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Sam Lawrence Amirante

Criminal defense Attorney at Palatine, IL

3.9   11 reviews
  • Licensed for 49 years
    State IL
    Acquired 1974
    Active and Authorized to Practice Law No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Sam

Learn Sam’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    If you or a loved one has been arrested and/or charged with a crime, we understand that you may be afraid and may not know where to turn. Sam Amirante has over 30 years of experience in the criminal court system and knows how to fight for you.

    49 years

  2. DUI and DWI
    Attorney Amirante has obtained dismissals and not-guilty verdicts in dozens of DUI cases where his client failed the breathalyzer test. If you have refused a breath test, our work as DUI defense attorneys is that much easier.

    49 years

  3. Violent crime
    Murder | Attempted murder | Aggravated assault | Manslaugher | Armed robbery | Gun crime | Hit & run | Kidnapping | Car jacking | If you have been charged with any crime, you need to call Attorney Amirante today.

    49 years

  4. Family
    Family law and divorce conflicts can be very stressful and emotional for everyone involved. Attorney Amirante understands this, so he will work diligently to protect your legal and financial interests during this difficult time.

    49 years

  5. Federal crime
    If you are charged with a federal crime, Attorney Amirante can help you weigh your options. Call now for a consultation.

    49 years

Sam L. Amirante, a retired Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County has returned to private practice, where he concentrates in the areas of criminal and civil litigation. While a Judge, Sam Amirante was assigned to the County's Third District Courthouse in Rolling Meadows for 13 years and 3 years in the City of Chicago, Judge Amirante carried out his duties with competence, integrity, dedication and compassion. A Chicago columnist, who dubbed Judge Amirante the Hugging Judge, noted that he occasionally directed youngsters in court to hug their parents after resolving matters which have caused an emotional break between them, usually evoking a round of applause from his courtroom. After his appointment to the bench in December, 1988, Judge Amirante presided over hundreds of jury and non-jury trials involving Felonies, Misdemeanors, Traffic, Domestic and Civil matters. He earned approval and praise from sundry citizens, government officials and court watchers.

Upon graduation from Loyola University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1970 Sam enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From 1970 to 1976 Sam honorably served in the United States Marine Corps on both active and reserve duty attaining the rank of Sergeant and Platoon Leader. While in boot camp he became the17th Marine in the long history of the Corps to receive a perfect 500 points on the tough Marine Corps physical fitness test. Sam is currently a member of the American Legion, Chicago Police Marine Corps League, Italian American War Veterans and various other veteran groups.

While on reserve duty, Sam earned his Juris Doctor Degree (JD) from Loyola University School of Law in 1974, graduating in the upper third of his class and was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. While attending school, he worked part-time as a policeman for the Village of Norridge. Following his admission to the Illinois Bar, he became an Assistant Public Defender participating as lead counsel in hundreds of felony and misdemeanor bench and jury trials. Sam eventually became the supervising attorney for all of Northwest Suburban Cook County. In 1978,Sam entered the private practice of law where he tried cases throughout the State of Illinois and other States and served for a Prosecutor for the Village of Norridge. That same year, together with Attorney Robert M. Motta, provided legal counsel for serial killer John Wayne Gacy. At the conclusion of the trial, the trial judge commended Amirante and Motta for the excellent legal defense they had provided during the 15-week long trial. Prior to Judge Amirante's appointment to the bench in 1988, he was a partner in the law firm of Amirante & Etchingham with offices in Park Ridge. In 1987, upon completion of the United States v. Jack Farmer trial in the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois the Court Buffs of Chicago reported in their December 10, 1987 Courtwatchers Newsletter: "Having observed the likes of BAILEY, BUGLIOSI, AND SPENCE PERFORM IN CHICAGO COURTROOMS, we can say the amicable AMIRANTE ranks with them."Sam is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois, the Federal and U.S. Supreme courts. He has appeared pro hoc vice on matters in Wisconsin, California, Michigan, Washington, Indiana, and Washington, D.C. 

