Spesia & Ayers

Spesia & Ayers

Spesia & Ayers is a team of attorneys dedicated to serving you. We have been crafting aggressive legal strategies and compiling proven results since 1899.

Firm Overview

Our attorneys have more than 250 years of combined experience serving clients in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, LaSalle and Kankakee counties and beyond. Two of our attorneys are retired judges, bringing wealth of knowledge about trial and appellate law to your case.

Our concentrations include:

-Personal injury and wrongful death cases
-Dental Malpractice
-Nursing Home Negligence
-Zoning/Real estate development
-Business Litigation
-School Law Representation
-Wills, Trusts & Estates
-Municipal Law
-Employment Law
-Commercial Development
-Commercial Litigation
-Eminent Domain/Condemnation
-Medical Malpractice

We also provide counsel to other law firms seeking expertise outside the scope of their practices.
Main Office
Main Office
1415 Black Rd.
Joliet  IL  60435
Phone
  • 815-7264311
Websites
Personal Injury
We have served the community for more than 100 years by offering quality legal services.
Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured because of someone else's negligence or recklessness? If so, call Spesia & Ayers at 815-726-4311 to speak with one of our attorneys. We're on YOUR side, and will work hard to help you recover full compensation for your pain and suffering, mounting medical bills, future medical care and lost wages.

We have served the community for more than 100 years by offering quality legal services. Our attorneys represent ordinary people facing personal injury issues in Will, Cook, Grundy, Kankakee, Kane, Kendall and Du Page counties, including communities such as Joliet, Morris, Plainfield, New Lenox, Naperville, Aurora, Oswego, Bolingbrook, Mokena, and Frankfort. Contact us today!

Personal Injury Overview

Common personal injury cases include slips and falls, automobile accidents, assaults and battery, medical malpractice, and product liability. Our attorneys will fight for you to determine who was responsible and help you get compensation.

Personal Injury Damages

Our attorneys will make sure you receive the damages the law says are yours. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, past and future medical expenses, damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering, and damages for disfigurement.

Conclusion

Let one of our attorneys review the facts of your case. They will tell you how soon you need act to preserve your rights, the damages to which you may be entitled, and whether you may be entitled to some type of financial benefits before your lawsuit is even settled. Additionally, in many personal injury cases, you don't owe a dime in legal fees until the defendant pays the damage award.

E. Kent Ayers

A senior partner in the law firm of Spesia & Ayers, Ayers graduated with a B.A. from Wabash College in 1964 and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Dakota in 1968. After receiving his J.D., Ayers worked as a Midwestern Representative for the Council of State Governments at its national headquarters in Chicago. In 1971, he became associated with this firm where he has concentrated in litigation. He is admitted to practice before the Illinois Supreme Court, Southern and Northern Federal District Courts of Illinois and the United States Supreme Court.

In his capacity as the senior trial attorney at Spesia & Ayers, Ayers manages a complete caseload and coordinates all civil jury litigation for the firm. He has been involved in a multitude of personal injury cases and has extensive trial experience in negligence matters for both plaintiffs and defendants. Most of his work has involved representing individuals and corporate interests in matters that include not only commercial litigation but also vehicular accidents, explosions, construction injuries, medical negligence and catastrophic injury situations representing millions of dollars. One hundred percent of his practice is devoted to litigation.

Ayers belongs to several professional associations and most notably is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and American Board of Trial Advocates. He has consistently received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards.

Areas of Practice:
90% Personal Injury - Plaintiff
10% Personal Injury - Defendant

Litigation Percentage:
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 1969
U.S. Supreme Court, 1979
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois

Education:
University of North Dakota School of Law, Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1969 - J.D.

Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, 1964 - A.B., English

Professional Associations and Memberships:
American College of Trial Lawyers, 1994 - Present
Fellow

Fraternities/Sororities:
Phi Delta Phi
Education
  • University of North Dakota School of Law
    J.D.

James C. Byrne

James C. Byrne joined the law firm of Spesia & Ayers in July of 2006 as a senior partner. Although a life long resident of Joliet, he attended and graduated from Quigley Seminary in Chicago in 1953 and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (personnel management) from Loyola University in 1957; he earned his law degree from Loyola University in 1960.

