The Italian American Police Association is proud to celebrate its 50th Anniversary Dinner Dance by honoring James J. Morici Jr., Founder and Managing Partner of Morici, Figlioli & Associates as its 2013 Man of the Year.
The event will take place on Nov. 2 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison. Tickets are $75 per person. To make reservations, contact IAPA President Phil Tenerelli at 708-268-1495.
It’s fitting that the IAPA has chosen to honor Jim. As an Assistant State’s Attorney, he earned a reputation as a hard-nosed First Chair Prosecutor at 26th and California. Working with Chicago and suburban police departments, Jim helped put some of the most dangerous people in the county behind bars throughout the 1980s.
For more than 25 years since then, Jim has exclusively applied his skills on behalf of the seriously injured in personal injury cases. As a founder and managing partner of Morici, Figlioli & Associates, he has led the firm in helping thousands of seriously injured receive full compensation since 1998.
An accomplished trial lawyer, Jim has gained the respect of judges, insurance companies, defense lawyers and his peers. Jim has dozens of multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts to his credit. He has been honored as a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and has been recognized by his peers as one of Illinois’ “Super Lawyers.”
In addition to managing Morici, Figlioli & Associates and trying their most complex lawsuits, he also serves as an adjunct professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he teaches Trial Advocacy. He has taught on the adjunct faculty of The John Marshall Law School, Loyola University School of Law and Triton College, and has lectured at the Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyerâ€™s Section Trial Practice College. Jim is the host of MFA’s “Community Safety Forum” television series, a talk show featuring experts in various areas of community safety provided as a public service of MFA.
Justice and “doing the right thing” in redressing wrongs committed against the innocent is a way of life for Morici. This quest for justice led him to law school, the state’s attorney’s office and ultimately into private practice.
Jim’s first brush with injustice actually occurred long before he was born. He vividly recalls the story of an Italian-American mother who was searching for a new apartment for her growing family. With her small daughter in tow, the young woman went to visit an apartment she had heard about, only to have the door slammed in her face by a property owner who refused to rent to Italians.
The young woman was Morici’s maternal grandmother, Mayme LoBello, and the little girl was his mother, Vivian. “No decent human being condones prejudice, but when it hits that close to home, it affects you differently,” Jim says. “My grandmother was the closest thing to a saint that I knew. To hear that she was treated like that had an impact on me.”
Jim traces his roots on both sides of his family from the suburbs of Palermo to the Cabrini neighborhood in Chicago. He has fond memories of Sunday family dinner at his grandma’s house. “My grandparents had a huge extended family, so it wasn’t unusual for 30 to 40 aunts, uncles and cousins to gravitate to their house on a given Sunday,” Jim recalls with fondness. “Those were wonderful times.”
With a father who worked as a maintenance supervisor and a mother who worked for the phone company, Jim has strong working-class roots. The family of five lived in a small basement apartment in his grandparents’ building until Jim was 10. “My mother would always say that we werenâ€™t rich, but we had clean clothes and we had food on the table.”
Jim attended Lane Tech High School and worked his way through college and law school. As a high school student, Jim helped pay family bills by bagging groceries for National Tea. Later, while attending DePaul University as a commuter student, he worked as a package handler and Teamster at UPS. Jim attended IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law, paying his way through school as a part-time law clerk. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Kent in 1979, graduating with highest honors.
Since the start of his career more than three decades ago, Jim has remained committed to defending those who are unable to defend themselves. As an attorney in private practice, he has fought against unsafe working conditions, worked to improve community safety, and helped injured workers and their families get the compensation they deserve.