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Ethan G. Zelizer

Wrongful termination Attorney at Chicago, IL

4.9   139 reviews

Licensed for 19 years

Virtual consultation available

About Ethan

Learn Ethan’s areas of practice.

5
Practice areas

Ethan G. Zelizer is a nationally respected employment and labor law attorney, senior certified human resources professional and a certified labor relations professional, based in Chicago, Illinois. Ethan has extensive experience working with both management and employees.

He has extensive experience representing and advising employers in various industries including financial services, aerospace, manufacturing, and food distribution, in all aspects of labor and employment law. He regularly appears before federal and state courts, federal arbitration panels, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Illinois Department of Human Rights, and the Human Rights Commission. Ethan specializes in compliance with non-competition agreements and other restrictive covenants. He regularly appears in federal and state courts across the country to litigate non-competition, non-solicitation, and trade secret misappropriation matters. Ethan has expertise with federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws as well as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

He also assists clients with issues relating to:

* Corporate reorganizations

* Reductions-in-force

* Mergers and acquisitions  

* Drug and alcohol policies and issues

* Employee handbooks and policies

* Union grievances and unfair labor charges

* Social media issues

Although Ethan represents clients in all industries, he is an industry-specialist in finanical services, logistics, pharmaceuticals and aerospace.  Ethan teaches Labor and Employment law and Negotiations at Loyola University Chicago and coaches the University's Negotiations Team. He regularly speaks on a variety of employment law topics for clients and organizations and has given presentations on employee misclassification issues and harassment training, among other issues. Ethan has held various offices for the Chicago and American Bar Associations and serves as an editor on bar and industry-related publications. Ethan loves what he does and loves doing it better today than yesterday. He's a dad to three beautiful children, husband to an amazing wife & an employment lawyer. He helps employers and employees solve all sorts of legal problems. 

Client's Choice 2022
Client's Choice

Avvo

Top Contributor 2015
Top Contributor

Avvo

Photos and videos

Licensed for 19 years
State IL
Status Active And Authorized To Practice Law
Acquired 2003
Updated 10/11/2022

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

Contact Ethan

HR Law Counsel, LLC
HR Law Counsel, LLC
29 S. Webster Street
Suite 350-C
Naperville, IL, 60540
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Reviews