He has served as a representative of the Illinois State Bar Association; Northwest Suburban Bar Association (past president); Italian American Bar Association; Illinois Judges Association; the Justinian Society of Lawyers; the Board of Special Olympics; Board Member of Our Lady of Pompeii Catholic Church in Chicago; Legal Technology Advisory Board at Harper College; the Arts and Science Alumni Association of Loyola University; National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame; the Italian American Political Coalition and Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans; Director and Legal Counsel for the Italian American Police Association; Director for the Little City Board; and as author of the Missing Child Act of 1984, commonly referred to as I-SEARCH; and authored the Loyola Law Review article George Orwell's 1984 Revisited, Police Abuse of Computers in the 20th Century; and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs as well as speaking engagements.

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Sam L. Amirante & Associates, PC
800 E. Northwest Hwy Ste #1095
Palatine, IL, 60074


3.9 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Ninev | April 26, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best Law Firm In Town!
Great team and hardworking group. They fought for me and did everything in their power to help, my case got dismissed. Treat you with integrity and respect. I trust this law firm and would highly recommend them to anyone who needs legal help!
Posted by anonymous | July 2, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly Recommend
I hired Amirante Law Offices and Hon. Sam Amirante and his team did an impeccable job representing me. I know that I would not have had the positive outcome that I had if it were not for the guidance, encouragement and support which were immeasurable. They never gave up on me or the case. His determination, leadership and finely tuned analytical skills, and hard work all was reflected with the positive outcome of my case. I would not hesitate to recommend your firm to anyone in need of a sound lawyer.
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Posted by anonymous | July 2, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
So happy I hired Sam!
I hired Sam Amirante after firing my 2 previous attorneys. My old attorneys told me, “You need to be realistic, your probably not going to win your case.” I hired Sam to beat my 2nd DUI case, he said to me, “I do these in my sleep”, and does he! He beat my second DUI and this was no easy case. It was a hit and run, on top of falling asleep in the middle of the highway. He beat everything for me! All I was left with was a ticket for improperly parked on the roadway! So happy I hired Sam and his team! If your having legal issues, hire Sam! He’s the best!!!
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Posted by Walter | July 2, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The Best
I’ve been knowing Sam for 10 plus years now, simply the best. Sam has handled multiple cases for myself and for family and friends. Always professional, respectful and just a great attorney overall. Great trial attorney, aggressive and his legal team is the same. I would recommend him for any legal issues
Posted by anonymous | June 20, 2014
Sam was great
I do computer maintenance and support on a contract basis. One client of mine rejected my advice on performing backups. When his office was hit by a power surge, he lost all of his company data. He sued me saying that it was my fault that the power surge shut down his business. Sam was able to get copies of e-mails, texts and receipts to show that I had made the correct recommendations, and he had overruled them as too expensive. Thanks to him, it was thrown out of court. The only ding is when he called me and asked for info; I was able to get it the next day. When I tried to call him with the info, I could not get hold of him for 2 days, as he was busy in court with another case. Overall, he was confident, quick and knowledgeable. A bit expensive, but well worth it..
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Posted by anonymous | June 17, 2014
Thank you Sam
I had the great fortune of meeting with Sam. I am extremely pleased with his knowledge and communication. He and his staff are very respectful of my situation. He is very patient, and gave me the time to understand what the process to remedy my case. For the first time, I am comfortable that he will represent me fairly. Thank you Sam and staff!
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Posted by Dennis | June 10, 2014
I met Sam a few years back, I Have used him and recommend his firm to everyone..It makes me laugh how people slam him when things don't always go perfect, or you don't get a "Get out of Jail free card", As far as calling back fast..Someone in His Office always called Back, Sam is In High Demand and I Personally Have walked through the court house with him and the amount of respect he receives is unreal, I have nothing but complete confidence in him and his firm, remember..the deal in Defense Law....and everybody one is ever guilty...
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Posted by anonymous | May 6, 2014
I would beg to differ
