Attorney Joseph M. Gagliardo

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Joseph M. Gagliardo
Joseph M. Gagliardo
Over the last 25 years or so, we have read in the pages of Chicagoland ethnic and legal publications about Joseph M. Gagliardo, past president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. We learned about Joe when he was president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, who distinguished himself in that position. We appreciate him for being a founder and charter board member of the political voice of our community, our Italian American Political Coalition.

The January 2011 edition of Super Lawyers, a highly respected legal publication, listed Joe as one of the “Top Attorneys in Illinois” and because the article was so flattering and well written, about one of the true leaders and most highly esteemed and truly beloved members of our ethnic community, a few quotes from the article are in order:

“You won’t find much about Joe Gagliardo or his cases online. My whole approach is to be discreet,” says the Chicago labor and employment litigator. He has had more than his share of high-profile clients, including Illinois governors, Chicago mayors, Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios and Donald Trump. “If we’re in the press, we’re not doing our job right. I think it’s an attraction for clients that I’m more interested in their concerns than mine.”

It helps, too, that the managing partner of one of the most respected labor firms, Laner, Muchin, Dombrow, Becker, Levin and Tominberg is committed to responding to every client request within two hours. He’s made it a mantra of the firm.

Trump, hardly known for his patience, but well known for his capacity to fire people, continues to consult with Gagliardo, who represents both government and private-sector employers. Facing a work stoppage in the early stages of construction at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago because of a labor dispute, Trump was referred to Gagliardo. “Joe fits our mode of operation,” says Andy Weiss, executive vice president of design and construction with the Trump Organization. “We both say, ‘Let’s get to the point quickly and figure out a way to make it happen.’ That keeps legal bills reasonable, too,” Weiss adds with a laugh, “which Mr. Trump appreciates.”

Gagliardo has also represented four governors. In 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn’s office sent over a case involving 1,200 employees that required Gagliardo to coordinate the actions of 15 of the firm’s lawyers. “We send a lot of ‘hot-potato’ cases to Joe,” said Greg Newton, Quinn’s former acting deputy general counsel for labor relations, at the time. “Grievances, lawsuits, the time-consuming, difficult cases — and we don’t want them tried in the press. Whenever we contact him, very shortly we are talking to someone [at the firm] who knows the issue and is on the way to a solution.”

“Joe is persuasive because he’s reasonable,” says retired U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen. “He won’t wave his arms and yell that he’s right from A to Z. He doesn’t take hard positions but tries to bring out differences quietly. When Joe raises his voice, you notice, because it happens so rarely.”

Joe began his professional career as an attorney with the city of Chicago Corporation Counsel.

Of course, anyone who first meets Joe immediately takes to him, because of his natural warmth and charismas and his dynamic personality.

A Chicago native who grew up near Wrigley Field, Gagliardo now lives in the Northwest suburbs with his wife Jennifer and three terrific boys, Joseph Jr., Michael and John. His father and mother ran a small neighborhood Italian grocery store on Southport Avenue in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.

Gagliardo received a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in 1974, then moved on to the John Marshall Law School, graduating in the top five percent of the class of 1977. A few years ago, the school honored him with its prestigious Distinguished Service Award. He has, for years, and continuing, served on its prestigious Board of Trustees.

Joe Gagliardo is not only one of the most respected labor lawyers in Illinois but a contributor and leader of our Italian-American community as his presidencies of the JCCIA and Justinian Society would indicate along with his being a founding member and career director of the Italian-American Political Coalition.

His career agenda has always been to be a respected and successful lawyer. He certainly is that, as the Super Lawyers publication would indicate. Joseph M. Gagliardo has always strived with others to improve the condition of Italian-Americans in the Chicagoland community. At that he is tireless. I take great pride in counting him my revered and respected colleague and dear friend.

Another example of the best our community has to offer.

About Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.

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