4.9 / 5.0
  139 customer reviews
5 Star
 
99%
4 Star
 
0%
3 Star
 
0%
2 Star
 
0%
1 Star
 
1%
Client's Choice 2022
Client's Choice
Ethan received a significant number of 4+ stars in 2022
Posted by anonymous | January 18, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Empathetic and Unrelenting "Bulldog"
I first met Ethan in late 2016 due to a breach of employment contract. I was a President recruited to turnaround a recently acquired subsidiary in the market where I lived. The contract contained a back-end LTI on sale of company, which was to occur in 18-24 months. After much of the heavy lifting completed over 8 months, the company decided to switch gears: and demanded I take a reduction in pay, title and cancellation of the LTI. I said no, and was terminated. I carefully reviewed my employment contract, and started searching for legal advice. Ethan's positive review history led to our initial phone call. After the first call and subsequent live meeting, Ethan put himself in my shoes; and "walked the walk". He explained his own personal experiences that aligned very closely with my own. He helped me through the disbelief, anger, and loss of self-worth I was feeling. The communication was excellent via phone, text, and email, and Ethan was almost always available when I needed him. He was very careful to explain legal jargon and options, and had unwavering support for me. After months of negotiating across multiple venues in 2 states, Ethan was able to negotiate a settlement on my behalf. My family and I are so appreciative of Ethan's efforts, and would highly recommend him to anyone that needs his services. He's the big brother you need to stand up for you.
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Posted by Sue | March 26, 2015
Everything you could ask for in an advocate
Ethan represented me against my former employer who I alleged discriminated against me. I was a Junior VP, an 8-year employee, and I was shattered. Quite honestly, I had no idea how I was going to get back on my feet. Within days, he had written the company with a very detailed letter explaining what they had done, why it was illegal, and what his firm planned to do about it. Days later, the Company was putting a significant amount of money on the table to make this "all go away." The settlement was very fair. However, the way Ethan treated me was really what mattered. He coached me and helped me get my confidence back. He actually did a mock interview with me so we could practice how I would spin what happened at the prior company. He didn't need to do that. He didn't need to review my resume. He didn't need to call me back on the weekends AFTER the settlement had closed to make see how my interviews went. This is how you want to be treated. This is what having an attorney should feel like. I will trust Ethan with just about any legal issue for the rest of my years and recommend him to everybody I know. He's the real deal.
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Posted by Bryan | September 9, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Executive Compensation
Ethan handled an executive compensation matter I was dealing with after changing companies. His communication, negotiation skills and empathy were best in class. He has my highest recommendation for any employment, compensation, non-compete related issues. I would work with him again without hesitation. He made a very stressful, challenging situation easy to navigate with a wonderful outcome. He has my strongest possible recommendation.
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Posted by Kirin | September 9, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Top Notch Employer Advocate
We hired Ethan to assist with the investigation and eventual termination of our CEO for improper activities. Ethan came out to our location the next day and thoroughly interviewed all parties involved. As he should, he gave our former CEO the benefit of the doubt where he could. He worked with our Board to relay his findings and recommend appropriate actions. We voted to remove the CEO and Ethan handled the conversation, separation documents, subsequent negotiations, and ultimately assisted in finding us a superior replacement. We are not a large company and we were not prepared for this sort of disaster. However, Ethan was a lifesaver. His expert advice and guidance was invaluable. We plan on using him whenever we can. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to employers of all sizes.
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Posted by Elizabeth | September 9, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Sexual Harassment Help
I had been working with Ethan for over a year and half on this case. When I contacted him, he didn't hesitate to help me. He always gave great advise, always took the time to talk to me if it was 5 mins or 2 hours on the phone. He never made me feel rushed. He is so personable, honest, and professional. I couldn't have been happier with anybody else. I am over joyed with his commitment and hard work. I am also very pleased with the outcome. I would recommend him to anyone.
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Posted by anonymous | April 8, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Fierce Advocate with Unshakable Perseverance & Phenomenal Expertise
I came to Ethan with a complex dispute and sought to negotiate a severance package with a high-profile company. Not only did Ethan negotiate an excellent package, but he also stayed true to course throughout what eventually became a long process. I can't thank Ethan enough for his fierce advocacy, empathy, unshakable perseverance, and phenomenal expertise.
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Posted by Jennifer Aria | February 4, 2022
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Life-Changing Counsel
I would highly recommend Ethan Zelizer as an attorney. I was recently let go wrongfully by my employer and was looking for legal advice so I called HR Counsel. I was contacted promptly and greeted with empathy and professionalism. Ethan was very thorough and honest with me regarding my situation and finding any and all possible solutions to my legal concerns. I appreciated how compassionate he was in educating me on my options and how the law dictates what was and was not a possibility while being straightforward, optimistic, and most importantly honest about my odds. Though my case is not something I can legally pursue despite the unethical actions of my previous employer, Ethan went out of his way to go above and beyond analyzing my case. I would recommend him and his practice tenfold to anyone looking for an employment and labor law attorney.