During Mr. Byrne's 48 years of practice, he has covered a very broad area of the law including adoption, bankruptcy, real estate, commercial transactions, estate planning and criminal law. He has trial experience in the areas of insurance defense, commercial litigation, criminal defense, child custody and eminent domain.

For the past 25 years, Mr. Byrne's legal representation has primarily involved counseling his clients and handling litigation in the areas of insurance defense, employment law (including discrimination matters), school law, commercial real estate, and church related issues. Mr. Byrne's clients include a variety of churches, religious entities and charitable organizations.

Mr. Byrne maintains active membership in the National Diocese Attorneys Association; National Employment Lawyers Association; National Education Law Association; American Bar Association; Illinois State Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association (past Chairman of the Professional Fees Committee); Will County Bar Association (past Chairman of the Employment Law Committee); and the DuPage County Bar Association.

Areas of Practice:
General Civil and Trial Practice
Insurance Defense
Not-For-Profit
Religious Entities
School Law
Employment Discrimination
Sexual Abuse Cases

Litigation Percentage:
60% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 1961
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1961

Education:
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, Illinois, 1960 - J.D.

Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, 1957 - A.B.

Representative Clients:
Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet
Catholic Charities
St. Vincent DePaul Society
Mantellate Sisters

Past Employment Positions:
James C. Byrne & Associates, Owner, 1964 - 2006

Legal Aid Bureau of Chicago, States Attorney, 1961 - 1964
Education
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law
    J.D.

Thomas M. Ewert

Former judge Thomas M. Ewert joined Spesia & Ayers in 2001, having served as presiding judge of Will County's civil division for 24 years. Mr. Ewert's vast knowledge of civil litigation rounds out the firm's exceptional team of trial lawyers. Appointed by the Federal Court as chairman of Northern Illinois' Pipeline Commissioners Panel, Mr. Ewert is also a member of the Illinois Judges Association and the Association for Conflict Resolution; founder of Will County's Mandatory Arbitration and Court Annexed Mediation Programs; and former member of the Joint Committee on Judicial Ethics. Judge Ewert is available for consultation and/or legal representation in a large variety of litigation matters.

Year Joined Organization:
2001

Areas of Practice:
70% Mediation & Arbitration
30% Litigation

Litigation Percentage:
30% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 1961
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1961

Education:
University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, Illinois, 1971 - J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence

Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, Illinois, 1968 - B.S., Business Management

Professional Associations and Memberships:
Illinois Bar Association, Member, 1971 - Present

Association for Conflict Resolution, Member, 2004 - Present

Past Employment Positions:
State of Illinois, Associate Judge, 12th Circuit, 1971 - 1976

County of Kankakee, Illinois, 1st Assistant State's Attorney
Education
  • University of Illinois College of Law
    J.D.

Jacob Gancarczyk

Jacob E. Gancarczyk joined Spesia & Ayers in 2012. He was born and raised in Joliet and resides in Plainfield. Mr. Gancarczyk received a B.A. from the University of Iowa. At Iowa, he achieved Academic All-Big Ten honors and was a member of the 2002 Big Ten Championship football team. Following college, he oversaw multi-million dollar projects as a project manager in the construction industry. He also received a Master's Degree in business law from the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago where he received the Legal Research and Academic Merit Awards for writing the best thesis and attaining the highest cumulative grade point average in the program.

Mr. Gancarczyk received his Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School graduating Magna Cum Laude. He worked as a law clerk for a private law firm while in law school. He also interned as a judicial clerk for the Will County Courthouse. Mr. Gancarczyk is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and Will County Bar Association.

Since joining the firm, he has become involved in appellate work, industrial land use projects, construction law, contested probate estate, municipal law, personal injury, and medical malpractice cases.

Year Joined Organization:
2012

Education:
Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Michigan, 2012 - J.D.
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Certificate of Merit: Professional Responsibility, Advance Writing, Pretrial Skills, Business
Organizations
Recipient of the Honors Scholarship

Loyola University School of Law, Chicago, IL, 2008
Master's of Jurisprudence in Business Law
Honors: Best Thesis and Highest GPA in graduating class

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 2004
Bachelor of Arts
Honors: Academic All-Big Ten and Bronze Hawk Medallion

Organizations:
Illinois State Bar Association
Will County Bar Association
Education
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School
    J.D.

