Law Offices, Robert E. Lehrer

Practice Areas

Civil Rights, Including Constitutional Rights

The firm represents clients in individual cases and in class action cases, with claims or defenses arising out of their employment, or their interaction with the justice system, or involving their receipt of public benefits, such as foster care or Medicaid benefits, or involving the government’s deprivation, without due process, of protected liberty or property interests or arising out of discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability. Mr. Lehrer has had particular success in the representation of employees whom Illinois state agencies (such as the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Illinois Department of Human Services) determine have committed wrongdoing, which determinations, unless overturned on appeal, effect long term exclusions from employment in any positions involving direct contact with children, with the elderly, with the developmentally disabled, or the mentally ill.

The firm strives to settle, without litigation, all civil rights cases it takes on, because litigation is always more expensive and more time consuming than if the matter is resolved, in the first instance, without it. But many cases cannot be settled without resort to litigation, though, once filed, cases are often settled after a period of concerted litigation but before trial, or after trial but in the course of appeals.

Many litigated civil rights cases, employment cases in particular, involve, at the outset, litigation before federal or state administrative agencies; only at a later stage may it be necessary to file a court case. Other civil rights cases are filed in court without prior proceedings in administrative forums. Mr. Lehrer has extensive experience in the litigation of civil rights cases both before administrative agencies and in courts.

In individual cases, parties’ claims or defenses are sometimes "mediated." Mediation is a process by which the parties to a dispute, which may nor may not have given rise to a court case, agree to use a third party neutral “neutral” (called a “mediator”) to facilitate the resolution of their dispute. Mediation is a so-called alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) process. Mr. Lehrer is a certified mediator. He has also participated in many mediations as counsel for one or more parties to the mediation.

Occasionally, an individual civil rights claim will be one making appropriate its pursuit as part of a class action lawsuit. An individual claim that a state agency rule or practice to which a large number of people are subject is unfairly discriminatory is an example of such a claim. Mr. Lehrer has extensive experience in class action cases, having litigated dozens of them. Because of their complexity, he always litigates these cases with experienced co-counsel.