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   3Michael A. FicaroChicago(312) 977-9200maficaro@nixonpeabody.commaficaro@nixonpeabody.comNixon Peabody LLPwww.nixonpeabody.comwww.nixonpeabody.comFicaroMike.JPGCommercial LitigationCriminal Defense Law: Felonies & MisdemeanorsCriminal Defense Law: White CollarGaming & Casino Law
Michael A. Ficaromaficaro@nixonpeabody.com
Nixon Peabody LLPhttp://www.nixonpeabody.com
70 W Madison St Ste 3500
Chicago IL 60602-4283
Ph.(312) 977-9200 Fx.(312) 977-9206
Recommended by peers in:
Commercial Litigation
Criminal Defense Law: Felonies & Misdemeanors
Criminal Defense Law: White Collar
Gaming & Casino Law
Advisory Board Member
County:  Cook
Litigator:  Yes

Practice Description:  
Mr. Ficaro is a highly acclaimed trial lawyer with extensive experience in all facets of litigation including administrative hearings, business licensing, business litigation, complex commercial litigation, class action plaintiff and defense, injunction practice, municipal law, shareholder disputes, tort actions, trust and estate litigation, as well as Section 1983 plaintiff and defense litigation. His practice includes the representation of law firms and lawyers in disciplinary, malpractice, contempt, sanctions and fee disputes. He also has extensive experience involving criminal representation of corporate officers in white-collar criminal defense, as well as criminal environmental defense, and general criminal defense.

In addition, his practice includes the specialty in the representation of corporations and individuals seeking gaming licensing, as well as casino license holders, owners, shareholders, as well as suppliers in licensing and regulatory matters before the Illinois Gaming Board and in litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country.

Highlights his experience include:
  • Extensive litigation and trial experience, including 100 jury trials, 1,000 bench trials, and more than 300 grand jury investigations;

  • Having served as first aassistant attorney general of Illinois, Cook County deputy state's attorney and chief of Criminal Prosecution Bureau, and special assistant United States Attorney;

  • Being appointed special prosecutor by the chief judge of the Circuit Court to investigate the state's attorney of Cook County;

  • Serving as director of enforcement for the Illinois Attorney General's Office where he was responsible for all enforcement actions on behalf of the state; and

  • Brief and appellate argument before the United States Supreme Court (Illinois v. Lafayette) and other various appellate courts.


  • Notable Cases and Results:  
    Civil and Regulatory Litigation
  • Successfully defeated at trial $134 million consumer class action

  • Successfully obtained ruling at hearing to allow Soldier Field stadium to be renovated

  • $66 million jury verdict wrongful death verdict and tortious interference with inheritance

  • $2 million jury verdict in civil rights case

  • Liquidated New Jersey insurance company for State Department of Insurance

  • Summary judgment for public utilities in $7 billion tortious interference claim

  • At jury trial successfully minimized punitive damages against town official for civil rights violation

  • At hearing on behalf of a federal agency defeated $25 million legal fee claim

  • Successfully enjoined corporation from exercising "poison pill" to allow shareholder to acquire majority interest in corporation

  • Successfully obtained the transfer of artifacts of Harding Museum to Art Institute of Chicago

  • Successfully prevented disbarment and/or discipline for lawyer indicted for official misconduct

  • Successfully prevented disbarment and/or discipline for lawyer charged with breach of fiduciary duty to client

  • Defeated malpractice and breach of fiduciary claim for major law firm

  • Earned dismissal of malpractice suit against partner and major law firm

  • Successfully represented, at hearing, individuals and corporations in the dismissal of liquor license violations


  • Criminal
  • Brief and argument in United States Supreme Court, Illinois v. Lafayette

  • Jury trial murder acquittal in murder-for-hire case

  • Acquittal of law student of felony charges for aggravated battery of a police officer and a federal agent

  • At trial acquittal of developmentally disabled individual charged with first degree murder

  • Dismissal of indictment against President of oil company for felony motor fuel tax violation

  • Dismissal of indictment against President of Corporation for felony sales tax violation

  • Dismissal of felony charges against President of Company for failure to pay withholding taxes

  • Dismissal of indictment for lawyer charged with official misconduct

  • Dismissal of charges for elderly husband who euthanized wife

  • Convicted company and corporate officer for calculated criminal disposal of hazardous waste

  • Convicted federal fugitive of capital murder of policeman

  • Convicted couple in kidnapping murder of media heir


  • Gaming
  • Successfully acquired two of Illinois' 10 riverboat casino lcenses for clients

  • $50 million settlement of lawsuit counterclaim on behalf of casino managers

  • At trial successfully won $1.75 million verdict for shareholder excluded from distribution by casino owners

  • General representation of three of the 10 Illinois licensed casinos

  • Secured attorney general's opinion for manufacturer to sell electronic gaming devices intrastate

  • Injunction against Gaming Board from implementing unconstitutional special legislation provision

  • Injunction against Gaming Board for unconstitutional gaming regulation

  • Successfully won at hearing, reversal of revocation by Gaming Board of casino manager?s license

  • Settlement of lottery winners' dispute

  • Settled multimillion dollar construction dispute: Casino and barge construction company

  • Successfully represented corporation seeking Supplier License under Illinois riverboat Gaming Act

  • Represent multiple individuals and corporation seeking license and renewal of license before the Illinois Gaming Board

  • Successful Appellate Court verdicts reversing Gaming Board decisions

  • Settled dispute with Native American Tribe for client casino manager


  • Noteworthy Accomplishments:
  • General editor, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Prosecution of a Criminal Case

  • A principal draftsman of numerous Illinois statutes, including:
       Charitable Trust and Solicitation Act of 1989
       Crimes Against The Elderly
       Criminal Damage to the Environment
       Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism (Hate Crime)
       Home Repair Fraud Act
       State Benefit Fraud Act
  • Chairman of Criminal Law Committee of Chicago Bar Association

  • Member designee of the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority

  • Distinguished faculty member of National Colleges of District Attorneys

  • Published more than 20 articles on trial techniques, as well as lectured on trial techniques to more than 10,000 lawyers in 28 states

  • Numerous awards in recognition of service to law enforcement and government


  • Bar Admissions:  
    Illinois
    U.S. Supreme Court
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Circuits
    U.S. District Court for the Southern and Northern Districts of Illinois, including the Trial Bar


    Date of Birth:  1947

    Law School:  DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 1972
    Undergraduate School:  DePaul University, B.A., 1969

    Employment History:  
    Hopkins & Sutter, 1989-2001
    Illinois Attorney General's Office
      First assistant attorney general, 1988 to 1990
      Executive director, 1987 to 1988
      Chief of Charitable Trust Division, 1987 to 1988
      Director of Enforcement, 1985 to 1987
      Chief of Criminal Prosecutions and Trials, 1981 to 1985
    Cook County State's Attorney's Office
      Deputy state's attorney, chief of Criminal Prosecution Bureau, 1979 to 1981
      Chief of Felony Trial Division, 1978 to 1979
      Assistant state's attorney, 1972 to 1977

    Special Appointments:
    Special assistant, United State's Attorney
      Northern District of Illinois, 1982 to 1984
    Special prosecutor by chief judge to investigate state's attorney of Cook County, July 1990 to May 1992
    Special assistant, Illinois Attorney General
      Environmental Division, 1989 to 1990
      Trial Division, 1989 to 1991


    Bar/Professional Association Involvement:  
    Fellow, International Society of Barristers
    International Masters of Gaming Law
    Association of Trial Lawyers of America
    International Association of Gaming Attorneys
    National Association of Attorneys General
    Inns of Court

    Teaching Experience:
    The John Marshall Law School
      Former adjunct faculty member
    Northwestern University School of Law
      Former instructor
    Loyola University Chicago School of Law
      Former instructor
    Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education
      Former program director, general editor, statewide lecturer
    Chicago City Colleges
      Former faculty member

    Awards; Honors; Distinctions:
  • Board of Governors, International Society of Barristers

  • 2005 Top 100 Illinois Super Lawyers: Litigation

  • 2005-2009 Illinois Super Lawyers

  • 2006-2010 Best Lawyers in America: Gaming Law

  • Included in Gaming's Legal Eagles: A Guide to the World's Pre-Eminent Gaming Attorneys

  • Top Lawyers in Illinois by The Chicago Lawyer, 2004

  • Named a distinguished faculty member of the National College of District Attorneys


  • Published Legal Writing:  
    "Licensing Under the Illinois Video Gaming Act," Casino Enterprise Management

    Illinois chapter of International Casino Law, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Edition

    Illinois chapter of International Casino Law and Regulation, 4th Edition

    General editor, Illinois Attorney General Arson Training and Prosecution Manual

    General editor, Prosecution of a Criminal Case, Illinois Institute of Continuing Education

    Numerous articles involving trial techniques for the National College of District Attorneys:
      "Opening Statement," 4th Edition, 7th Edition
      "Trial Preparation, " 4th
      "Jury Selection," 4th, 5th
      "Direct Examination," 4th, 5th

    "Final Argument," IICLE, Prosecution of a Criminal Case

    "Prosecution of a Capital Case," IICLE, Prosecution of a Criminal Case


    1006245
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