Michael S. Hopkins

Attorney Michael S. Hopkins is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, receiving his Juris Doctor degree cum laude. At John Marshall, he served as a member of the John Marshall Law Review, and his comment "Hemlock in the Marketplace" was selected for publication in the summer 2007 issue. He was named to the Order of John Marshall, and was ranked the number one graduate in the evening division. He served as a clerk for a Chicago law firm, while pursuing his law degree.

He also earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in English from Governors State University, where he was named to the Dean's List. Hopkins received the Daniel Bernd Award as a distinguished undergraduate, graduated with High Honors and was the commencement speaker.

A former speechwriter and public relations/marketing coordinator at GSU, Hopkins also has been an adjunct professor at several higher education institutions. He served as an avionics technician with the United States Air Force in the 1980s. Michael also serves on the GSU Promise Committee at Governors State University and on the Committee for Boy Scout Troop 315, in Peotone. At Spesia & Ayers, Hopkins concentrates his practice in the areas of employment law, school law, personal injury and municipal law.

Areas of Practice:
Municipal Law
Commercial Litigation
Personal Injury
Education
  • John Marshall Law School
    J.D.

Brad S. McCann

Bradley S. McCann joined Spesia & Ayers in 2012 as an associate. He is a Certified Public Accountant, as well as an attorney. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Mr. McCann worked in the tax and audit practice area of a large accounting firm in their Joliet office, obtaining invaluable experience.

Prior to joining Spesia & Ayers, Mr. McCann practiced for fifteen years with a Chicago law firm; five years as an associate and nine years as an equity partner. Mr. McCann represents many family and closely held businesses in a wide range of activities, including financing, acquisitions and operations. His expertise includes extensive experience in structuring and implementing complex estate plans and tax strategies; structuring start-up enterprises; structuring and preparing agreements in connection with all aspects of business, tax and estate plans; probate and trust administration; and general corporate and business matters.

Mr. McCann is admitted to practice in all Illinois state courts and the United States Tax Court. He is a member of the Chicago Bar Association (CBA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Joliet Estate Planning Council. He is also a member of the Joliet Rotary Club. He is a past co-chair and board member of the CBA Legal Referral Service Committee and member of the CBA Federal Taxation and Probate Practice Committees.

Year Joined Organization:
2012

Sample Representation:

Preparation and advisement regarding complex estate planning vehicles including: grantor retained annuity trusts, private foundations, self-canceling installment notes, charitable remainder and lead trusts, family limited partnerships, defective grantor trusts, irrevocable trusts, and revocable trusts
Preparation and advisement regarding simpler estate planning vehicles, including: wills, health care powers of attorney, and property powers of attorney
Representation of taxpayers in audits conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the Illinois Department of Revenue with regard to estate, gift, income, business, sales and watercraft taxes
Taxation and estate planning for family and closely held businesses
Representation of plenary guardians for disabled persons estate and person, for estate of minor, and administrators and executors in probate proceedings
Representation of trustees, administrators and executors in the administration of trusts and estates
Formation and representation of family private foundations
Formation and advisement regarding business entities: corporations, S corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, sole proprietorships
Preparation of tax returns
Representing and advisement of businesses in establishing shareholder and operating agreements, buy-sell agreements
Bar Admissions:
Illinois
Chicago Bar Association
U.S. Tax Court

Education:
Quinnipiac University School of Law, 2012 Juris Doctorate, cum laude Distinguished Academic
Achievement Award, AAA-CPA Scholarship. Phi Delta Phi, American Jurisprudence Award
(Business Organizations)
Distinguished Academic Achievement Award, AAA-CPA Scholarship. Phi Delta Phi, American
Jurisprudence Award (Business Organizations)
DePaul University College of Law (visiting law student, 1998)
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL Bachelor of Science Major: Accountancy

Bar Admissions:
Illinois
Chicago Bar Association
U.S. Tax Court

Professional Associations and Memberships:
Illinois State Bar Association - Member
Chicago Bar Association - Member
Chicago Estate Planning Council
CBA Legal Referral Service Committee
Joliet Rotary Club
Education
  • Quinnipiac University School of Law
    J.D.

