Jorge Cazares is a Partner in Pugh, Jones & Johnson's Litigation Practice Group. His practice includes the representation of clients in contract and business disputes, defamation, major personal injury defense, civil rights, employment discrimination, labor arbitrations, local governmental defense, RICO, bankruptcy, real estate and commercial litigation matters.
Mr. Cazares rejoined the Firm after serving as General Counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority. As the first Latino to serve as General Counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority, Mr. Cazares oversaw all of the agency’s legal affairs and provided advice and counsel to the CHA’s Board of Commissioners, senior management and employees. Mr. Cazares also supervised a staff of over 50 employees which included over 20 in-house lawyers who provided legal assistance on the complicated and sophisticated real estate and finance transactions involved in creating mixed income communities. The Legal Department also represented the CHA in litigation matters, ranging from personal injury lawsuits to decades-old federal court consent decrees to providing advice and counsel on compliance with HUD and other regulatory requirements.
Mr. Cazares also served as the Chicago Housing Authority's Ethics Officer in charge of supervising compliance with the agency’s ethics policies as well as other applicable Federal and State ethics policies. Additionally, Mr. Cazares supervised the agency’s Office of the Inspector General, which investigated reports of possible fraud and waste of CHA’s resources by the agency’s employees, residents or contractors. He also supervised the agency’s ADA compliance department as well as its One-Strike Program.
Prior to his tenure at the Chicago Housing Authority, Mr. Cazares practiced at Pugh, Jones & Johnson since 1992. He has tried various jury and bench trials and has argued before the United Stated Circuit Court of Appeals and the Illinois Court of Appeals.
- Representation of transportation company in qui tam complaint asserting various claims under the False Claim Act and the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act.
- Conducted internal investigation on behalf of Fortune 500 manufacturer into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination by various female employees.
- Representation of commuter rail line in F.E.L.A. matters before the United States District Court and Illinois state courts.
- Representation of major petroleum entity in eminent domain matters in Cook and surrounding counties. As former Special Assistant Attorney General, he also represented the State of Illinois in prosecuting eminent domain matters for various State of Illinois entities including IDOT.
- Secured summary judgment for client in gender and race discrimination case wherein plaintiff alleged that he was passed over for promotion, disciplined and terminated because he was an African-American male.
- Defense of major not-for-profit entity of an employee's claim of defamation after being accused of removing computers from the employer's premises without authorization.
- Secured summary judgment for major telephone company in a telecommunications toll fraud case.
- Obtained an Order of Replevin without notice in state court within hours of filing the Complaint. Such extraordinary relief is rarely granted without notice due to the high burden imposed by courts before summary seizure of the property can be justified.
Mr. Cazares has participated as a panel member in various professional organizations. He has received several awards and has been recognized for his work for various charitable organizations. Mr. Cazares was named a 2011 Business Leader of Color by Chicago United. Mr. Cazares has been selected as a Leading Lawyer in 2012 by the Leading Lawyers Network.
Prior Work History
Exelon Corporation, Chicago, Illinois - Litigation Counsel - Summer - 2005
Temporarily served as in-house litigation counsel for Exelon Business Services in the area of tort and contract disputes; represented various employees and business units of parent company Exelon Corporation; managed and supervised outside counsel retained to represent Commonwealth Edison Company.
Altheimer & Gray, Chicago, Illinois – Associate - 1990 -1992
Member of Institutional Lending, Workout and Insolvency/Bankruptcy Group. Representation of creditors, debtors and trustees in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy proceedings and insolvency workout agreements.
McKenna, Storer, Rowe, White & Farrug, Chicago, Illinois – Summer Associate - 1989
Research and wrote legal memoranda primarily in the area of tort litigation; attended and drafted summaries of depositions; drafted motions and supporting memoranda of law.
Charles A. Boyle & Associates, Ltd., Chicago, Illinois – Spring Law Clerk - 1989
Research and wrote legal memoranda; drafted motions and pleadings; maintained files; interacted with clients and filed documents in state court.
Altheimer & Gray, Chicago, Illinois - Litigation Legal Assistant - 1986 – 1988
Drafted pleadings, motions, affidavits, 1986-1987 and correspondence; proofread and shepardized memoranda of law; abstracted depositions; organized, indexed and maintained discovery documents and case files; prepared trial exhibits; prepared bankruptcy pleadings; appeared in court to enter orders and answer status calls.
American Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
Member, Federal Trial Bar, Northern District of Illinois
Member, St. Ignatius College Prep. Law Society
Arbitrator, Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program
Member, Yale University Alumni School Committee
Member, Loyola University Latino Alumni Board
Member and President of the Board of Directors, Gads Hill Center
Member, Loyola University School of Law, Alumni Board of Governors
Member and Vice President, Santa Lucia School Board
Contributor, Seventh Circuit Writer; Newsletter on Pretrial Practice & Discovery, ABA Section of Litigation, Committee on Pretrial Practice & Discovery, 1995-1997
Co-contributor, Bankruptcy Case Abstracts, Commercial, Banking & Bankruptcy Law, Illinois State Bar Association, Vol. 35, No. 3, April, 1991
Co-contributor, Bankruptcy Case Abstracts, Quarterly Report on Current Developments in Real Estate Law, ABA Section on Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Committee on Decisions, 1990-1991
Loyola University School of Law, J.D., 1990
Yale University, B.A., 1985
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, C.D. of Illinois
U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois, including the Trial Bar
U.S. Supreme Court
Profiled in 2011 Business Leaders of Color