarship, and a Dean’s List student. David received his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, Cum Laude in 1996. While in law school he honed the tenacity he brought as a trial attorney into the practice of law through experiences such as participating in 1995-1996 on the Moot Court Board of Governors; 1995 American Bar Association National Moot Court Competition; American Inns of Court, just to mention a few of the accomplishments while studying law.
Presently, and since 1996, David has been with the law firm of another community leader, Gene DiMonte, who along with his son Riccardo, among others, are DiMonte & Lizak, LLC. This highly respected, multi-tasked law firm is located in Park Ridge, with more than 25 attorneys with a goal to expand. This is a highly respected mid-sized law firm that offers attorneys, especially David Arena, skilled in multiple practice areas.
Of his charismatic partner, Riccardo DiMonte says, “We have worked together for 20 years and he has always been extremely conscientious and diligent concerning every case we’ve brought to court. David has always been careful with the facts and the law. He’s also a friendly and well-liked individual with a great sense of humor.”
An accomplishment to the tenacity and legal skills of the firm of DiMonte & Lizak and David Arena is perfectly exemplified in a 2014 matter involving a longtime business owner in Mount Prospect against the Village and members of its administration. In July of 2014, DiMonte & Lizak’s litigation team, coordinated by Riccardo DiMonte, David Arena, and others, obtained a favorable settlement for their client against the Village of Mount Prospect. In the lawsuit, various Village employees and the Village of Mount Prospect were alleged to have violated the Civil RICO Statute, highly unusual application of this federal statute, which is another example of the foresight of the abilities of this firm and David Arena. The allegation was that this proprietor of a small pizza shop’s civil rights were violated in an effort to force the client to sell his property for less than fair market value. On the eve of trial, the firm recovered for its client the whopping sum of a $6.5 million settlement and resolved the dispute that had been pending for approximately six years. Again, this is just an example of David T. Arena’s tenacity and skill, and that of his law firm’s, to competently handle complex legal matters.
When I asked this month’s subject for his ethnic history, smartly, he went to his Dad for details. Here, in Paul Arena’s own words, is the history of this Arena family, in America.
“Grandpa John Arena was born in Torre Faro, Sicily in June 1908 and Grandma Maria Barca Arena in Villaggio Paradiso near Messina, in February 1914. Grandpa was in the merchant marine for a few years and after that he was in the Italia Navy. After he was discharged he married Grandma and he made a connection with someone that was working in the motion picture industry in Rome. He was offered a position to be a distributor on movie films in Eritrea, at that time part of Ethiopia. The territory covered all the Italian colony and part of Somalia. A year after, I was born in Asmara in 1940 and two years later your uncle Aldo was born there. Since this was an Italian colony, Asmara was like an Italian city and everyone spoke Italian. Aldo and I were baptized and attended services in a beautiful Cathedral and went to Catholic grammar school. Grandpa purchased two movie theaters which he sold to my uncle Stefano in 1950 when we moved back to Italy.
We relocated to Torre Faro for about 6 months and when Grandpa started in movie distributorship in Calabria, Italy. We moved to Villa San Giovanni were your uncle Sal was born. Soon after that, we moved to Cosenza (Calabria) where we resided until he decided that it was in the best interest of his children to move to the United States in December 1955.
Since he could not speak English, Grandpa had no chance to get any positions in the movies industry so he worked in a factory with my uncle Joe until he retired and Grandma worked in a factory as a seamstress. My brothers and I went to high school in Newark NJ and College in the same area; I served six years in a medical Army Reserve Unit during the Vietnam War. I met your mom in high School and we married in Newark.”
Of his protégé and young partner, the Senior Partner of the firm, the highly respected Gene DiMonte says: “David is an aggressive lawyer, but at the same time, an ethical one and a polite and nice person.”