John’s law practice is devoted to providing representation in complex business disputes, including contractual, fiduciary, and attorney professional responsibility matters. He has extensive first-chair trial and appellate experience before State and Federal courts as well as commercial arbitrations. His matters have ranged from multi-million dollar commercial litigation, including opposing multistate class and shareholder litigation and the defense of direct and derivative claims against corporate and ERISA fiduciaries, to disputes between litigation funders and their counterparties, to the representation of individuals in trust disputes. He also frequently collaborates with other firms as local counsel in matters requiring a detailed understanding of the courts located in Chicago and its suburbs. For every client, in every matter, John takes pride in using his experience to find solutions that are both creative and cost-effective, working with (and listening to) his clients to identify the battles that need to be fought and fight them from the best positions possible.
John’s practice also extends to attorney professional responsibility matters. He represents and advises both attorneys and clients in connection with professional responsibility matters and fee disputes, and provides counsel to both lawyers and law firms in connection with partnership conflicts. He is a past chair of both the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s Ethics and Professionalism Committee and the Chicago Bar Association’s Professional Fees Committees. He has also served as an active member of the Chicago Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Committee and was a member of the ABA Ethics 20/20’s Working Group on Alternative Litigation Finance. He has spoken and published extensively on issues relating to legal ethics and attorney professional responsibilities, including presentations on attorney obligations relating to fees, attorney’s liens, advertising, and financing.
Prior to entering private practice, John clerked for the Honorable Suzanne B. Conlon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
- Obtained declaratory relief on summary judgment, as well as compensatory and punitive damages after trial, in claims brought against the trustee of a family trust who improperly distributed funds to himself and his siblings while ignoring the interests of John’s client. See Gearhart v. Gearhart, 2020 IL App (1st) 190042.
- Obtained defense verdict in jury trial, affirmed on appeal, in claim against home seller and broker alleged to have committed fraud and violated the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act by failing to disclose material defects purportedly discovered by the purchasers.
- Successfully defended direct and derivative claims brought against members of a condominium board of managers in actions brought by a unit owner, with dismissal affirmed on appeal. See Geraci v. Cramer, 2017 IL App (1st) 151555-U; Geraci v. Union Square Condominium Association, 2017 IL App (1st) 162856-U.
- Secured dismissal of tortious interference with testamentary expectancy and breach of fiduciary duty claims brought against trustee of testamentary trust. See Clark v. Heckes, 2016 IL App (1st) 162210-U.
- Won summary judgment for radiology practice whose exclusive reading contract was breached by medical provider following an asset sale.
- Obtained dismissal of claims brought against lawyer by member of client LLC who asserted lawyer had colluded in removal of member’s management authority.
- Successfully defended at trial a claim brought against client by former law firm seeking fees incurred in defiance of client’s instructions.
- Counseled lawyers in firm separation agreements, ensuring compliance with professional duties owed clients and addressing contractual/fiduciary duties owed firm.
Publications, Recognitions and Speaking Engagements
Selected by peers as a Leading Lawyer in: Commercial Litigation (2009-2017)
- Chair, Chicago Bar Association Professional Fees Committee (2015-2016)
- Co-Chair, American Bar Association Section of Litigation Ethics and Professionalism Committee (2010-2013)
- Member, ABA Ethics 20/20 Working Group on Alternative Litigation Finance