Gary is a member of SmithAmundsen’s Complex Commercial Litigation Practice Group. He represents clients in complex business litigation matters, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, false advertising, unfair competition, intellectual property, business fraud and other deceptive trade practices. Gary also has significant experience defending clients who are subject to regulatory investigations undertaken by various state and federal government agencies, including Illinois Attorney General, Homeland Security, National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Chemical Safety Board, and the FDA. Gary has extensive litigation experience in federal courts. He has litigated a wide range of business cases in federal courts in Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Virginia, and Georgia.
Gary also brings to the service of his clients his unique bi-cultural and bi-lingual background. He grew up in China and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. His understanding of the Chinese language and culture enables him to explain complex American legal principles and business issues in a language and manner that is easy for his Chinese clients to understand. He has served as outside litigation and corporate counsel for large publicly traded Chinese companies and their subsidiaries in America.
- National coordinating counsel for a major food processing and packaging company in connection with FDA recall of a thickening agent.
- Lead counsel in defense of a trademark and copyright infringement suit. Obtained attorney’s fees for client after obtaining a summary judgment on all claims brought against the client by the plaintiff.
- Lead attorney in prosecuting a breach of a commercial lease agreement on behalf of a large real estate and financial services company against a large cable television operator, obtained significant recovery through settlement;
- Lead attorney in defending a $38 million dollar false online advertising suit in the Northern District of Illinois, won a major forum non conveniens motion, obtained very favorable settlement for client;
- Outside general corporate counsel for a U.S. subsidiary of a publicly held Chinese manufacturer of electrical equipment; and
- Lead litigation counsel for a publicly traded Chinese bulk vitamin manufacturer and its U.S. distributor facing a products liability suit in Cook County, Illinois.
Prior to joining SmithAmundsen, Gary worked for two years as a judicial law clerk for Presiding Justice Mary W. McDade of the Illinois Appellate Court. In 2012, Gary received the “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, representing recognition of legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability and legal experience by his peers. He has also been recognized in 2011, 2012, and 2013 as a "Rising Star*" in business litigation by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine. Gary was also recognized in 2011 as one of Law Bulletin’s 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch. In 2010, he was appointed to serve a two year term as an Ambassador of ABA’s Business Law Section. He currently co-chairs National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Litigation Committee and is the president of the Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago.
Gary has served as a pro bono attorney for Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago’s Chinatown legal clinic and the National Immigrant Justice Center.
*The selection of attorneys to the Rising Stars list does not guarantee a positive client outcome in any specific legal matter or engagement nor constitute a representation by the firm of SmithAmundsen about the caliber of legal work performed by any other attorney not selected as part of this list.
University of Michigan, B.A., 1999
Co-Presenter, "The Art of Negotiation: A Learn-by-Doing Opportunity," National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Kansas City, MO, November 9, 2013.
Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, J.D., 2002
Editorial Board, Washington University Global Studies Law Review
Moderator, "Insider Insights: So You Want to be a Business Lawyer," ABA Business Law Section, Chicago, IL, October 22, 2013.
Panelist, “Innovative Projects of State and Local Bars,” ABA 2013 Business Bar Leaders Conference, Chicago, IL, May 17, 2013.
Co-Author, "Securities Arbitration Law," Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation 2013 Edition, ch. 22, ABA Business Law Section, 2013.
Co-presenter, “Enforcing Intellectual Property and Copyrights in China,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce Webinar, February 20, 2013.
Featured Attorney, “Spotlight on Accomplished Committee Member Gary Zhao,” The Challenge, Newsletter of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law, vol. 23, no.1, November, 2012.
Contributor, “Minority Bar Groups Provide Important Outreach,” Chicago Lawyer, October 1, 2012.
Author, “FTC Fights Against Deceptive Advertising,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Vol. 158, No. 191, September 28, 2012.
Author, “Chinese American Bar Association of Chicago Proudly Becomes an Affiliate,” NAPABA Lawyer, Vol. XXII, No. 3, September 2012.
Author, “Ruling May Not Force Google to Change Online Advertising Program,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Vol. 158, No. 135, July 10, 2012.
Author, “Chinese Companies Face More Lawsuits,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Vol. 158, No. 95, May 14, 2012.
Co-Author, "Securities Arbitration Law," Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation 2012 Edition, ch. 25, ABA Business Law Section, 2012.
Moderator, “Protecting Personal Information: What Businesses and Consumers Should Know,” ISBA Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities and ISBA Standing Committee on Government Lawyers webinar, March 14, 2012.
Author, “Nuances Arise in China’s Trademark Law,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Vol. 158, No. 50, March 13, 2012.
Author, “Courts Explore Future of Consumer Class Actions,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Vol. 158, No. 9, January 13, 2012.
Author, “Two Recent Federal Court Decisions May Signal New Approach to Data Breach Class Action Litigation,” Journal of Internet Law, Vol. 15, No. 7, January 2012.
Author, "Decisions May Show Trends in Data Breach Cases," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Vol. 157, No. 218, November 7, 2011.
Author, "Claridge v. RockYou, Inc.: "Value" Inherent in Consumers' Personally Identifiable Information," Business Law Today, September 15, 2011.
Panelist, "Career Management and Business Development for the Diverse Lawyer," ABA Annual Meeting, CLE program, Toronto, ON, August 6, 2011.
Moderator, "Enforcement of Data Breach Notification Laws and Other Laws Safeguarding Personal Information—Legal Perspectives From Both Sides of the Counsel Table," ABA Annual Meeting, CLE program, Toronto, ON, August 6, 2011.
Co-author, "Breach Notification Laws-What every business owner needs to know," The Counselor, February 2011.
Panelist, "2011 AABA Law Student Career Forum: A Day in the Life of a Chicago Lawyer," John Marshall Law School, February 5, 2011.
Moderator, "Alternative Fee Arrangements: Do They Really Work?" AABA’s Fall In-House Counsel/Partners Networking Dinner, Rosemont, IL, November 4, 2010.
Presenter, "Leveraging Technology: Small to Mid-Sized Law Firms," Asian American Bar Association of Chicago and Deloitte FAS LLP seminar, Chicago, IL, January 28, 2010.
Author, "Illinois Legislative Update," DRI's The Voice, January 27, 2010.
Author, “Chinese Product Liability Law: Can China Build Another Great Wall to Protect its Consumers?” Washington University Global Studies Law Review 581, 2002.
President of the Chinese American Bar Association (CABA) of Greater Chicago.
Vice Chair of the Editorial Board for ABA's Business Law Section Committee Newsletter.
Diversity Leadership Fellow: American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section (2012-2013).
2010 Asian American Bar Association Member of the Year.
Board Member of the Asian American Bar Association.
Ambassador for the American Bar Association’s Business Law Committee.
Illinois Legislative Liaison for the DRI Young Lawyers' Committee.
Member: Illinois State Bar Association (2011 Standing Committee on Racial & Ethnic Minorities and the Law); American Bar Association (Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight); Asian American Bar Association; National Association of Asian American Professionals; Defense Research Institute.
American Bar Association Cyberspace Law Committee’s Liaison to the ABA’s Diversity Committee.
Honoree: DRI Cares Honor Roll.
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