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Michael L. Gallagher
  • Partner


Chicago, IL





At 32, Michael Gallagher became the youngest supervisor in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, responsible for defending the county and its 22,000 employees in more than 650 state and federal lawsuits.

In one of his first cases after joining Wise Morrissey, LLC in 2015, Michael was part of securing a verdict of more than $14 million for the family of a young girl who died as the result of medical malpractice.

His breadth of experience and level of success in the areas of civil, appellate and criminal practice is unparalleled for an attorney his age. As supervisor of the Torts and Civil Rights Section in the State's Attorney's office, Michael oversaw 19 attorneys. Michael and his team of prosecutors defended Cook County clients that included the nation's largest single-site jail, second largest sheriff's department, and second largest public health system. He 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 lead counsel in the retrial of catastrophic injuries allegations against the Cook County Sheriff's Office that had previously resulted in a $35 million verdict. On retrial, he won a verdict of not guilty 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, however, returned a verdict in favor of all defendants.

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 more than 65 appellate briefs and motions for summary judgment on issues ranging from wrongful death to class-action liability, medical malpractice, highway construction, premise liability, and civil rights claims.

Michael 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, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin named Michael one of its 2016 "40 under 40" Leading Lawyers. He was also included on its 2016 list of "Top 10 Illinois Emerging Lawyers," an honor reserved for attorneys age 40 or younger.

Areas Of Practice

  • Personal Injury
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Civil Rights
  • Appellate

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 2003
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit


  • DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
    • J.D. - 2003
    • Honors: CALI Excellence Awards Trial Advocacy I & II
  • Drake University
    • M.P.A. - 2000
  • Drake University
    • B.A. - 1999

Honors and Awards

  • Forty Under 40, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2016
  • Emerging Lawyers, recognized in General Personal Injury Law and Professional Malpractice and as one of the Top 10 Illinois Emerging Lawyers, 2016
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers, 2017-Present
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, 2019-Present

Professional Associations and Memberships

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

Past Employment Positions

  • Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Office, Supervisor of Torts and Civil Rights Section, 2010-2015
  • Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Office, Torts and Civil Rights Section, 2007-2009
  • Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Office, Criminal Division, 2004-2006
  • Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Office, Appellate Division, 2003-2004