Michael L. Gallagher




161 North Clark Street
Suite 3250
Chicago, IL 60601-3330

Michael Gallagher, who joined Wise Morrissey Kaveny in August 2015, brings his extensive insights as a Cook County prosecutor and as a defense attorney to the clients he represents.

His breadth of experience and level of success in the areas of civil, appellate and criminal practice is unparalleled for an attorney his age. At 32, he became the youngest supervisor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, responsible for defending the county and its approximately 22,000 employees in over 650 pending state and federal lawsuits.

As supervisor of the Torts and Civil Rights Section, Michael oversaw 19 attorneys and the defense of clients including the nation’s largest single-site jail, second largest sheriff’s department, and second largest public health system. He has successfully prosecuted or defended 26 of 27 jury trials in state and federal court including matters of wrongful death, catastrophic injury, medical malpractice and class-action claims. In one memorable case, he was assigned as lead counsel to retry a matter involving catastrophic injuries that had previously resulted in a $35 million verdict against the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. On retrial, he achieved a not-guilty verdict for all defendants.

He also successfully defended Cook County and 18 individual sheriff’s department officers in a four-week wrongful death jury trial. The plaintiff in the case demanded $31 million. The jury, though, returned a verdict in favor of all defendants.

Michael has also thrived since joining Wise Morrissey Kaveny. In his first jury trial as a plaintiff’s attorney, he helped secure a “bad faith” jury verdict against Illinois’ largest provider of medical insurance for a record $14.3 million. This included $13 million in punitive damages. Since 2007, he has secured more than $100 million in plaintiff and defense verdicts.

Known professionally for his tireless research and persuasive legal writing skills, Michael has argued in the state and federal appellate court on four occasions while drafting over 65 appellate briefs and motions for summary judgment on issues ranging from wrongful death, class-action liability, medical malpractice, highway construction, premise liability, and §1983 civil rights claims. He provides that rare combination of trial and appellate experience that allows him to effectively advocate for his clients at every stage of litigation. In recognition of his experience and leadership, Law Bulletin Publishing Company named Michael L. Gallagher one of its 2016 Forty Under 40. Leading Lawyers also included him on its 2016 list of “Top 10 Illinois Emerging Lawyers,” an honor reserved for attorneys age 40 or younger.

Professional Organizations

  • Federal Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Chair of the CBA Federal Civil Practice Committee

Professional Experience

Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney assignments:

  • Supervisor of Torts and Civil Rights Section, 2010-2015
  • Torts and Civil Rights Section, 2007-2009
  • Criminal Division, 2004-2006
  • Appellate Division, 2003-2004

Professional Recognition

  • 2016 Forty Under 40, Law Bulletin Publishing Company
  • Emerging Lawyers, recognized in General Personal Injury Law and Professional Malpractice and as one of the Top 10 Illinois Emerging Lawyers, 2016-present.


  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 2003
    (CALI Excellence Awards Trial Advocacy I & II)
  • Drake University, M.P.A., 2000
  • Drake University, B.A., 1999
    (varsity football, Pioneer League Academic All-Conference, 1996-1999)


  • Illinois, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals