Joel's practice is concentrated in complex corporate and business litigation. His approach to litigation emphasizes that the client must have a cost-effective resolution of the controversy. To accomplish this, Joel emphasizes full understanding of the client’s business problems and total preparedness in the matters on which he counsels. He has served a variety of public and closely-held corporate clients. Many of the clients he has served in litigation have made him their general counsel, placed him on their boards of directors, and assigned him substantial subsequent work.
Joel has an international reputation as a litigator, having handled cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States, including the Supreme Court of the United States, and also appearing in the courts of Switzerland. Among the other matters in which he has litigated disputes are:
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Employee benefits
- Products liability
Joel has also frequently been retained to represent major law firms, and their partners, when they themselves have become parties in litigation.
Among many other professional distinctions in Joel’s career, the U.S. District Court in Chicago gave special commendation, together with an award of enhanced fees, to a team of lawyers of which he was lead counsel, for their work in a case involving complex issues of securities law in the merger of the Crown Zellerbach Corporation. Joel was also the American lawyer for the City of Prague, Czechoslovakia, and he served for more than a decade as a member of the Character and Fitness Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court.
Before joining the firm, Joel became a partner at Aaron, Schimberg & Hess in 1966, and became head of its litigation department in 1969.
Joel is a recognized leader in the cause of human rights. In 1992, President Clinton conferred upon Joel the Brandeis Award for Distinction in the Law. Joel has been awarded an AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethical standards and legal ability. He is a Leading Lawyer in Illinois and was named to the Illinois Super Lawyers list.
Joel took a leadership role in the Jewish Community after returning from a visit to the Soviet Union as part of an ACLU delegation and has undertaken numerous international missions on behalf of the Jewish Community.
He publishes columns in the Chicago Sun-Times and has authored many articles on human rights and other legal subjects, including “The Night of the Murdered Poets,” a study of the murder of Jewish writers by the Soviet Government, and “The Paradox of the Professor and the Police,” a plea for safeguarding the rights of defendants in criminal cases.
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- Yale Law School (1958)
- Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism (1955)
- State - Illinois
- American Bar Association Member and Past Chair, Libel and Privacy Subcommittee
- Illinois State Bar Association Member
- Chicago Bar Association Member and Past Chair, Mental Health Committee
- Hunter Corporation Member, Board of Directors
- Association of Trial Lawyers of America Member
- First Bank of Highland Park Member, Board of Directors
- George J. London Memorial Hospital Foundation Member, Board of Directors
- Jewish Institute on National Security Affairs Vice-President
- Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council Chair Emeritus