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Posted by anonymous | January 5, 2022
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Disability & FMLA consultation
Roughly 6 months after finishing cancer treatment, I was assigned to a high-profile project without sufficient resources allocated. After months of workarounds, I found myself in some uncomfortable conversations with HR, and ultimately my physician recommended taking a personal medical leave. Ethan kindly and promptly took my consultation to talk me through FMLA rights, and what to document and be aware of upon my return (role changes, passed for promotions). With his guidance, I not only felt safe taking time away from work but also am educated/aware of appropriate workplace conduct when using disability benefits.
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Posted by Travis | October 22, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Quick and Thorough Work
Ethan is a very thorough and competent professional. I gave notice to my company that I was leaving for a competitor and two days before my last day, the Company decided to take issue with where I was going. They tried to have me sign various documents before I left that would encumber my ability to work. They claimed that I had already signed documents years ago but they could not produce them to me. Ethan immediately got involved and in a professional manner, he worked with the Company's attorney to work out an exit plan. He also spoke with my new employer to make sure that they knew what was going on and that the matter was being handled. Most importantly, he made sure that both companies were comfortable with my actions and knew that I acted with integrity. I felt he always had my best interest in mind. It is my privilege to recommend Ethan Zelizer, a phenomenal lawyer, who delivered a good result. Tremendous value. He practices the best client service methods. 5 stars.
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Posted by Azadeh | May 28, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Compassionate & Understanding
Ethan was professional, responsive, and understanding of my legal issues. Ethan resolved my issues promptly and efficiently, which I very much appreciated. Being a lawyer myself, I understand how important it is to find a lawyer who has both fantastic legal skills and empathy- Ethan has both. Ethan connects with his clients because he truly cares about helping them through their legal issues. I would recommend Ethan to anyone with an employment law issue. Ethan went above and beyond by also giving me tips and offering to help in any way possible with starting my new law firm!
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Posted by anonymous | April 27, 2021
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Director, Digital Marketing and Technology
I recently consulted with Ethan on the exit package I received from my employer. Ethan was very honest and open with me during our initial call and even did a quick review without a fee. Had I decided to pursue negotiation with my employer, I would have hired Ethan. I will not hesitate referring him to friends and colleagues.
Posted by Danielle | February 11, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Executive Compensation and Exit Expert
Ethan came highly recommended by a friend who works at a large law firm and had sent his own sister to Ethan for representation. This matter went far longer than I expected. What I thought would be a simple exit negotiation turned into a dogfight because my previous employer would not waive my non-compete. Ethan suggested we challenge its validity and pursue a compensation claim based on my initial contract. We fought for nearly 9 months -- during COVID! During that time, I received outstanding legal counsel, excellent customer service, and peace of mind. I was always able to reach Ethan either by phone, email or even text and he told me when I would need to be patient because he had other matters to attend to. We were able to invalidate my non-compete and significantly increase my severance due to contractual issues that Ethan was on top of from day one. There is a reason why Ethan is so highly-regarded. I am ready to refer anybody his way.
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Posted by anonymous | February 11, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Top Notch
Ethan provided me with advice on a separation agreement with a former employer in the financial services industry. He was diligent and detailed in reviewing each paragraph of the agreement and various equity documents and renegotiated a significantly better non-solicitation and exit-package based on what we believed to be an unlawful termination. I enjoyed working with him and appreciated his quick responses, updates, advice and timely follow-up. He has strong negotiations skills and is passionate about his work. I interviewed lawyers from a few top law firms and Ethan stood out among his peers with his client-focused, proactive and results-oriented approach.
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Posted by anonymous | April 11, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Exceptional
If you're like me, you're reading the 100% five-star reviews and you're skeptical. Something has to be wrong. I'm here to tell you that Ethan really is as good as it gets. I was in a dispute after leaving my high-level position in a small company. The situation was very complex and a bit nasty. There were several competing interests, lots of drama, and different leverage points. Ethan was a master at navigating the law - but I was even more impressed with his negotiating prowess. He quickly identified the various stakeholders and their leverage points and isolated the best move forward. Ethan is extremely savvy and persuasive. He's an aggressive advocate for his clients and will fight for them. I felt good having Ethan on my side. I consulted some other lawyers regarding the same issues, and Ethan blew them all away. Would give 6 stars if I could.