Gabriel G. Orenic

Gabriel G. Orenic is an associate with Spesia & Ayers, having joined the firm in 2003. Mr. Orenic clerked for the firm for two years while he attended The John Marshall Law School, where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree in June 2003. While at John Marshall, Mr. Orenic was a recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Council of Higher Education. Mr. Orenic is admitted to practice in all Illinois state courts and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Mr. Orenic was born and raised in Joliet. He graduated from Joliet Catholic High School in 1985. Mr. Orenic attended Barry University in Miami, Florida, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. He returned to the classroom after graduating from Barry University, teaching at the Joliet Township Alternate School. While working at the high school, Mr. Orenic spent the summers working for the Boston Symphony Orchestra at their summer home, Tanglewood, in Lenox, Massachusetts. He also spent two years with a theater production company in Lee, Massachusetts.

Mr. Orenic is a second generation lawyer, following his father, Retired Chief Judge of Will County, Illinois, Michael A. Orenic.

Mr. Orenic is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Will County Bar Association. Mr. Orenic is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Mr. Orenic concentrates his practice in real estate, wills, trusts and estates, probate of decedent estates and guardianships.

Year Joined Organization:
2003

Bar Admissions:
Illinois
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois

Education:
John Marshall Law School, 2003
Juris Doctorate
Honors: Recipient, Scholarship Awarded

Barry University, Miami, Florida
Bachelor of Arts
Major: English

Joliet Catholic High School, 1985

Professional Associations and Memberships:
American Bar Association - Member

Illinois State Bar Association - Member

Will County Bar Association - Member

Knights of Columbus - Member
Education
  • John Marshall Law School
    J.D.

Martin J. Shanahan Jr.

Martin J. Shanahan, Jr. joined Spesia & Ayers in 2001. Mr. Shanahan has been a resident of Will County for over 35 years and is a graduate from Lincoln-Way High School. He obtained his B.A. cum laude in political science from the College of St. Francis, and was the recipient of the Frank P. Weberg Award in political science, an award given to the top student in the department. Mr. Shanahan received his Juris Doctor degree from The John Marshall Law School and gained experience working as a law clerk for a private law firm. After graduating from law school, Mr. Shanahan spent almost three years as an Assistant State's Attorney with the Will County State's Attorney Office. During his tenure as an Assistant State's Attorney, Mr. Shanahan actively prosecuted individuals in the Misdemeanor, Bond/Status, Aggravated Traffic, and Juvenile Division courtrooms.

Since joining the firm, he has become involved in the representation of municipalities, as well as representing clients involved in drunken driving, traffic matters, overweight trucks and other trucking violations, and personal injury accidents. Mr. Shanahan taught the Trial Advocacy class at the University of St. Francis and was the Mock Trial Team coach from 2001 to 2011. He was also one of the University of St. Francis alumni award winners in 2010. He is also actively involved as the coordinator of the Will County Bar Association local government committee and a member of the Illinois Bar Association local government committee.

Year Joined Organization:
2001

Areas of Practice:
50% Municipal Law
25% Traffic and Misdemeanor Defense
15% Personal Injury Medical Malpractice
10% Elder Law

Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 1998
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 2003
U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois, 2003

Education:
John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois - J.D.
University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois
B.A., Political Science
Honors: Cum Laude

Classes/Seminars Taught:
Legal Process - Mock Trial, University of St. Francis, 2001 - Present

Professional Associations and Memberships:
Will County Bar Association, 1998 - Present

Local Government Chairman (2003-04, 2006-07)

Illinois State Bar Association, 2004 - Present

Local Government Committee Member

Past Employment Positions:
Will County State's Attorney Office, Assistant State's Attorney
Education
  • John Marshall Law School
    J.D.

Kent Slater

Kent Slater joined Spesia & Ayers in 2007 after having served for 16 years as a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court in Ottawa. Mr. Slater previously served two terms as a member of the House of Representatives in the Illinois General Assembly (1985-1988) and was a Circuit Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Illinois (1988-1990). His knowledge of the appellate process adds to the firm's outstanding litigation team. Prior to his election as judge, he was a partner in the firm of Lucie, Heiser & Slater in Macomb, Illinois. Judge Slater is available to represent clients in all aspects of litigation and appeals to the appellate courts and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Areas of Practice:
40% Appellate Practice
40% Litigation
20% Mediation / Arbitration

Bar Admissions:
Illinois
U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit

Education:
University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2001 - L.L.M.
John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, 1975 - J.D.
University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, 1968 - B.S.

