John Gallo became one of the founding partners of Gair Gallo Eberhard LLP on November 1, 2023, focusing his practice on white-collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation.
From October 2017 through October 2023, John Gallo served as the CEO and Executive Director of Legal Aid Chicago, formerly known as the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. Legal Aid Chicago is one of the largest civil legal-aid organizations in the Midwest. During John’s tenure as CEO, Legal Aid Chicago nearly doubled in size—both in terms of its staff size (now 231) and its revenue (now on track for $24 million in 2023). This increase in size resulted in 2022 of its serving a record number of clients—close to 11,000. Those services cover the landscape of civil legal needs in Cook County, and include representation in housing, consumer, employment, immigration, domestic-violence, family, education, child-welfare, public benefits, healthcare, and criminal-expungement matters. During John’s tenure, the organization tripled the volume of pro bono services performed in conjunction with Legal Aid Chicago’s work. John also led efforts to create a wholly-owned subsidiary—Legal Action Chicago—which in the last few years has become a leader in the city, county, and state on class-action and policy matters.
Prior to joining Legal Aid Chicago in October 2017, John was a partner at Sidley Austin LLP for twenty-one years. He was Firmwide Co-Chair of Sidley’s White Collar Practice from 2010 to 2017, and Head of Litigation in Sidley’s Chicago Office from 2014 to 2017. While at Sidley, he represented institutional clients in criminal and civil matters before federal and state agencies, and conducted internal investigations for those clients in response to allegations of wrongdoing. He also represented individual clients in criminal matters. Such clients included Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
In 2005, John created Sidley’s Capital Litigation Project, designed to ensure that inmates incarcerated on Alabama’s death row had effective legal representation, perhaps for the first time since their arrest. In connection with this project, Sidley has represented 23 Alabama prisoners. Since the Project’s inception, more than 185 Sidley lawyers and legal assistants have volunteered more than 153,000 hours to these cases. Multiple clients are no longer on death row, and one client has been exonerated and released. In 2007, the American Bar Association gave Sidley the Pro Bono Publico Award for the firm’s work on this project.
From 2000 to 2017, John served as Trial Counsel to the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, the body responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by Illinois judicial officers. In that capacity, John was responsible both for investigating complaints and prosecuting cases before the Illinois Courts Commission.
From 1989 to 1996, John served as a Criminal Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, and from 1994 to 1996, he also served as a Deputy Chief. From 1994 until his departure from the office in 1996, John was the lead prosecutor in the public-corruption investigation commonly known as “Operation Silver Shovel.”
From 1986 to 1988, John clerked for the Honorable Ann C. Williams in federal district court in Chicago. He is a 1986 graduate of Harvard Law School and a 1983 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Since 2002, John as served as an Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame Law School. From 2002 to 2017, John taught Federal Criminal Practice.
John and his wife Jeanne have been married for 38 years and are long-time residents of Oak Park. They have four adult children and four grandchildren.