I would have to beg to differ from the two reviews on this board. I went to Mr. Amirante and his firm about ten months ago for a DUI. I called the office, in which, I actually spoke to his secretary. She asked me the required questions, such as, if this was an urgent matter, when I was arrested, when my court date was, etc. Once she got all that information she asked if I would be able to come in that day. I was in their office within hours later. I met with the Associate first, who expressed the steps and she explained in detailed the process. As I was never arrested, so had no clue what I was going to have to do. After meeting with the Associate, Mr. Amirante came in and introduced himself. I explained the situation and he said it was now in his hands, nothing to be nervous about. Mr. Amirante not only gave me his card but both his associates, and his and both of his associate's cellphone numbers. I received a letter within days of retaining the firm, welcoming me, reminding me of my court date, invoice, and filed papers that were my copies to keep. I have to say this is probably one of the most well-organized firms I had went to. ( I definitely shopped around before finding an attorney that fit.) I called a few times before my court date with questions I had. I left messages with the nice girl who answers the phones and asked to speak with one of the attorneys. She took my information down, and within the day I received a call back. My case moved fast. We went to hearing on my license before it was suspended and petition was won because Sam and his firm proved that there was no probable cause. I am very happy with my outcome and the representation this firm did on my behalf.
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Posted by anonymous | June 15, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Don’t trust this man.
I hired Sam for a speeding ticket. Paid him. He misinformed me regarding the states offer. He then tried taking advantage of me minutes before my next court date. Literally as we were walking in. He said I need to pay him an additional $500!! What!?! I wasn’t going to let him strong arm me. So I said no. He then said he’s withdrawing from the case and did. I basicaly had to start all over and got a better outcome representing myself. He talks a big game but can’t back anything up. Don’t waste your time with him. He just wants your money. Sam doesn’t care what happens to you.
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Posted by anonymous | June 7, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Not a pleasant experience
Trusting Sam and his law firm with our case was the worst mistake we could possible we make. We hired Sam but he handed us off to someone else that handled our whole case and then expected for us to pay double, him and the other firm. The results he got us in court were absolutely disgusting. I wish I could go back in time. The only procedure Sam was a part of was sentencing Day and he may as well have not been there because he just made matters worse. He basically took the money (and a hefty amount) and did nothing.
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Posted by anonymous | May 5, 2014
Stay away!!!
Where to begin...Sam will make a lot of empty promises at your consultation. He'll tell you about similar cases he had and brag how he was Gacy's defense lawyer and an ex-judge. After he gets your deposit he will be almost impossible to contact. In my case he/his associate showed up late to EVERY court date. The last court date I had he was OVER 2 hours late...Contacting him over the phone is next to impossible, if you do manage to get past the answering machine and speak to someone, you will get no answers to your questions and certainly will not get a call back. For the money I spent with this guy and the outcome of my case I would have preferred to just go with the public defender. I would have saved a lot of money and ended up with the exact same outcome. I actually considered firing him multiple times but due to my financial circumstances and how much money I had already given him(which I most certainly would have lost) I was basically forced to stick with him and hope for the best. Much like the other reviewer here, once it came time for the trial Sam pressured me into taking a plea bargain by telling me he doubted he could win the case, it would cost much more money, etc. PLEASE do yourself a favor if you value your freedom find another attorney. I lost a high paying job because of this man's incompetence, and I now have a felony on my record for a case that should have been relatively easy to win. Do not trust this guy. He is the very definition of a bottom feeding lawyer.
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Principal
  • Sam L. Amirante & Associates, PC
  • 2005 - Present
  • Part time Hearing officer
  • Village of Norridge
  • 2005 - 2008
  • Part time Hearing Officer
  • Village of Forest Park
  • 2005 - 2008
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Harper Community College
  • 1990 - 2005
  • Associate Judge
  • Circuit Court of Cook County, State of Illinois
  • 1988 - 2005
  • Partner
  • Amirante & Etchingham
  • 1980 - 1988
  • Attorney
  • Sam L. Amirante & Associates, PC
  • 1978 - 1980
  • Part time Village Prosecutor
  • Village of Norridge
  • 1978 - 1988
  • Attorney
  • Norwood Park Fire Protection District
  • 1975 - 1988
  • Assistant Public Defender trial supervisor
  • Cook County Public Defender's Office
  • 1974 - 1978
View all work experience