Honors and Awards:
Presiding Judge, Third District Illinois, Appellate Court, 1993, 2000, 2005

Distinguished Alumni Award, The John Marshall Law School, 1990

Outstanding Freshman Representative, Illinois General Assembly, 1985

1st LT. in U.S. Army

Graduate of Infantry Officer Candidate School

Recipient, Bronze Star in Vietnam

Professional Associations and Memberships:
Illinois State Bar Association

Illinois Judges Association

Past Employment Positions:
Ninth Judicial Circuit, Judge, 1988 - 1990

Illinois House of Representatives, Electee, 1984 - 1988

United State Army, Infantry Officer, 1969 - 1971

Judiciary Committee

Previous Organization Name:
Hon. Kent Slater
Education
  • John Marshall Law School
    J.D.
  • University of Virginia School of Law
    LL.M.

Christian G. Spesia

Christian G. Spesia has been a partner with Spesia & Ayers since 2001 and focuses his practice on real estate, land use and development, litigation, and estate planning. Mr. Spesia is "AV" rated by Martindale Hubbell.

Mr. Spesia is the Village Attorney for the Villages of Minooka, New Lenox and Rockdale.

Mr. Spesia has handled most kinds of land use litigation, including zoning, eminent domain, boundary litigation, mandamus and tax rate objections. His current case load includes cases in both state and federal courts primarily focused on land use issues.

Mr. Spesia has been involved in a multitude of transactions including the financing, sale and purchase of commercial and investment property, including 1031 tax free exchanges, the annexation and zoning of thousands of acres for residential, commercial and industrial uses and the issuance of millions of dollars of bonds.

Mr. Spesia has acted as trustee for high net worth clients and also practices in the areas of estate planning, wills and trusts including probate.

Among Mr. Spesia's transactions and cases are those related to:

Complex boundary litigation between several municipalities involving disputed jurisdiction over thousands of acres in high-growth areas.

Tax rate objections in both the state circuit and appellate courts.

Annexation and zoning of thousands of acres of commercial, industrial and residential properties.

Annexation of approximately 900 acres of industrial property under a favorable annexation agreement to preclude forcible annexation from an adjacent municipality and resulting tax consequences.

Trial and appeal of suits challenging municipal denial of zoning requests and building permits.

Handling of case involving the rights of trucks involved in interstate commerce to access local roadways in the federal district and appellate courts.

An injunction proceeding involving the rights of a real estate developer to capacity in a municipally-owned sewage treatment plant.

Purchase of hundreds of acres of real estate by a Forest Preserve District and Village for conservation and recreation purposes.

Contractual dispute between a municipality and an Illinois Public Utility.

Represented Illinois Public Utility before the Illinois Commerce Commission ("ICC") in defense of formal customer complaints and in proceedings requesting ICC approval of contracts.

Represented municipal entity in the negotiation of agreements to purchase water from the City of Chicago and worked on the acquisition of substantial right-of-way for the project.

Worked on the sale of a pipeline and related right-of-way for the conveyance of liquid petroleum products.

Represented landowners 1031 tax-free exchanges.

Employment Discrimination cases in the State Department of Human Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Courts.

Multiple Bond Issuances for Government and Private Development.

Renegotiations of annexation agreements with banks, municipalities and developers.

