Joseph E. Kolar serves as a Partner at the Chicago-based law firm, Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, where he focuses his practice on handling serious personal injury cases, including medical malpractice and birth injuries, in addition to transportation related-injuries in aviation, train and automobile crashes. 

Joe has 37 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer in Illinois state and federal courts. 

Since joining Romanucci & Blandin in 2019, Joe has obtained many multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts in injury cases.  In  2023, Joe was co-trial counsel on two professional negligence cases before juries in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  In the first case, the jury awarded $1.3 million for the death of a 68-year-old woman due to the negligence of a dentist.  In the second case, the jury awarded $28.7 million against a Chicago-area hospital for the death of a 44-year-old woman. 

Before joining Romanucci & Blandin, Joe served a co-trial counsel in obtaining numerous notable verdicts and settlements for clients, including a $29.8 million award against the United States of America for a child who suffered a brain injury from an unnecessary delay in his delivery; a $25 million verdict in a medical negligence trial in Chicago; a $19.4 million Cook County settlement for a brain injury to an adult (following a three-week medical negligence trial); an $18.6 million Lake County jury verdict for a boy who suffered a brain injury at birth (an Illinois record at the time); and an $11 million federal jury verdict for the death of an 18-year-old in a truck-car crash.

For his work, Joe has been selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers® list for over 15 years, as a Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Publishing Company’s Leading Lawyers Division since 2004, and most recently was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for 2021-2022. Additionally, Joe maintains an AV Preeminent® peer-review rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

Joe is a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice (AAJ).  With AAJ, Joe has been recognized as an “Advocate of Trial Advocacy” by its National College of Advocacy.  Joe is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Lake County Bar Association and the Bohemian Lawyers’ Association of Chicago, where he served three years as President.

Joe has lectured to other lawyers on civil trial matters at seminars sponsored by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Lake County Bar Association and the McHenry County Bar Association.

Joe graduated from Illinois State University in 1982. In 1985, he graduated cum laude from Northern Illinois University (NIU) College of Law. While at NIU, Joe was an editor of the law review and had an article published in the law review titled: “Adoption of a Flexible Standard for Analyzing Informant’s Tips in Illinois v. Gates,” 4 Northern Illinois University Law Review 179-202, 1983. 

After graduation from law school, Joe took a job with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office in Waukegan.  While in the State’s Attorney’s Office, Joe handled complex civil matters at the trial and appellate court level.  As an Assistant State’s Attorney, Joe successfully handled the following appeals: Salvation Army v. Department of Revenue, 170 Ill.App.3d 336, 524 N.E.2d 628 (2nd Dist. 1988); Lake County Board of Review v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 172 Ill. App.3d 851, 527 N.E.2d 84 (2nd Dist. 1988)(co-counsel); County of Lake v. Zenko, 174 Ill.App.3d 54, 528 NE.2d 414 (2nd Dist. 1988); Commonwealth Edison Company v. County of Lake, 183 Ill.App.3d 1060, 540 N.E.2d 6 (2nd Dist. 1989)(co-counsel); Kankakee County Board of Review v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 131 Ill.2d 1, 544 N.E.2d 762 (1989)(amicus curiae brief)(co-counsel). 

In private practice, Joe has successfully handled the following appeals:  Poeta v. Sheridan Point Shopping Plaza Partnership, 195 Ill.App.3d 852, 552 N.E.2d 1248 (2nd Dist. 1990)(co-counsel); Pace Realty Group Inc. v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 306 Ill.App.3d 718, 713 N.E.2d 1249 (2nd Dist. 1999); Hackl v. Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp., 382 Ill.App.3d 442, 887 N.E.2d 726 (1st Dist. 2008); and In re Estate of Diaz, 2014 IL App (2d) 140239-U.

Outside of the courtroom, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, sons and grandkids. Joe enjoys golf, stand-up paddle boarding on Lake Michigan, snow skiing, basketball and hiking. 

Practice Areas

Education & Certifications

  • J.D., Northern Illinois University College of Law, 1985
  • B.A., Illinois State University, 1982

Awards & Recognition

  • Bohemian Lawyers' Association of Chicago, Liberty Award, 2023
  • Advisory Board Member, Leading Lawyers, 2023
  • Named one of The Best Lawyers in America©, 2021-2024
  • Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers® list, 2005, 2007, 2009-2023
  • Named a Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Publishing Company’s Leading Lawyers Division, 2004-2023

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

  • State of Illinois, 1985
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


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