  • Loyola University School of Law
  • Juris Doctor
  • 1974
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1970

Legal Cases

  • People v Burlinski
  • People V Distassio
  • NOT Guilty all counts
  • People v Johnson
View all legal cases


  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Past President
  • N/A
  • Illinois Judges Association
  • N/A
  • Justinian Society of Lawyers
  • N/A
  • Italian American Police Association
  • Director and Legal Counsel
  • N/A
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • assembly member
  • 1990 - 2000
View all associations

Honors and Awards

  • Leading Lawyer
  • Leading Lawyers Network
  • 2015
  • Leading Lawyer
  • Leading Lawyers Network
  • 2014
  • Leading Lawyer
  • Leading Lawyers Network
  • 2013
  • Ridgewood Foundation Alumni Hall of Fame
  • Ridgewood High School
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • Roast and Toast Award- Dedication and Service
  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • 2010
  • Leonardo da Vinci Award- Jurisprudence
  • Order of Sons of Italy in America
  • 2002
  • Who's Who
  • Strathmore
  • 2002
  • Leadership and Achievement
  • Strathmore's Who's Who
  • 2001
  • 4 chaplains Award for service to humanity
  • Chapel of the 4 Chaplains
  • 2000
  • Certificate of Achievement
  • American Academy of Judicial Education
  • 1996
View all awards


  • James Publishing publication
  • 2015
  • 2012
  • Loyola Law Review
  • George Orwell's 1984 Revisited, Police Abuse of Computers in the 20th Century
  • N/A

Speaking Engagements

  • Law Day
  • John Gacy Trial
  • 2014
  • DuPage County Bar Association Mega Meeting
  • Trial of High Profile cases
  • 2013

Attorney endorsements

Received (9)
Given (1)
Endorse Sam
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Sam Amirante is a top notch attorney who is well respected by the entire legal community. This is an attorney that I would trust my family members and closest friends to, and whom I proudly endorse!"
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Sam Amirante is a great lawyer with formidable legal skills; strongly liked and respected by the lawyers and judges in the legal community. This is an attorney that I absolutely endorse!"
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer I have practiced before him for years as he was a judge and always found him to be prepared, knowledgable and fair. As well, after his resignation from the bench, I have referred all of my clients in need of criminal defense to Sam as i know him to be one of the best in that field and as everyone I have referred has been very happy with his services."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Sam Amirante is a highly experienced attorney with an outstanding reputation within the legal field. Sam takes pride in being informative, offering personal attention to his clients, and allowing for those clients to feel assured they are in good hands. I have had the privilege of learning from Sam and I am a better lawyer because it. I strongly endorse Sam Amirante for any criminal legal matter."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I enthusiastically endorse this lawyer. He is a fantastic attorney and is tenacious and fearless. I have complete confidence when I refer my clients to him that he will obtain the best result for them that the facts and law will allow."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 20
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"A genius-class cross-examiner. I've never seen better. I enthusiastically endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 11
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Sam Amirante is a knowledgeable, savvy trial attorney. He provides his clients with the zealousness that one would expect from an attorney of Sam's quality and experience. As a member of both the trial bar and a former judge...he really provides his clients with the highest quality representation possible."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 07
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Sam has a wealth of experience, from his years 40 years in criminal law both as a judge an as an attorney, and it shows in his uncanny ability to get his client great results. His reputation amongst his peers and judges as an aggressive and well-versed litigator is greatly deserved. I have the utmost respect for this attorney!"
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 21
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer. I have known the Honorable Sam Amirante for about 20 years. Sam will fight for his clients. Many people do not know that Sam has the perfect combination of experience as a lawyer as United States Marine, former Judge and respected lawyer he has great experience and has earned respect. I have seen him in action. You want Sam on your side."
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Palatine Criminal defense Lawyer Sam Lawrence Amirante
Sam Lawrence Amirante
Criminal defense Attorney
Palatine, IL
Licensed for 49 years