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Posted by Richard | March 9, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Smart, professional, detail-oriented and savvy
From the initial consultation to the end Ethan provided sage advice and expert legal counsel regarding my issue. He communicated effectively and consistently throughout the ordeal and my confidence NEVER wavered that he would defend my position aggressively and professionally. His knowledge of employment law is superb as is his strategic and tactical acumen. I HIGHLY recommend the HR LAW COUNSEL firm and Ethan Zelizer to anyone involved in an employment law dispute.
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Posted by anonymous | February 3, 2019
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Knowledgeable, helpful, and very responsive.
I am a senior executive in the financial services industry who had negotiated and executed a general release and settlement agreement with my employer after raising questions regarding the company's reported results. However, I now had reason to believe my employer was seeking to avoid the agreed settlement amount by terminating me for cause, building a case to allege material willful misconduct on my part. I emailed Ethan late on a Sunday evening asking if he could sit down with me for a consultation. He responded immediately and we engaged in some back-and-forth communications until 10:00 pm that night. Though he was out of commission with the flu, and we were unable to met in person, Ethan managed to fit phone calls in with me between court appearances and other obligations. Ethan was extremely knowledgeable and interested in the underlying facts of my situation. He then reviewed my agreement in the context of my concerns and from the vantage points of both a judge and my former employer. He opined, based on his work with corporate clients, that my former employer would be unlikely to take any further action. That said he also indicated that "we" would have a clear opportunity to pursue a breach of contract claim should they do anything. And, at his insistence, there was no charge from Ethan unless that should occur. In the end, Ethan was correct, and nothing further happened. In hindsight I should have had my agreement reviewed by him beforehand and will be sure run any future employment-related contracts by him.
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Posted by anonymous | September 29, 2018
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Generous and Knowledgeable
I had Ethan review a separation agreement after my position was eliminated to ensure compliance to labor laws, understand what rights I was giving up, and understand if I had any leverage for increased separation consideration. He reviewed the document, and met with me to advise on these matters completely as a free consultation. I will definitely keep him in my contacts if I have any future employment related issues.
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Posted by anonymous | August 25, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Thoughtful, Compassionate and Effective Advocate
Ethan is in a word fantastic. I was senior administrator at a non-profit organization and was referred to him as I began settlement negotiations in a wrongful termination dispute with my employer. He came highly recommended for his legal acumen and ability to work effectively with clients who have founded themselves thrust into a crisis and are vulnerable. Ethan is 'holistic' practitioner, taking care of both your legal needs while being attentive to the emotional challenges attendant to negotiating a termination settlement. I found that he exceeded the recommendations I'd read and heard in referral. Ethan took the time to get to know me, to understand the nuances of my history with this employer and to incorporate this information into a comprehensive settlement strategy. He encouraged me to be an active collaborator as we worked together to craft our strategy to achieve a reasonable settlement. Throughout this process he demonstrated broad knowledge of labor and employment law, and skill as committed forceful advocate. Ethan anticipated where we would encounter resistance to our proposals, and responded with effective arguments highlighting the strengths of our case. He was objective about the challenges we faced, but reassuring in his confidence that the strategy we had developed would prove to be successful, which it was. Ethan has stayed in touch and continues to offer thoughtful advice about the details of employment transition. His advice is always objective and strategic in its assessment of long and short term objectives. He helped my family and me work through a difficult situation. I have come value his advice and recommend him without hesitation.
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Posted by Stefan | July 6, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Fantastic Experience
After speaking with several employment & labor attorneys, I'm glad I stumbled upon Ethan. He really took the time to review my employment situation, consult, and educate me on the employment laws. Ethan really spends the time to understand your desired outcome and makes sure you're taking the right steps to achieve that. He is straight to the point, empathic, and just a well-rounded fantastic attorney!
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Posted by anonymous | July 6, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Ethan is intelligent, savvy and invested in your success...
Ethan is incredibly skilled lawyer & very humble human being. He helped me build my business & prepare the necessary paperwork. This lawyer is unique! The way he thinks, acts, & communicates makes sense as a businessperson -- not just as a lawyer. We are a minority, woman-controlled business. It is hard to find effective counsel. Ethan is incredibly gifted with his ability to distill complicated matters down to basic business sense. That's why everyone feels comfortable giving him the highest ratings. He is an amazing human being & a man of integrity. I would highly recommend him to anyone - no matter your race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, & etc. We are ALL safe with him! He is once in a lifetime kind of lawyer!!
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Cost

Rates
  • Contingency 33%-33%
  • Retainer Sometimes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • General Counsel
  • Serra International
  • 2015 - Present
  • Founder, Attorney
  • HR Law Counsel, LLC
  • 2014 - Present
  • Professor
  • Loyola University Chicago School Of Law
  • 2005 - Present
  • Senior Associate
  • Littler Mendelson
  • 2012 - 2014
  • Senior Associate
  • Dla Piper Us, LLP
  • 2010 - 2012
  • Associate
  • Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker
  • 2008 - 2010
  • Associate
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP (Formerly Gardner Carton & Douglas)
  • 2006 - 2008
  • Associate
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius
  • 2004 - 2005
  • Paralegal, Summer Associate, Associate
  • Vedder Price Kaufman & Kammholz
  • 1999 - 2004
View all work experience

Education

  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2003
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 2000

Legal Cases

  • Sexual Harassment Arbitration
  • Judgment in favor of client.
  • Collective Action for Unpaid Overtime
  • Judgment in favor of client.

Associations

  • American Society of Legal Advocates
  • Member
  • 2015 - Present
  • Chicago Bar Assocation
  • Member
  • 2003 - Present
  • American Bar Assocation
  • Member
  • 2003 - Present
  • American Bar Association
  • Committee Chair
  • 2008 - 2012
  • Chicago Bar Assocation
  • Committee Chair
  • 2003 - 2012
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Awards

  • Section and Chair of the Year
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • 2013
  • Section Rising Star Award
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • 2004

Publications

  • JD Supra
  • Illinois Supreme Court Recognizes Privacy Tort and Bold Employer Liable Under Agency Law
  • 2012
  • American Bar Association publication
  • Treatise On The Family And Medical Leave Act
  • 2012
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • “Preparing For Unprecedented Absenteeism In The Wake Of H1N1: ‘I'm Not Coming In Today.’”
  • 2009
  • Practicing Law Institute (PLI)
  • Cross Border Practice: Protecting The Class - Reconciling Gulf Oil With The Realities Of The Workplace”
  • 2008
  • Loyola Consumer Law Review
  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Accounting for Corporate Corruption?
  • 2002
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Non-competes in the Electronic Workplace: Solicitation in the Age of Social Media
  • 2012
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Non-Statutory Employment Claims: Employer-Employee Privacy Concerns in Social Media,
  • 2012
  • Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Social Media – Using It For Litigation, IICLE 14th Annual Labor and Employment Law Update
  • 2010

Attorney endorsements

Received (14)
Given (17)
Employment and labor Attorney | Jan 16
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Ethan cares deeply about his clients and, as I have seen from negotiating on the other side of him, advocates zealously for them. He is extremely knowledge in employment/labor law."
Employment and labor Attorney | Jan 19
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Ethan is a conscientious, knowledgeable, zealous, and forthright attorney. His skills go well beyond labor and employment law and he takes an active interest in finding the best course of action for his clients, even if it reduces the number of hours he will spend on a matter."
Unknown Attorney | May 05
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"The very first deposition I ever attended as a summer associate was shadowing Ethan! Our time together was brief but he was smart, thoughtful, and generous with his time. I highly endorse him."
Employment and labor Attorney | Dec 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I'm an Illinois-based employment discrimination lawyer who focuses my caseload on severance and settlement agreement negotiations when employees allege race discrimination, gender discrimination and disability discrimination. Even though our practice areas overlap, our firm frequently refers cases to Attorney Zelizer because of his great reputation, especially for non-compete terms and executive compensation. His client reviews speak for themselves."
Contracts and agreements Attorney | Aug 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly endorse Mr. Zelizer. Truly exceptional and caring attorney who produces great results in representing clients! I want all people with legal problems to contact him first."
Employment and labor Attorney | Aug 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Ethan is hardworking, intelligent, and very knowledgeable about employment and labor law. I highly recommend him."
Contracts and agreements Attorney | Jul 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Intelligent and compassionate with superior communication skills."
Employment and labor Attorney | Apr 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Keen attention to detail with exceptional client service. I endorse this lawyer."
Employment and labor Attorney | Apr 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I wholeheartedly endorse this lawyer. A top-notch attorney, highly respected in the legal community."
Employment and labor Attorney | Mar 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"When you find yourself in need of an employment/labor law attorney it is important to retain an experienced, knowledgeable and competent lawyer. Mr. Zelizer is well respected in the legal community for those reasons."
Employment and labor Attorney | Mar 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Consummate professional in every regard. My highest recommendation. Can be counted on to get results in the toughest cases."
Unknown Attorney | Jan 16
Relationship: Other
"This lawyer does a great job for the community. I endorse this lawyer"
Unknown Attorney | Jan 16
Relationship: Other
"This lawyer does a great job with the community. I endorse this lawyer"
Unknown Attorney | Jan 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Top-notch attorney. Highly respected in the legal community."
View more endorsements
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Immigration
Criminal defense
Litigation
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Personal injury

Avvo Contributions

Top Contributor 2015
Top Contributor

Ethan earned significant contribution points in 2015.

197 Legal Answers 0 Legal Guides
Chicago Wrongful termination Lawyer Ethan G. Zelizer
Ethan G. Zelizer
Wrongful termination Attorney
Chicago, IL
Licensed for 19 years
Virtual consultation available