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Michael L. Gallagher

  • Partner






Michael L. Gallagher is a partner at Wise Morrissey. He joined the firm in September 2015 bringing his extensive insight as a Cook County prosecutor and 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. In recognition, Law Bulletin Publishing Company named Michael one of its 2016 “Forty Under 40″ lawyers in Illinois. Leading Lawyers magazine also included him on its 2016 list of the “Top 10 Illinois Emerging Lawyers,” an honor reserved for attorneys aged 40 or younger. More recently, Michael has been named as an Illinois “Super Lawyer,” an Illinois “Leading Lawyer” and one of “America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys” for Illinois.

At 32, Michael 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 more than 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 28 of 29 jury trials in state and federal court including matters of wrongful death, catastrophic injury, medical malpractice and class-action claims. In his first jury trial as a plaintiff’s attorney, Michael helped secure a $14,350,000 verdict against Illinois’ largest medical malpractice insurance carrier. All told, Michael has secured more than $100,000,000 in plaintiff and defense verdicts over the past 10 years.

Michael also prides himself on his tireless research and persuasive legal writing skills. He has argued in the state and federal appellate court on four separate occasions while drafting more than 70 appellate briefs and motions for summary judgment. Michael provides that rare combination of trial and appellate experience that allows him to effectively advocate for his clients at every stage of litigation.

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
  • America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys" for Illinois, 2020 - 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

Representative Cases

  • $14.35 Million jury verdict for a “bad faith” claim against insurance company
  • $9.4 Million for a child injured at birth
  • $8.5 Million for the wrongful death of a 55 year old man
  • $7.25 Million for a 67 year old man who lost his legs in an accident resulting from inadequate traffic signs
  • $6 Million for a girl who suffered permanent injuries after a severe asthma attack
  • $5 Million for a woman who died from a failure to timely diagnose and treat a ruptured brain aneurysm
  • $4.4 Million for an unmarried man who died as a result of the doctor failing to diagnose his cancer
  • $4 Million for the death of a child injured at birth
  • $3.5 Million jury verdict for a teenager who died of cardiac arrest due to delayed medical treatment
  • $3 Million for a single woman who died as a result of complications during spinal surgery
  • $2.25 Million for a 70 year old woman who died as result of improper use of anesthesia during surgery
  • $2 Million for a 68 year old man who died from a misdiagnosis of cancer
  • $1.95 Million for a 54 year old woman who died as a result of failing to properly secure her endotracheal tube
  • $1.82 Million for the death of woman involved in a motor vehicle accident
  • $1.75 Million for a 70 year old woman who died because medical personnel failed to diagnose her aortic dissection
  • $1.7 Million for a single man who committed suicide at the Cook County Jail
  • $1.62 Million for a newborn who suffered shoulder dystocia during birth
  • $1.3 Million for a woman who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury resulting from a fall