John M. Fitzgerald is a trial lawyer and appellate practitioner who focuses his practice in business and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on business partnership and contract disputes; appeals; constitutional and governmental litigation; and employment disputes, including restrictive covenant enforcement litigation, severance negotiations and employment discrimination litigation. John represents clients in a variety of industries, including construction, health care, public accounting and manufacturing. He also frequently represents other attorneys in disputes with their partners and law firms.
John has achieved recognition as an outstanding lawyer. He currently serves as the 53rd President of the Appellate Lawyers Association, an association of lawyers who practice in courts of review and judges who serve on those courts. John previously had served as the Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of the ALA.
In 2019 and again in 2020, John was selected as a Super Lawyer by SuperLawyers magazine, a recognition reserved for attorneys “who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.” In 2015, John was selected as one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forth to Watch” by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company from a field of over 1,200 nominees.
John has authored dozens of articles on current legal topics. He is the author of A Guide to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which was published in 2020 by the Illinois State Bar Association. It is the first published book to examine the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and cases interpreting it.
In the words of one client, “John Fitzgerald puts the word ‘counsel’ in counseling. . . . His advice--unlike others--is very practical and sound. He has a way about navigating you through difficult transitions that makes you forget he is your attorney and makes you believe he is your friend and advocate and the only guy who has your six. He is truly inspiring and an advocate for you. Going through something difficult? Need to focus on what is important? Call John. He will take your problems and make them his so you can focus on your brightest future. A great attorney and a great guy - a very rare combination.”
Business and Commercial Litigation
John represents businesses and individuals in litigation arising out of contract disputes, business partnership disputes, shareholder oppression claims, professional malpractice claims, real estate disputes, claims of statutory and common law fraud, and trade secret and unfair competition disputes. John represents clients at every stage of litigation, from the initial pleading through trial and appeal, and in arbitration, mediation and negotiations.
John is an experienced appellate practitioner and currently serves as the 53rd President of the Appellate Lawyers Association. A protégé of retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice and TDR founding partner Gino L. DiVito, John has achieved outstanding results for his clients on appeal.
Representative appellate victories include:
For several years, John co-authored Chicago Lawyer magazine’s regular column on appellate practice, On Appeal, with Hon. Gino L. DiVito. As co-chair of the Appellate Lawyers Association’s Rules Committee from 2013 to 2017, John testified before the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee multiple times concerning proposed amendments to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules governing appellate practice.
Constitutional and Governmental Litigation
John frequently represents individuals and non-profit associations in litigation against governmental entities, in constitutional litigation, and in administrative appeals.
John represented retired teachers in litigation that resulted in a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court opinion invaliding pension reform legislation that violated the Pension Protection Clause to the Illinois Constitution, Heaton v. Quinn (In re Pension Reform Litigation), 2015 IL 118585.
John successfully represented property owners in an appeal from an adverse judgment in constitutional litigation against the City of Chicago, Hanna v. City of Chicago, 2017 IL App (1st) 160493-U.
John represents a coalition of non-profit industry associations in litigation against Cook County for violating the Safe Roads Amendment to the Illinois Constitution.
John also has successfully represented a health care business in an administrative appeal from a decision of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.
Employment and Executive Compensation Disputes
John routinely represents employers and employees in severance negotiations, employment discrimination litigation, retaliatory discharge litigation, and in connection with other claims and disputes involving employment. John has successfully litigated claims under the Illinois Wage Payment & Collection Act, claims for retaliatory discharge, defamation claims in the employment context, employment contract claims, trade secret misappropriation claims, and restrictive covenant enforcement claims. John also routinely represents business and non-profit executives in confidential compensation and severance negotiations.
John currently serves as the 53rd President of the Appellate Lawyers Association.
Selected as a Super Lawyer (2019, 2020)
Named one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forth to Watch” by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company (2015)
Certificate of Appreciation, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (2016)
John is a member of the Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and in the United States Supreme Court. John also has been admitted to practice law pro hac vice in several other jurisdictions.
John received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2004, and his B.A. with Honors in Political Science from the College of the University of Chicago in 2001. While in law school, John served as a judicial extern for U.S. District Court Judge Milton I. Shadur and worked as a research assistant to Professor Richard Epstein.
John is a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
Memberships & Affiliations
The Appellate Lawyers Association
Illinois State Bar Association
Chicago Lawyer Magazine
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
The Chicago Litigation Blog, Contributor
News & Publications
A representative sample of John’s publications include: