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Attorney Philip J. Castrogiovanni

Philip J. Castrogiovanni

Philip J. Castrogiovanni

This month we highlight the distinguished career of Philip J. Castogiovanni, assistant general counsel for the international firm of Beam Inc. Beam is the producer of brand-name spirits like Jim Beam bourbon and Skinny Girl cocktails, among other highly recognized and successful products. One does not become a general counsel of a multinational multibillion-dollar corporation without having great talent and experience in the practice of law.

Philip previously worked at the highly respected national firm of McDermot, Will & Emery as a compensation and benefits partner, a very complicated and specialized area of the law. Though Phil was successful in this substantive legal area, he felt it was too confining. He says, “The thing about the large firms is they tend towards specialization, and it seems like the further up in your career you go, the more specialized you get.”

Looking to broaden his horizons, he applied for a position as in-house counsel with Beam. “I was getting to a point where I felt like maybe my practice was becoming a little bit too narrow,” Castrogiovanni said when discussing his leaving the large firm practice and applying for the in-house position.

Presently, after almost a year as assistant general counsel, we can see Phil’s abilities and talents, as he worked on, for example, an extraordinarily complicated corporate spin-off, a $605 million acquisition and, more toward his specialty, creating a global stock purchase plan for Beam employees.

In 2011, Deerfield-based Fortune Brands Inc., the producer of products ranging from Moen Faucets to Titleist golf balls to Sauza tequila, spun off its home and security business and sold its golf brands. Fortune changed its name to Beam and now operates solely as a global spirits producer. Obviously, this confident and outstanding young attorney has his hands full and has found a niche where he can apply his many extraordinary talents. The position that Castrogiovanni holds has produced just the challenges that he had sought.

Notwithstanding all of the successes of this outstanding young Italian American from our community in the legal field, especially in the corporate area, Phil is just “a kid from the neighborhood.” Born initially in a predominantly Sicilian enclave of Bridgeport, both his parents are of Sicilian ancestry (Lorenz-Amodeo and Castrogiovanni). His family moved to Campbell, Calif., a town that is now part of Silicon Valley. Castrogiovanni started his first career in the human resources department at IBM Corp. After a while, he “got the bug” to leave the state and start a new career.

“I wasn’t so fixated on becoming a lawyer as I was a career where I would have an opportunity to continuously be learning and challenged,” he says.

He attended Notre Dame Law School, where he met his wife, Tanya Lenko Castrogiovanni, a Toronto native and staff attorney at Seyfarth, Shaw LLP. The couple now has three children.

His first legal job was at Jenner & Block LLP before he moved onto Sidley, Austin LLP and McDermott, his last job before joining Beam.

So far, “It’s been a nice transition to an in-house role and the variety it entails and the job has very much been one where I haven’t done the same thing two days in a row since I’ve got here,” he said.

A career friend and sort-of-mentor,

Retired Circuit Court Judge Bruno Tassone, a highly respected past president of the Justinian Society, says of Castrogiovanni: “Phil is the quintessential success story of folks from our community. He is bright, energetic, attractive and hardworking and embodies all of the values that we have learned from our parents and our grandparents. I remember growing up in the Bridgeport neighborhood and my parents sending me for bread at the Amodeo Bakery at 25th and Wentworth. To see somebody from my neighborhood, an example of the best that all our community has to offer, become a vital part of this international corporation, gives me great pride as it should for all members of our ethnic community.”

About Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.