Overview

Although a seasoned litigator whose practice is nationwide in scope, Jay considers litigation a means to solving a business problem, not an end in itself. He knows the best strategy for most clients is to avoid litigation and counsels accordingly about their most cost-effective options. Where litigation is unavoidable, his clients rely on him to resolve cases quickly.

During his 30-year career Jay has represented numerous individual and business clients – both plaintiffs and defendants – in civil litigation and white-collar criminal matters at the trial and appellate court levels. He has experience in all forms of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration and has appeared before local, state and federal courts and agencies across the country, including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

Jay understands the different mindsets associated with prosecuting versus defending a case, and zealously advocates for clients regardless of which side of the table they sit on.  His clients benefit from his unique background, which couples the street smarts, work ethic and tenacity of a former interstate truck driver with the intelligence, creativity and fast thinking of a classically educated doctor of philosophy.

When dealing with clients, Jay’s priorities are to provide lightning-quick responsiveness and identify at the outset what a “win” means from a practical business perspective. He also works with clients to find alternative billing arrangements.

This approach has proved successful for Jay on some of Schiff Hardin’s most complex and unorthodox cases. While his opponents are often mired in the minutiae that high stakes litigation can involve, Jay is able to simplify and quickly get to the heart of the matter, providing his clients with cost-effective and favorable results.

  • Experience

    • Through his pro bono representation of an inmate wrongly convicted by a jury of murder, Jay obtained a complete reversal of the conviction in the appellate court. He won again in the Supreme Court, and then literally broke his client out of Stateville Correctional Center by serving an order of release on the warden.
    • When his client was defrauded by a diamond merchant, Jay sued the merchant in federal court and won a judgment for multiples of the amounts stolen. When the merchant sought refuge in the bankruptcy courts of a friendlier state, Jay tried and won the fraud case before the bankruptcy court, ensuring that the debt against his client would never be discharged.
    • Jay represented a wealthy elderly woman fleeced by an accountant and financial adviser in a life insurance scheme, suing the responsible parties, exposing the scheme and winning a very favorable settlement for his client.
    • When a client was sued for fraud and misrepresentation in connection with an investment, Jay quickly secured a dismissal of the case – with no payment of any damages by his client – within weeks after deposing the plaintiff and exposing the fatal flaws in the case.
    • In a post-closing dispute, Jay’s clients asked him to defend them against allegations that they had misled the buyer and owed millions in damages. Jay quickly defeated any allegations of wrongdoing, leading to a resolution of no payment by his clients in the case. 
    • When a physician was accused in two separate lawsuits of participating in a conspiracy and an alleged kickback scheme to deceive the plaintiff and others, Jay identified the key legal issues that led to a dismissal of both cases without any payment or admission of liability by his client in either.
    • A client who was unexpectedly terminated by the majority partner – and the large law firm he hired to do his bidding – in an LLC that he had helped build for years into a thriving business called on to Jay exposed the bullying tactics of the majority partner and the law firm. Jay completely reversed the leverage of the parties, and without even filing a lawsuit, achieved a multi-million dollar settlement for his client that was more favorable than what a court could have ordered and left his client free to compete in the marketplace.
    • Jay has represented major insurance company clients for many years in complex class action matters across the country. In these representations, has consistently won dismissals or favorable settlements for his clients by creatively using experts and laser-focusing on the legal and factual vulnerabilities of the plaintiffs’ cases.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1987, magna cum laude
      Order of the Coif
      University of Illinois Law Review , Editor
    • Stony Brook University - State University of New York, M.A., Ph.D., Philosophy, 1984
    • Northwestern University, B.A., 1980, with honors

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
      • Insights

        TITLE
        News Release

        95 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 Leading Lawyers Lists

        Ninety-six Schiff Hardin lawyers have been named to the 2018 Leading Lawyers lists for Illinois and Michigan.

        News Release

        40 Attorneys Named to 2018 Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, and Top Women Lists

        Forty Schiff Hardin attorneys have been recognized on the 2018 Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

        News Release

        99 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Named to 2017 Leading Lawyers List

        Ninety-nine Schiff Hardin lawyers have been named to the 2017 Leading Lawyers list for Illinois and Michigan.

        Article

        $20M Settlement Reached in Medical Malpractice Suit

        Three weeks into a jury trial, Northwestern Medical Central Dupage Hospital (CDH) agreed to pay former Schiff Hardin partner Chris Zinski and his wife Pattie $20 million to settle their medical negligence claims against the hospital.

        News Release

        91 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Illinois, Michigan Leading Lawyers Network

        The list is comprised of those attorneys who are most recommended as top lawyers among their peers.

        Other Publications

        • “FIRREA: An Old Acronym is Turning into the Government’s New Hammer on Banks and Other Financial Institutions,” (co-author) The Banking Law Journal (Jul./Aug. 2012)
        • “The Audit Committee As Sleuth: Conducting an Internal Investigation,” Bank Accounting & Finance (Feb.-Mar. 2006)

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “Remembering Philosophy: Being a Philosophical Being,” Frontiers of Philosophy: 42 Years of PhDs from the Philosophy Department, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y. (Apr. 26, 2013)
      • Citizenship

        Pro Bono Activities

        Jay headed the firm’s pro bono program related to appeals from the Office of the Illinois State Appellate Defender, which handles the appeals of indigent inmates who have been convicted of serious felonies, are incarcerated and whose cases are on direct appeal.

         

        He also participated in the Howard Area Community Center Legal Clinic, which offers free legal services to low-income residents of Chicago.