“My life began in a small town, Floridia-Siracusa, Sicily, born to Antonio and Girolama Indomenico (nee Buccheri). My father, a welder, was 21 when I was born, and my mother, a seamstress, was 17. At the age of 4, my parents, baby brother and I left Sicily for Melbourne, Australia, where my father had siblings. Melbourne has a fairly large Italian community and offered a better opportunity for the family.
“Five years later, my family immigrated to Miami, Fla., where our maternal grandfather and grandmother, Salvatore and Francesca Buccheri, took us in. Unable to find work that paid adequate wages to support our family, we moved to Hartford, Conn., where my father had another sister.
“At times, my father worked two jobs, and when that was not possible, he worked as much overtime as he could to keep money coming in. My mother worked as a seamstress, doing piece work, taking work home from the factory and sewing after dinner.
“After three years there, saving as much money as we could, we moved back to Miami and were able to buy a small home. At 16, I went to work at the Winn-Dixie grocery store. I worked after school and on weekends from 1 to 10 p.m.
“In high school, there were teachers in my honors classes who stressed going to college at a time when college wasn’t a popular choice. The encouraged me to apply to Ivy League schools, Northwestern and Stanford.
“At this time, a significant thing happened. My father lost his job during the Arab oil embargo of 1974 and was unable to find work for months. I saw what it did to our family. This made me determined to choose a profession where I wouldn’t have to rely on another for my livelihood. I decided to go to college and aimed for [one of] those recommended by my honors teachers. No one could afford to visit schools to see if we liked them. I find it comical these days when students are able to visit schools of their choice; we were lucky to even go to college.
“In 1976, I applied to Harvard, Yale, Brown, Duke, Northwestern and the University of Miami. I was accepted to Duke, Northwestern and the University of Miami and chose Northwestern. I didn’t know anyone that had gone, didn’t have relatives in the Midwest and didn’t know what to expect.
“The financial package involved a combination of student loans, grants by Northwestern, parental contribution and a school job. When they looked at my background, they must have felt I would be perfect for mopping floors. Two of us were assigned to sweep and mop the floors for Saga food service after the students ate. It was a very humbling experience. I was pre-med in college and worked at St. Francis and Evanston hospitals drawing blood on weekends. I also had work-study jobs with biochemists at Northwestern.
“Burnt out and not accepted to medical school, I decided not to go back to Miami. I worked as a waiter, and eventually started working as a law clerk for an insurance defense firm in Chicago. I got the job from a waiter who was giving it up to go to law school. I made $3.35 per hour for a 40-hour work week and kept my night job to pay the bills. I made more in one night at the restaurant than I made all week as a clerk. After a raise or two, I was able to stop working at the restaurant and applied to just one law school. I was accepted to John Marshall, a school known for providing access and opportunity, and started in January 1984.
“I worked 30 to 35 hours per week throughout law school. Following graduation, I went to work for the late John Phillips (whose name was originally Giangrasso when he came to America from Bagheria, Sicily) and was with him for four years. Not long after that, I started my own personal injury firm, Sal Indomenico & Associates, P.C.
“Practicing primarily in Cook County, I have obtained numerous multimillion-dollar results for my clients through jury trials or settlements totaling well in excess of $40 million since 1993. I have three wonderful children, and my wife Lauren and our family reside in Lincoln Park.”