Professional Organizations:
President of the Illinois Institute for Local Government Law

Illinois State Bar Association

Member of the Board of Directors for the Will County Bar Association

Admitted to the Federal District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts

Articles and Publications:
Local Public Entities and Estoppel as Defense (Illinois Institute for Local Government Law Journal, April 2010)

How Pochie v. Cook County Officers Electoral Bd. May Affect an Objector's Petition to Candidates' Nominating Papers (Illinois Institute for Local Government Law Journal, April 2009)
Regulating Campaign Contributions And Adopting More Restrictive Ethics Provisions (Illinois Institute For Local Government Law Journal - May, 2008)
When Does Estoppel Apply Against A Public Entity? (Illinois Institute For Local Government Law Journal - October, 2007)

Fact Specific vs. Ultimate Facts - Pleading Requirements in Court Controlled Annexations (Illinois Institute For Local Government Law Journal - June, 2006)

Special Service Areas and Special Assessment Areas - A Growing Trend In Financing Of Public Improvements For New Construction (Illinois Institute For Local Government Law Journal - January, 2006)

Second District Declares Right To Cross-Examination In Zoning Hearings (Illinois State Bar Association Local Government Law Newsletter - March, 2001)

Can A Bank Foreclose On An Annexation Agreement? (Illinois State Bar Association Local Government Law Newsletter - March, 2000; Illinois Institute For Local Government Law Journal - January, 2001)

Areas of Practice:
Real Estate
Land Use & Development
Litigation
Employment Law

Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 1994
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1994
U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois

Education:
University of Denver College of Law, Denver, Colorado, 1994 - J.D.
Honors: Order of St. Ives for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement

Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1990 - B.A., History

Other Representative Clients:
Aqua Illinois
Kinder Morgan
Natural Gas Pipeline Company
Exelon Generation Company
Aux Sable Liquid Products LP
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet
Education
  • University of Denver College of Law
    J.D.

John M. Spesia

John Spesia is a lifelong resident of Will County. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School with high academic honors as a member of the Order of St. Ives. Upon graduation, Spesia was selected to serve as a Law Clerk to a Federal District Judge in Chicago, where he had hands-on training in Federal Court procedures and trial matters.

Since joining Spesia & Ayers in 1991, he has focused his practice almost exclusively on negligence cases, including automobile, trucking and motorcycle collisions, medical and dental malpractice and nursing home abuse, recovering millions of dollars on behalf of victims of negligence. A few of his accomplishments included a $4.5 million settlement, a judgment for more than $3.1 million on behalf of the widow of a 41 year old businessman killed in a trucking collision, and an $800,000 settlement for a 68 year old automobile crash victim.

Spesia also recovered over $1.1 million for a motorcycle passenger severely injured in a collision. In addition, he recently recovered over $1 million for a 40-year-old victim of medical malpractice and won a $700,000 jury verdict in another medical negligence case. Spesia has twice argued landmark cases in the Illinois Supreme Court, including a recent case in 2009 (seen here) that resulted in a recovery of over $900,000.

Over the years, Spesia has also been involved in property rights litigation and has coordinated significant land acquisition projects for major pipeline companies, including Enbridge Energy L.P., Alliance Pipeline, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America and Kinder Morgan. He is well versed in property rights issues and the prosecution of condemnation matters. In 2005 he was named one of "40 Under 40" Illinois Attorneys to Watch and has been named to SuperLawyers in 2009 and 2010. He has received an AV rating from Marindale Hubbel American Law Directory, the highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards.

He is the former Chairman of the Corporate Board of Directors of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet, President of the Board of Directors of the Boy's and Girl's Club of Joliet and a member of the Joliet Rotary Club.

Michael R. Stiff

Michael R. Stiff is an associate with the firm and is a lifelong resident of Will County. He is a 1984 graduate of Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, where he was inducted as a charter member of the Lewis Honor Society. He received his law degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1988.

Prior to joining Spesia & Ayers in October 2007, Mr. Stiff practiced in the Joliet office of a national law firm and then with a small general litigation firm in Geneva, Illinois. He has handled a wide range of litigation matters, including the defense of hospitals and doctors in complex medical cases, serious construction injuries and all types of premises liability claims.

At Spesia & Ayers, Mr. Stiff concentrates his practice on litigation matters involving all aspects of case management, from investigation through trial, including appellate work. Mr. Stiff has tried both personal injury and non-injury cases in many Illinois state courts, and appears before the Circuit Courts of Will, Kankakee, LaSalle, Grundy, Cook and DuPage counties. He also has handled cases in Iroquis, Kendall, Kane, Lake and Winnebago counties. His current practice includes representation of school districts and other businesses in litigation and other commercial matters.

