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Firm History

Barry Goldberg wants to stress that the law firm he founded wasn’t built overnight. It has taken many years of hard work and determination.

The Goldberg twins, Barry & Barth, along with their brother Jerome, founded Goldberg & Goldberg, which opened in 1967. The firm has concentrated on medical malpractice, with a special interest in litigation concerning catastrophically brain injured children and obstetrical malpractice ever since.

The firm has tried to verdict or settled cases in more than 25 states, and our lawyers are licensed to practice before the bars of Illinois, Florida, Colorado, New York, Arizona, Wisconsin and California.

Our partners have obtained more than 175 separate verdicts or settlements in excess of at least $1 million with an aggregate total of more than $1 billion.  And we are not slowing down.  In 2023 alone, the firm’s partners obtained three separate multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of our clients, including a $25 million verdict in Cook County, Illinois.  In 2023 alone, our lawyers recovered close to $100 million in verdicts and settlements alone.

“We handle cases that are very tragic and we come up against the finest medical minds and legal minds in the country,” Barth Goldberg, our late founding partner said.  “Medical Malpractice is a very sophisticated area and requires a great command of medicine and law. We are always challenged and always learning. I don’t think there is ever a minute when you are bored.”

We love what we do, and the firm is more vibrant and energetic than ever.

“Our firm has brought in new and talented lawyers to help with the workload and to ensure a presence for many years in the future when, and if, this Goldberg ever decides to retire, which by the way is never happening,” Barry says. In addition to Barry, the firm’s partners include Ian R. Alexander, Michael J. Cox, Katrina Taraska Simon, Martin Preiser and Joseph Preiser.  The firm continues to honor the legacy of its late partners Jerome Goldberg, Barth H. Goldberg and Peter N. Nicholson who have had and continue to have a profound impact on the firms style and culture.

Those who know our firm describe us as tenacious, fearless, bright and often relentless in fighting for our clients’ cases.

“If we elect to take your case, you know it is going to be pursued zealously and it’s going to be uncompromised at every stage,” Barry says. “We fight until the end.”

The Roots of the Firm

Born on Chicago’s North Side, the Goldberg twins’ father was in the liquor business and owned several liquor stores throughout the North Side. After their father died when they were age 13, their mother moved the family to Miami Beach, Fla.

Beginning their senior year of high school, they owned and operated Twin Tours, a travel agency that specialized in taking tourists’ children on day trips to Miami area attractions. They also sold encyclopedias door-to-door beginning in the summer of 1957, and did that for several summers thereafter.

“We were poor kids,” Barth says. “We had to work from age 13 until this moment … Entrepreneurial to me is sort of a luxury position where you get to develop a business and watch it grow. For us it was hunger — when you go into it to make money so that you can live.”

Becoming Lawyers

Walking together in their caps and gowns after graduation from the University of Miami they asked each other what they should do next.

But before either could answer, their mother chimed in that they would be going to law school because she didn’t believe people could do anything with only one degree, and she was fascinated by the legal profession.

After graduating from the University of Miami Law School, the twins returned in 1965 to Chicago.

Barth worked in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office for several years. Barry worked as in-house counsel for the Atchison, Topika and Santa Fe Railroad from 1965 to 1966; and he then worked from 1966 to 1967 for the Law Offices of Herzl Levine, whom he says was the only Chicago lawyer he knew who handled plaintiff’s medical malpractice cases at that time.

Jerome and Barth started the firm, and Barry joined them shortly after.

“We were doing malpractice cases before most of the people now who are doing it were out of school, grammar school,” Barry says. “We grandfathered this whole area of practice.”

He says the malpractice area has changed over the years.

“It used to be that you could try cases with your opponents and not only were you civil, but afterwards you were friends,” Barry says. “Now it’s much more difficult. Unfortunately, there is lack of civility because of the high stakes involved.”

Retired Cook County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Locallo describes Goldberg & Goldberg as a team of talented trial lawyers who are very thorough in how they work up a case.

“At one time I would say the defense bar probably didn’t appreciate their thoroughness because they would depose everyone,” Locallo says. “They have success in their preparation and ability to know the medicine. And they are not afraid to try a case.”

Making an Impression

Barry says he had the first Illinois million-dollar malpractice settlement and verdict in 1974 in Bonnie Cistaro v. Sisters of St. Mary.

And they say many of their cases resulted in changes to rules or laws.

For example, in Frankie Nelson v. the City of Chicago, the case resulted in the city requiring playgrounds be built on a soft foam-like material to help prevent accidents.

Bruso v. Alexian Brothers Hospital was an Illinois Supreme Court case that resulted in extending the statute of limitations for those who suffer brain damage. Bruso gives brain-injured people the unlimited right to file a lawsuit as long as they are still suffering from the disability.

And Jackson v. Michael Reese Hospital & Medical Center helped to establish the law of spoliation of evidence.

“We’ve been involved in many cases that have been on the cutting edge of the law, and have successfully broadened as well as created new laws protecting the rights of the injured,” Barry says.

Barry holds the one-time largest personal injury verdict in Illinois, with Proctor v. Upjohn Co. – a drug liability case that resulted in a $127 million verdict. The verdict was the largest personal injury verdict in Illinois for more than 25 years and is still the largest product liability verdict in Illinois. It is also one of the largest drug products cases in United States history. It also resulted in the largest punitive damages award in Illinois.

“[Barry] did a marvelous job on this,” says Leonard L. Levin, the judge who tried this case. “I don’t know how he won the case, but he won the case. It was a very difficult case. He did everything right. His direct examination was wonderful. His opening statement was wonderful … He handled himself magnificently before the jury.”

When discussing plans for the future, Gokldberg makes his intentions abundantly clear.

“I intend to keep working,” Barry says. “This is my real passion. It’s my only passion. There really is nothing I love doing more than trying cases and being in the courtroom.”

Ian R. Alexander, a partner at Goldberg & Goldberg, has worked with the firm for over 25 years and says it’s been a “real learning experience at the hands of true masters.”

Barry, Alexander says, has a philosophy that the deposition is the trial. Before the rules changed, he had depositions that lasted for days. The firms philosophy is to investigate every scenario, ask every question and to never be suprised.

“Barry is the most tenacious, driven person I’ve ever met,” Alexander says. “One thing I learned from Barry about trying cases is that at Goldberg & Goldberg we are never out-gunned. We routinely go up against corporations and hospitals that hire law firms with unlimited resources and we are never going to be outspent. If they have 10 experts, then we have 20. It’s really resource intensive. Defense lawyers love us or hate us, but they all respect us.”

The firm has moved into the modern era, but has refused to leave the past behind.  We know and understand that there might be more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, but our way is more time intensive, more detail oriented and thorough than any of the other ways.  That’s how we do it, that’s how we have always done it and that’s how we will continue to do it in the future.  “The technology has changed” Alexander says, “but the philosophy that has allowed us to achieve justice for our clients has not.  Hard work, technical dedication to our craft and courtroom magic continues to bear fruit in 2024 and beyond.”

Client Reviews

“You won't find a group of attorneys that will be more dedicated to your case, and doing all the research needed to effectively present it. I especially know the qualifications of Joseph Preiser, one of Goldberg's very successful attorneys. Highly recommend them to one and all.”

Gary Myers

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