Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
John C. Sciaccotta is a litigator, arbitrator, and mediator at Aronberg Goldgehn. His primary practice area is business litigation, ADR and business transactional matters for family businesses and their owners.
With over 35 years of trial, litigation & arbitration experience, John has counseled and advocated for domestic and foreign business entities, lenders, employers, municipalities, government bodies, and individuals in transactional matters and litigation and arbitration disputes.
Outside of his firm, John is an active member of the Chicago Bar Association and was recently elected as Second Vice-President.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
Staying active in the legal and justice community allows my practice to evolve.
As a longtime, committed member of the Chicago Bar Association, I was recently elected as Second Vice President and have been able to grow both my own and fellow attorneys’ legal education through various workshops, seminars, and committees. We’ve covered various business divorce topics, how to conduct mock cross-examinations, professional responsibility overviews, and trial components.
Also, through bar associations and other not-for-profit activities such as board service, I’ve established important relationships via Zoom, telephone, email, social media, text, and other methods of communication.
In addition to staying active in different legal organizations, I recently completed the Harvard Law School executive education course on negotiation and leadership. Sharpening and honing these important skills allows me to better serve my valued clients.
Finally, I have been appointed as a neutral arbitrator and mediator for many years to resolve and arbitrate business-related disputes. I serve on the commercial panel of the American Arbitration Association’s National Roster of Arbitrators.
What is one piece of technology you could not function without?
WhatsApp is great! I have also successfully utilized all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to communicate and establish and enhance relationships.
How do you manage your well-being?
Being a lawyer in today’s world is a 24/7 endeavor. It is all-consuming. Clients expect and demand instant responses and feedback. You have to distance yourself and clear your mind. Exercise and sporting activities (golf) allow me to “get away” for a short time from the constant pressure and grind. Also, bar association activity and involvement helps me manage my well-being and connect meaningfully with friends and colleagues.
How do you remain civil in tense situations?
Relying on the legal education I have received and staying confident in my abilities as an attorney allows me to remain civil in tense situations. I also rely on my training and experience in negotiation, arbitration, and mediation.
My mentor gave me some great advice; he would say in tense situations, “If it will feel good to you to say, don’t say it.” Also, always take a deep breath (do not always react immediately) before preparing (or at least sending) a letter or email in the heat of battle.
How can attorneys advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession?
Recruiting, developing, retaining, and promoting talented individuals who have been historically underrepresented in law is paramount to me and key in enacting true change.
As the founding member of the firm’s DEI Committee, I believe it is important to collaborate and embrace many different experiences, viewpoints, and ideas to foster an inclusive workplace.
In collaboration with the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, Aronberg Goldgehn works to coordinate firmwide implicit bias training, launch initiatives focused on recruiting diverse associates, sponsor webinars, and more.
We are also pursuing Midsize Mansfield Certification as a member of the March 2022 cohort.
What is an attorney’s role in furthering public confidence in the rule of law?
We as lawyers must protect the Rule of Law in every instance. This is the bedrock of our legal profession. We must, as guardians, members, and trustees of our legal profession, pursue all of the necessary and required steps to ensure that the public has confidence in our legal system and that the system is fair and just for all.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
I would advise young lawyers to get involved in their firms and their local, charitable, and legal communities including bar association activities.
The bar association experience and the relationships I have made have enriched my life and enhanced my legal career.
There are always opportunities, learning and otherwise, available once you put yourself out there. Make friends in the practice of law and establish relationships.
What do you think is the biggest challenge impacting lawyers today?
First is the impact of remote work on the mentoring process for younger lawyers. It is challenging, and we must focus on the mentoring and training process more than ever.
Remote working is here to stay, and we must create environments to maintain the training of younger lawyers.
What do you do for fun?
I like to spend time with family and friends, golf, exercise, travel, and volunteer and serve on the boards of many charitable organizations.
Please note: This Q&A has been edited due to space constraints
Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys like John Sciaccotta here.