Mike Leonard is a highly regarded trial lawyer with a national reputation. His practice encompasses Federal and State criminal cases, as well as civil matters related to employment, whistleblowing, retaliation, qui tam (False Claims Act), commercial and business disputes, and personal injury. With a career spanning three decades, Mike has extensive experience as a courtroom trial attorney and litigator.
Mike has achieved remarkable success in his practice. He is notably the only currently practicing attorney known to have obtained six or more complete not guilty jury verdicts on all counts and charges in Federal criminal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. His recent Federal criminal jury trials include multiple not guilty verdicts, a dismissal of all charges during trial, and a mistrial. In fact, he secured one of the few Federal criminal not guilty jury verdicts in the Northern District of Illinois in 2020.
In civil trials, Mike has achieved equally impressive results in Illinois State courts, including Cook, Kane, DuPage, and Lake Counties, as well as Federal courts nationwide, spanning states such as Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Virginia. His clients have obtained favorable outcomes before juries in cases involving employment discrimination, retaliation/whistleblowing, securities fraud, civil rights violations, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and various other commercial claims.
Mike’s outstanding trial skills have earned him recognition as an exceptional attorney by esteemed publications and organizations, including Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, American’s Top Criminal Defense Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and America’s Top High Stakes Litigators.
Throughout his career, Mike has litigated and tried cases in numerous Federal and State jurisdictions beyond Illinois, including Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Kansas, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, California, and Oregon. He has also handled appeals and presented arguments before various appellate courts, such as the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh, Tenth, Ninth, and Sixth Circuits, as well as multiple Illinois State Appellate Courts, the California Court of Appeals, and the Idaho Supreme Court.
In addition to his litigation practice, Mike frequently advises and represents clients in employment-related matters, such as discrimination claims, retaliatory discharge, False Claims Act/qui tam cases, employment contracts, and separation agreements.
As a testament to his expertise, Mike serves as an Adjunct Professor of Trial Practice at the prestigious Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where he has taught for an extended period. He is also a sought-after lecturer and instructor, sharing his knowledge and insights on the art and science of trial practice.
Mike earned his law degree from Loyola (Chicago) School of Law in 1991, where he was a member of the Trial Team and the Law Journal. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa.