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Mike Leonard

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Practice Areas

  • Federal Criminal 50%
  • Employment 20%
  • Whistleblower 20%
  • Commercial Litigation 10%

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1991
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

Honors

  • International Human Rights Law Group Pro Bono Service Award
  • Super Lawyers
  • Leading Lawyers
  • America's Top Trial Lawyers
  • Criminal Defense Top 10

Biography

Mike Leonard is a nationally recognized “go to” trial lawyer. His trial practice concentrates in the areas of Federal and State criminal matters, in addition to civil employment, whistleblower, retaliation, qui tam (False Claims Act), commercial and business, and injury matters. He has successfully tried to verdict dozens and dozens of cases in the Federal and State courts, including in Illinois and across the country. Mike has spent his entire thirty-year career as a courtroom trial attorney and litigator. 

Mike is believed to be the only presently practicing attorney to have attained at least six or more complete not guilty jury verdicts on all counts and charges in favor of his clients in Federal criminal prosecutions brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Mike’s recent Federal criminal jury trials include four not guilty verdicts on all counts and charges, a dismissal of all charges during trial, and a mistrial. This includes one of the very few Federal criminal not guilty jury verdicts in the Northern District of Illinois in 2020. 

Mike’s results have been equally impressive in civil trials in the Illinois State courts, including in Cook, Kane, DuPage, and Lake Counties, as well as in Federal courts throughout the country - ranging from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Virginia. Mike’s clients have prevailed before juries in those jurisdictions in cases involving employment discrimination, retaliation/whistleblowing, securities fraud, civil rights violations, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and a variety of other commercial claims. 

Mike has been repeatedly recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer by, among others, Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, American’s Top Criminal Defense Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and America’s Top High Stakes Litigators.

Mike has litigated or tried to verdict Federal and State cases in at least the following Federal or State jurisdictions outside of Illinois: Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Kansas, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, California, and Oregon.

Mike has appeared, briefed, or argued numerous appeals, including before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; the United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit; the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; numerous Illinois State Appellate Courts; the California Court of Appeals; and the Idaho Supreme Court.  

Mike also regularly represents and advises clients on employment-related matters, ranging from discrimination of all types, retaliatory discharge, False Claims Act/qui tam matters, employment contracts and separation agreements. 

Mike is a long-serving Adjunct Professor of Trial Practice at the prestigious Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

He regularly lectures and instructs on the art and science of trial practice.

Mike is a 1991 graduate of Loyola (Chicago) School of Law, where he was a member of the Trial Team and the Law Journal. Mike completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa.

Education

  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, Illinois
    • J.D. - 1991
    • Honors: National Mock Trial Team
  • University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
    • B.A. - 1988
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Major: Political Science

Classes & Seminars

  • Trial Practice, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, 2008 to Present
  • Federal Trial Bar Training Program
  • Pincus Education Programs, Present

Past Positions

  • Phelan Pope & John/Pope & John, Associate, 1991 to 1994
  • Meckler Bulger & Tilson, Partner/Associate, 1994 to 2013

Fraternities or Sororities

  • Pi Kappa Alpha

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association, Member, Present
  • National Association Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member, Present

Current Employment Position

  • Partner