Meet Our Founder & Expert Attorney – James J. Gende, II

Thank you for choosing GLO. Over the past twenty-nine years, I have represented hundreds of personal injury clients and prosecuted tragic civil rights matters involving in-custody death resulting in highly successful outcomes, recovering tens of millions of dollars on behalf our clients.   From a probation officer, to U.S.M.C.R. as a machine gunner/infantry man, to an attorney, then father of three, coaching and community involvement, my background serving in many different capacities in different walks of life makes me the right choice to understand your needs as a client and a never surrender attitude for your rights.

I am licensed to practice law in Illinois, Wisconsin, the U.S. Court of Appeals – 7th Circuit, the Eastern & Western Federal District Courts of Wisconsin, and the Northern District of Colorado. In June of 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court appointed me to an ethics committee, and I have been recognized by many of the premier attorney groups in the United States for my excellence in client advocacy, high ethical standards, and superior results for those victims of injury and/or civil rights abuses.

I have also been recognized as a Top 100 Attorney in Wisconsin, as well as a Board Certified as a Civil Trial Specialist since 2004, and a Member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum – honors held by less than 1% of all licensed attorneys in the United States. My office is built to maximize your recovery.  You can trust us to put the most dollars in your pocket at the end of the process. When you hire me, you get the name on the door and all the experience that comes with 29 years of practice taking on all the major insurance carriers, powerful corporate interests, and when necessary state and local governments when your civil rights have been abused.  If your Injured, Get the Gorilla.  We will always Fight for You!

  • 1967 – Born in Moline, Illinois.
  • 1985 – Graduated from Moline High School
  • 1989 – Graduated from University of Colorado/Boulder
  • 1990 – Probation Officer, Rock Island County Court Services
  • 1991 – Joined the U.S.M.C.
  • 1995 – Graduated from The John Marshall Law School
  • 1998 – Honorably discharged U.S.M.C.

I have been a lead counsel in multiple cases that have made new laws or protected a citizen’s constitutional rights. One case involved the death of a young lady, who had been committed to Taycheedah Correctional Institute for various minor offenses due to her severe mental illnesses. While on 24/7 suicide watch, the young lady strangled herself in front of the prison guards.

A Federal Lawsuit against 20 Wisconsin state employees resulted in a final judgment against some of the highest-ranking officials in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. At the institute, major changes in how the correctional staff handled suicidal inmates were introduced, and substantial compensation for the victim’s families was announced.

Another client was the estate of a passenger who was killed in a rental vehicle where the driver was intoxicated. I successfully challenged an alcohol exclusion that precluded coverage for a death benefit on the basis that the driver never received notice of the exclusion. It was a case of first impression in Wisconsin. We won at the trial and appellate court levels. As a result, much-needed funds were provided to the passenger’s family, as she had left behind a four-year-old daughter.

In another case, I challenged a school bus company that provided a “drop and go” service to young school children in Milwaukee. My client was a young girl who was dropped off at a street corner by the bus and was struck by an oncoming vehicle as she attempted to cross the street. My client suffered terrible injuries, but the bus company argued it had no responsibility toward children once the doors of the bus closed. The owner of the bus company testified that “the wheels of the bus must continue to roll”. The appellate court disagreed with the bus company procedures and ruled for the first time in Wisconsin that bus companies had the highest duty of care to kids who ride their buses, making the streets of Milwaukee much safer for public school children. On retrial, the client and her family received compensation for their injuries.

I also represented a family who lost their son, while he was a college student in La Crosse. In a tragic accident, the young man drowned in the Mississippi River after a weekend night of festivities downtown. He was the seventh victim of the river since 1997, where all of the deaths had happened under similar circumstances. The family decided to challenge the status quo of La Crosse as a hard-drinking party town that provided free transportation to the downtown bars for college students on the weekends via the “Safe Bus” (more commonly known as the “Drunk Bus”).

Amidst a negative media deluge against the family, we changed the University of Wisconsin’s, La Crosse, policy on alcohol advertising in the student newspaper, changed the route and policy behind the “Drunk Bus”, encouraged a task force for alcohol abuse appointed by a long-standing Mayor (who subsequently resigned from the office), and ultimately saw changes in the way alcohol is distributed to college students in La Crosse. Even though no monetary award was received by the family, our hard-fought efforts helped implement positive changes in La Crosse to prevent similar future tragedies and raised alcohol awareness to a new level in that community.

My efforts in making new laws, challenging insurance companies, and powerful interests in tough issues are evidence of my desire to protect and serve those families most in need.
I have successfully prosecuted multiple Federal Lawsuits against State and Local authorities for in-custody deaths. Defendants in these cases include Columbia Correctional Institute, Waukesha Huber Facility, Winnebago Mental Health Institute, and Taycheedah Correctional Institute. Not only did we recover several million dollars for the tragic deaths of the inmates we represented, but major institutional changes were made at every facility to correct the deficiencies that contributed to the in-custody deaths at issue.

I was honorably discharged from the U.S.M.C. in 1998, after enlisting during the first Gulf War. Prior to entering the Marines, I worked as a probation officer and multiple, various other jobs through college and law school. All of these experiences have helped mold me into a well-rounded individual that treats all people as equals, to be accorded the respect and dignity they deserve.

Forget the hype, we live our motto every day, Trial Attorneys You Can Trust. We will do everything in our power to zealously represent your family, protect your rights in every respect and successfully resolve your claim. I look forward to working with you and your family to attain a healthy recovery and fair compensation for your injuries.

Attorney Gende Is a Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum®

James Gende is an invited member of The Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, The Top Trial Lawyers in America®, established in 1993. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Fewer than 1% of all U.S. lawyers are members. Membership signifies excellence in advocacy.

Top 100 National Trial Lawyers

James Gende is a member of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state in the nation who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff trial lawyers. Attorney Gende’s selection was based on a thorough multi-phase process, which included peer nominations combined with third-party research. Membership is extended solely to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and public profile.

National Board of Trial Advocacy

James Gende has been a certified member of the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 2004. His dedication to achieving and maintaining a high standard of practice and leveling the playing field for clients is shared by those other attorneys who obtain National Board of Trial Advocacy certification.

Certificate holders undergo a thorough screening of their credentials and are subject to strict scrutiny by the NBLSC Standards Committee. Currently, fewer than 4% of all practicing lawyers are certified by an ABA-accredited or state-sponsored certification board.

Milwaukee Magazine honors James J. Gende II as a “Rising Star”

Milwaukee Magazine in coordination with Super Lawyers named James J. Gende II a Rising Star attorney in December 2007. The designation put Attorney Gende in the top 2.5% of the best up-and-coming attorneys in Wisconsin. After attorneys are surveyed and extensive independent credentials researched, Super Lawyers are then asked to vote for the best attorneys who are 40 or under. The Super Lawyers vote for Rising Stars they have personally observed in action – whether as opposing counsel, co-counsel, or through other first-hand courtroom observation.

  • Wisconsin Bar
  • Illinois Bar
  • Million Dollar Advocates
  • Wisconsin Association for Justice
  • National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Top 100 Trial Attorney
  • Super Lawyers