Mr. Stiff is admitted to practice before all Illinois courts. As part of his practice of defending municipalities and employers in various employment and civil rights cases, Mr. Stiff appears before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where he is admitted to the Trial bar, the EEOC, and other state regulatory agencies.

Mr. Stiff is a past member of the St. Paul the Apostle School Board and is actively involved in planning and working in various community and school events. He also has been a working professional magician and illusionist for many years, and continues to devote his time in entertaining children and adults alike at fundraising and charitable events in the Joliet area. He has also served as a coach of the University of St. Francis Mock Trial Team.

Areas of Practice:
30% Catastrophic Injury Cases
50% Commercial and General Litigation
20% Corporate Counsel

Litigation Percentage:
80% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Certification/Specialties:
Arbitration Panelist, Will County

Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 1988
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1988

Education:
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, Illinois, 1988 - J.D

Lewis University, Romeoville, IL - B.A.
Honors: Lewis Honor Society
Honors: Deans' List
Honors: Editor-in-Chief of the Lewis Flyer (School Newspaper)
Major: Journalism/English

Professional Associations and Memberships:
Will County Bar Association - Member

Past Employment Positions:
Tribler & Orpett, Associate

Rooks Pitts, Joliet, Partner

Adams Swatek LLC, Geneva, Partner
Education
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law
    J.D.

Jeffrey S. Taylor

Jeffrey S. Taylor is a partner with the firm. He graduated from Colorado State University, and received his law degree from The John Marshall Law School in 1995, graduating Cum Laude. Mr. Taylor's academic achievements in law school were acknowledged when he was inducted into The Order of John Marshall, an honors scholarship society. During law school, Mr. Taylor was a member of the Moot Court Board, a member of the National Health Law Moot Court team and president of the Trial Advocacy and Litigation Association.

Prior to joining Spesia & Ayers, Mr. Taylor practiced at a large law firm in Chicago, where he represented multiple Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States in both Federal and State Courts. His experience spans a wide variety of areas, including catastrophic injury cases, employment matters, business and commercial litigation, regulatory disputes and regulatory compliance issues.

Since joining the firm, Mr. Taylor has remained actively engaged in a multitude of business litigation and corporate related matters. He is also actively engaged in the representation of school districts, colleges as well as private educational institutions throughout Illinois and serves as legal counsel for municipal clients.

In addition, Mr. Taylor continues with his representation of plaintiffs in cases involving serious injuries and wrongful deaths. This includes representation of clients in matters involving medical malpractice claims, nursing home abuse and neglect, product defects and transportation related accidents. Mr. Taylor has helped secure the recovery of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients through both positive settlements and jury verdicts.

Mr. Taylor has received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell American Law Directory, the highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards. In 2007, Mr. Taylor was recognized as one of 40 Illinois attorneys under 40 to watch. Mr. Taylor has also been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer by the publishers of Chicago Magazine in 2009 and 2010, a designation provided to only 5% of practicing attorneys in Illinois.

In 2011 Mr. Taylor was selected as Fellow to the Litigation Counsel of America, an honorary trial lawyer society. Fellowship in this organization is composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers and is by invitation only.

He is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois, the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and all Illinois state courts. He is also a member of the Federal Trial Bar.

Mr. Taylor resides in Will County with his wife and two children. He is on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals and is also involved in a number of other charitable organizations and events.

Areas of Practice:
Catastrophic Injury Cases
Commercial Litigation
School Law
Municipal Law

Certification/Specialties:
Arbitration Panelist, Will and DuPage Counties

Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 1995
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1995
U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois, 1995
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2009

Education:
John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, 1995 - J.D.
Honors: Cum Laude
Honors: Order of John Marshall

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
B.A., Social Sciences
Honors: Dean's List

Honors and Awards:
Recognized by Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of 40 Illinois attorneys under 40 to
watch

"AV" Rated by Martindale Hubbell

2009-2010 Selected for inclusion as Illinois Super Lawyer

Listed: Marquis Who's Who in American Law

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Professional Associations and Memberships:
Illinois Bar Association - Member

Will County Bar Association - Member

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

Past Employment Positions:
Williams, Montgomery & John, Attorney

Fraternities/Sororities:
Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Education
  • John Marshall Law School
    J.D.
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