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Joe Gagliardo served as the Managing Partner of Laner, Muchin, Ltd., from 2005-2017, after joining the Firm as a Partner in 1988, and serving as the Chair of the Litigation Department from 1988-2017.  Joe is currently Senior Counsel with the Firm.

In a career that has spanned 40 years, Joe has counseled and represented private and public employers in a broad range of employment and labor matters. His experience includes litigating complex individual and class action claims in the state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, labor boards and arbitrators.  Joe also serves as an arbitrator in employment and commercial disputes.

Joe previously served as First Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago. During his ten years in the Office of the Corporation Counsel, serving five Mayors, he counseled the City’s forty departments in all aspects of municipal law, including labor and employment relations and represented the City and its officers and employees in litigation matters pending in the state and federal courts. 

Joe has been recognized numerous times, including being listed multiple times as one of the Top 10 Illinois Super Lawyers, and he was selected as Best Lawyers’ 2012 Chicago-Litigation-Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year.  Joe frequently speaks and writes regarding current employment issues, including a monthly article for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and he has taught numerous arbitrators on behalf of the American Arbitration Association.


  • Authored an article titled "Documenting employee performance central to fending off potential lawsuits," for Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, January 25, 2023
  • Voted one of the Top 10 Attorneys in Illinois, Super Lawyers poll - Chicago Magazine, 2011, 2012 and 2015 
  • Voted one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Illinois Super Lawyers poll - Chicago Magazine, 2007-17
  • Named to Best Lawyers in America 2024 list for Employment Law - Management, Labor Law - Management, and Litigation - Labor and Employment
  • Named as Chicago-Litigation-Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers’ 2012
  • Recognized by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys (AATA) as one of 100 premier trial attorneys in the State of Illinois
  • Recognized by Intercontinental Finance Magazine in 2013, as one of the Top 500 lawyers in the world  
  • Selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America
  • Repeatedly named one of the Leading Lawyers in Illinois in the area of labor and employment law
  • Selected as one of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business by the Chambers USA in its Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers and therein described as “bright,” “thorough” and “hard-driving”
  • Elected Fellow/Member of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Included in Who’s Who Legal USA -- Management, Labor and Employment, and International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers
  • Maintains highest Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating for ethical standards and legal ability
  • Listed in “Who’s Who in American Law,” “Emerging Leaders in America” and “Who’s Who Among Rising Young Americans”
  • Distinguished Service Award from The John Marshall Law School
  • Award of Excellence from the Justinian Society of Lawyers
  • A Guiding Star Award from Windows of Opportunity
  • Leadership Awards from the Illinois Legislature, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Cook County Board of Commissioners and City of Chicago
  • Peacemaker and Humanitarian Awards from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. The Peacemaker Award was based on Joe’s skills in resolving disputes.  The Humanitarian Award was based on his commitment and efforts to promote diversity and human relations initiatives.
  • Recognized in 2017, as an Illinois State Bar Association Laureate.  The Laureate Award honors lawyers who have established and maintained the highest principles of the legal profession as demonstrated by their pervasive record of service to the law and the public.
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Past Chair of the ISBA Labor Law Section Council
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association, Past President, Chicago Chapter
  • Justinian Society of Lawyers, Past President
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Chicago Council of Lawyers
  • Defense Research Institute
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • Trustee, The John Marshall Law School
  • Magistrate Judge Merit Review Panel, Northern District of Illinois, by appointment of the Chief Judge of the U. S. District Court
  • Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, Past President
  • Served for over ten (10) years as a Director of Windows of Opportunity. Windows is a non-profit organization that creates partnerships to link all of Chicago’s public and assisted housing residents to resources that will improve their quality of life
  • Served as a Director of Age Options (2009-2015), an organization dedicated to connecting senior citizens with resources and options for care to allow them to live their lives to the fullest
  • Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau, Chicago, Illinois
  • Has been active with Chicago United, Just the Beginning Foundation, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, organizations that support and promote sustainable diversity in law and business



Joe’s experience in advising and defending employers involves a wide variety of issues, including:

Age, race, color, gender, religious, pregnancy, and national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Constitutional issues, such as freedom of speech and association, search and seizure, due process, equal protection, and impairment of contract.

Disability and reasonable accommodation.

Whistleblower, defamation, interference with contract/prospective advantage, intentional/negligent infliction of emotional distress, and other intentional and negligent tort claims.

Breach of employment contracts, trade secrets, covenants not to compete and other restrictive covenants.

Wage/hour matters.

Actions seeking injunctions and other extraordinary relief.

Conducting internal investigations, and providing related legal advice.


News, Events, and Publications


John Marshall Law School, J.D., Chicago 1977

DePaul University, B.S. in Commerce, 1974, with High Honors


  • Illinois
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
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