Thomas Manzella

Thomas J. Manzella

Phone: 888-BLOCKLAW, 815-726-9999, 312-307-7999
Fax: 815-727-6378
E-mail: manzella@blocklaw.com

Some attorneys like arguing.  Some attorneys like conflict.  Some attorneys like sitting behind a desk.  Some attorneys prefer to avoid risk and settle a case.  Just like each client and case are different; each attorney is different.

The choice I made early in my career was to be a trial attorney.  To me, that means an attorney that will go to court, stand beside you and fight for the compensation that you deserve in front of a jury.  A trial attorney is not someone who settles all cases on the courtroom steps on the eve of trial nor someone who tries to convince you that going to trial is too risky.  In all fairness, there are times when a settlement offer may be in a client’s best interest both financially and emotionally.  In those circumstances, I will take the time to explain the offer to you, answer your questions, make a recommendation and explain what the risks are of trial compared to the rewards.  Although as the attorney I will make a recommendation, it is always the client’s decision whether to settle their case or proceed to trial.

Since our firm exclusively handles injury cases, we often see clients at their worst.  They are hurt, a family member is hurt, someone has died.  Medical bills pile up, insurance companies are calling, they can’t work or pay their bills.  I have yet to have someone sit across from me for a consultation and tell me how terrific their life is going.  When a client comes into my office to talk, it’s usually because they have become overwhelmed and frustrated with an insurance company and the unfamiliar system that seems to be stacked against them.  Whether it’s a car wreck, premises liability case, construction injury, medical negligence case or other type of case where you have been injured as the result of someone else’s fault (negligence), I can help you.

You won’t see me or members of our firm on daytime TV commercials or billboards with cheesy smiles and catchy phone numbers.  We have a dedicated team of attorneys that have chosen to live and work locally and have spent years representing members of the Will County and Grundy County communities.  That said, we routinely handle cases in Cook County, and the other collar counties (DuPage, Kankakee, Kane and LaSalle to name a few).  Being an attorney licensed in Illinois means we can handle cases in any Illinois venue.  It just so happens that a majority of our practice is in our own backyard, or more specifically, front yard as the Will County Courthouse is across the street from our office.

As for me, I am a former Division I College Athlete, attending the University of Nebraska on a wrestling scholarship.  Hall of Fame wrestler, coach and gold medal Olympian Dan Gable was quoted as saying “once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”  I can’t disagree.  Being a trial attorney involves dedication, discipline and competition from the beginning of your case until the end.  It doesn’t mean always arguing and fighting with the insurance company, judge or opposing counsel.  Often our dealings with the other side are cordial.  However, when a fight is necessary, that is what you will get.  What it does mean is putting your client first and preparing the case from Day 1 as if it will be presented to a jury.  That is the only mindset I have in my client’s cases.  Statistically, over 95% of cases will settle.  However, working on each case with the dedication and discipline it takes to prepare the case for a jury trial leads to higher settlements and larger jury awards.

Attorneys are required to participate in Continuing Legal Education, which means we have to earn 30 hours of continuing education credit every 2 years.  There are many options to earn these credits.  Early on in my career I became associated with the American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA) which is a national association of Plaintiff’s Trial Attorneys.  As a young attorney I attended conventions, seminars and workshops that helped me become a more skilled trial attorney.  The workshops are interactive and allow you to work on different areas of a trial- jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examinations, examinations of expert witnesses and closing statements.  I also attended workshops perfecting deposition skills and strategies, and have used focus groups to better understand my client’s cases from a juror’s perspective.  About 7 years ago I was asked to become a faculty member for AAJ and have taught, presented and worked with other attorneys working on their trial skills.  As far as I am aware, I am the only Will County attorney who is on the AAJ faculty.  Teaching trial techniques to other attorneys from across the nation has given me a much greater appreciation and understanding of what it takes to be a successful Plaintiff’s trial attorney.  You definitely learn more by teaching than just listening.

In conclusion, after 18 years of practice, dozens of trials, hundreds of hours of continuing education, thousands of depositions and countless hours of counseling clients through their toughest of times has made me the person and attorney that I am today.  If you want to know more about how I can help you, all it takes is that first call.

Practice Areas

  • Personal Injury
  • Workers Compensation

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of practice devoted to litigation

Education

  • University Of Nebraska (Division I Wrestling Scholarship)
  • Lewis University (B.A. Business Administration, 1996)
  • DePaul University College of Law (J.D. 2000)

Bar Admissions

  • State of Illinois, 2001
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2001

Bar Memberships/Associations

  • Will County Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice