Goldberg Weisman Cairo managing partner Louis C. Cairo appeared on CAN TV’s The S.H.E. Gallery Show on January 17, 2017. He spoke with host and S.H.E. Gallery director Dulce Maria Diaz about a variety of topics related to the legal profession, and about GWC, Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm.
The son of Italian immigrants, Mr. Cairo said he was told by his parents from a young age that he should be a lawyer, because “You are going to get yourself in trouble with that mouth of yours, and as a lawyer, you get yourself out of trouble.” His father, who worked as a union carpenter, a union construction worker, and a general contractor, valued education, and he encouraged Mr. Cairo to pursue the law rather than following in the family business. Having grown up with tradesmen, Mr. Cairo chose to work in personal injury law so that he could help injured union workers.
Mr. Cairo started working at what was then called Goldberg Foreman Weisman in 1981 as a law clerk while he was attending Loyola University Law School. He earned $6.00 an hour. “I’m up to $12.50 now,” he joked.
At the time, the firm only had two secretaries and five lawyers, who were primarily focused on construction negligence cases. Today, Goldberg Weisman Cairo has 125 employees and 35 attorneys.
Mr. Cairo says that, for law firms, as with any other type of business, “Honesty and integrity are by far the most critical things you can possibly have. If you treat your employees well, you treat them with respect, and you treat your customers and your clients with that type of respect, ultimately people will gravitate towards you,” Mr. Cairo added.
He noted with pride that 15 out of GWC’s 40 lawyers started at the firm as law clerks and have spent their entire legal careers there, which he says is “a testament that you’re treating your people fairly, you’re treating them with respect and integrity, and they don’t want to leave your practice.”
Mr. Cairo also stated that his firm now counts two of his children, Deanna Marie and Louis Anthony, as well as his partner Michael Goldberg’s son Corey, as attorneys.
When injured people come to Goldberg Weisman Cairo, “99.9 percent of them are there for one reason – they’ve been wronged by somebody else,” Mr. Cairo explained. “They got hurt, they’ve suffered some type of tragedy, they’ve got pain, they’ve got medical bills, they’ve lost insurmountable amounts of money, they don’t know where to turn to, how they’re going to carry on with their life, and they come to us to answer that question.
“And it’s not just about money,” he continued. “It’s about giving them justice. … They just want the other party to be held responsible. That’s a lot of responsibility to have, and we do a really good job of making sure our clients feel they’ve received justice.”
Ms. Diaz said Mr. Cairo was “a great example of somebody who stood true to their culture, their roots, and they did what they needed to do to get to where they wanted to be….He’s very happy and he’s helping a lot of people be happy, with hard work.”
The program also featured an interview with Miguel Cambray, Director of the Education Opportunity Center of National Louis University.
S.H.E. Gallery is a non-profit mobile gallery hosting art exhibitions at traditional and non-traditional venues throughout the City of Chicago. The S.H.E. Gallery Show is a live call-in program that discusses “real community issues” and features “empowering and inspiring guests, poets, artists, and musicians.” It airs on CAN TV on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. through March 28.