John W. Gaffney

John W. GaffneyAt the best of times, the legal system can be a confusing and intimidating experience. I started practicing law 25 years ago with a simple goal in mind; helping people not only navigate the system, but really understand their rights and how the system affects those rights.

I attended the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, graduating in the top 10% of my class in 1989. After law school, I had the privilege of serving as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Judge Charles R. Norgle in the Federal District Court in Chicago. I often joke that I learned more in two years working for Judge Norgle than if I had gone to law school three times. My time in federal service taught me not only how the system works, but also how to apply the skills I learned in law school to the real world.

After my service for the Judge, I continued in public service as an Assistant State’s Attorney for the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, handling felony narcotics and gang cases for six years. At that office, I successfully tried numerous jury trials dealing with complex, multi-count felonies and multiple defendants. There, I developed the ability to break down the most complex sets of facts into workable units and learned how to present those facts in the most effective manner for a jury. My time there taught me, among other things, the importance of understanding what made a case tick and how to convey that essence to the trier of fact.

I left the State’s Attorney’s Office to go into private practice in 1998, extending my skills beyond the realm of criminal law into a varied array of cases, such as school law, gun rights and Second Amendment matters as well as general law areas such as real estate and estate planning. As a member of both the General Bar and the Trial Bar of the Northern District of Illinois, much of my time is spent in federal court, although my state court practice continues to keep me busy as well.

When I’m not in the office, I try to get out into the field with my dogs in the winter and fly fish in the summer. My wife, Janet, is my constant companion and “partner in crime” on those adventures, as well as my office manager. I believe that a balanced approach, not only to my practice but in my life in general not only makes for a better life, but a better law practice as well. That balanced approach, and the desire to solve rather than create problems and conflict, not only benefits me but benefits my clients, as it leads to creative solutions to the serious circumstances my clients are in when they come to my office. The experience I’ve gathered over the past 25 years has taught me many things. The most important is that no problem, big or small, is insurmountable. The best solution is often just around the corner. Sometimes it just takes someone who has looked around a lot of corners to give you a hand.


  • Mr. Gaffney has been a solo practitioner for over 25 years
  • He is a former McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney
  • He is a member of the State Bar of Illinois
  • He is a member of the General Bar of the United States District Court for The Northern District of Illinois
  • He is a member of the Trial Bar of the United States District Court for The Northern District of Illinois
  • He is a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • He is a member of the McHenry County Mediator panel
  • He is a member of the McHenry County Arbitration panel
  • He is a Conflict Resolution and Collaborative Law professional