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Matthew Katz
Contact Information:

Chicago, IL

Phone - (773) 847-8982
Fax - (773) 847-8985

Email Me

Client Successes

Matthew (Mateo) Katz comes from a multi-cultural community with a high Jewish population, he grew up listening to stories of Holocaust survivors, “I was obsessed with the Holocaust and generally with human suffering caused by prejudice as a kid.” In listening to these stories, he would think to himself that something is wrong with the way things are in the world. He made a very firm commitment to social justice and fighting for a society where prejudice wasn’t a key feature of society. Katz says this and his Spanish language skills is what drove him to want to be an advocate for the Latino immigrant community.

Matthew Katz is someone who for years has been committed to fighting for the rights of poor and minority communities, and now for his clients. Since 1989, he has been an organizer and active participant in various projects and forms of social activism to improve human conditions and work to ensure that the civil rights to which we are all entitled are protected. Here, we delineate the various activities and accomplishments of his student, political and professional life.

In high school and college, Mateo was very involved in activist movements, became involved in journalism and in writing a weekly column that talked about social issues. He made a special trip to Chiapas, Mexico while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to learn from other activists from around the country about the prejudice the indigenous suffered and wrote and discussed these topics in print and radio.

Immediately after college, he was hired by Farragut High School and taught for 7 years. There he founded the debate team, beating Chicago Public Schools’ flagship Whitney Young High School in one of the first tournaments. In hearing all of the stories of students and how they and their families suffered from domestic violence, lawyer abuses and notary frauds, and so many other injustices, he felt impotent and decided to return to school to help these families and students in legal matters. Matthew Katz went from a former inner-city high school instructor to immigration attorney, with offices in Chicago and suburbs.

Working with DePaul Law School’s Dean of Multicultural Affairs and the Farragut administration, Katz established a free legal clinic and law library at the high school, named after its alum Justice David Cerda, the first Latino judge appointed to the Illinois Appeals Court. For the library, Chicago law firm Mayer Brown donated hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of law books that students used in Katz’s law career cluster program. His mentor teacher Charles Kuner and attorney-director Ed Grossman of the Chicago Legal Clinic were also key supporters. Also during this time Katz compiled his program’s curriculum into his first book, “Law School for High School Kids,” a book written for young people to motivate them to become everything they can in their lives.

Passing the bar exam, Katz and his wife Mayari, opened his law firm in the same neighborhood where they taught. Today, after having stopped hundreds of immigrant clients’ deportations and obtaining lawful permanent resident status for many more, he continues to study in order to improve his growing business. Katz Law Office, Ltd focuses on building a relationship with each client. We are aggressive committed advocates in the legal arena, but our approach with our clients is connecting on a personal level. He completed a Master’s in Business Administration degree at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in December 2015.

For Katz, learning, teaching and advocating for the traditionally underprivileged is what keeps him energized and full of hope. His second book, published in 2013, “El Derecho del Pueblo” explains people’s basic legal rights in the Spanish language. His third book on art in Mexico City is due to be published in 2013. Katz also does Spanish language radio shows in which he gives legal updates to the Latino community. He says that his friends, staff, family and students have given him the support and wisdom to accomplish his goals. You can find more information about Matthew Katz on our website or via his 6000+ amigos Facebook page.

Matthew Katz currently lives in the West Lawndale neighborhood with his wife Mayari Guzman and his lovely cat, Henry.

Academic and Political Activities

Since 1989 - Organizer and participant in marches and protests for human and civil rights, the rights of unions, workers and against the KKK, starting at Evanston Township High School.

1993-1997 - Honors student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in History and Education. Earned a Bachelor of Arts in the Teaching of Social Studies. 3.5/4.0 GPA.

Summer 1994 - Co-organizer of Zapatista Solidarity, at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign, a group which organized to support the Mexican indigenous and served as one of four-thousand participants from forty-four countries in the International Encounter for Humanity and Against Neo-Liberalism as a representative of the U of I chapter to dialogue with activists and with the Zapatistas in the Lacandon Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico.

Fall 1995 - Honors student at the University of Granada, Granada, Spain, in history, politics and language.

1995-1996 - International reporter for the radio program, Labor Beat, Champaign Public Radio, calling in analyses of the international labor movement from Mexico and Spain.

Spring 1996 - Principal organizer of the student movement, March for Justice, in Champaign-Urbana, in which hundreds of students marched together in protest against Illinois' version of California's Proposition 187, which forced immigrants to show ID/proof of citizenship before being provided health care at hospitals or before being admitted to public schools, and against the cutbacks in student loans and repeal of affirmative-action programs in college admissions.

Summer 1996 One of twelve students who traveled to Mexico City to study the history of the Mexican Revolution and the life of Emiliano Zapata at the International University of the United States, where he earned academic honors.

1996-1997 - Weekly columnist for the Daily Illini Newspaper in Champaign, Illinois, where he wrote about human rights, government corruption, police brutality throughout the Americas and about the marches and protests in which he and other political activists participated, including the Latino March on Washington, in October of 1996.

2000-2003 - Night student at DePaul University College of Law, where he completed a four-year program in three years and three summers, while still teaching full-time and coaching the Farragut debate team. Graduated in the top 20% of his class.

Summer 2002 - Participated in a program of the William and Mary Law School based in Madrid, Spain, where he completed a week-long practicum with the Baker & McKenzie Law Firm and studied international commercial law and European Union law with Spanish attorneys and law professors.

2002-2003 - Winner of two CALI Awards for being the highest-scoring student in the courses, Constitutional Law and Trial Advocacy, at DePaul University College of Law. He also won a scholarship to attend the Association of Trial Lawyer's of America's annual conference in San Francisco, California to represent DePaul College of Law its top trial advocacy student of the school year.

August 2003 - Received his Juris Doctor (Law Degree) from DePaul University College of Law. GPA 3.5/4.0

Professional Activities

2010 - Attorney Katz was invited to write about "Navigating Family, Consumer, and Immigration Law Complexities in the Post-Recession Era" in Strategies for Family Law in Illinois.

June 2004 - Admitted to practice law before the Federal Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

May 2004 - Admitted to the Illinois Bar Licensed to practice law in Illinois by the Illinois Supreme Court.

2004 - Winner of the Little Village Educator of the Year award given by the community scholarship initiative, Fuerza.

Summer 2003 - Winner of the Summer Public Interest Internship scholarship/award from the Public Interest Law Institute (PILI) foundation to work for latino civil rights at the law firm, MALDEF (Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Foundation), where he worked with attorneys and other staff on civil rights lawsuits.

Fall 2003 - Winner of the community leadership award from the Little Village Community Development Corporation (LVCDC) for having involved Farragut students in a hands-on educational program to promote environmental activism in the Little Village community.

2003 - Author of the text, “Law School for High School Students” (and for anybody else that wants the simple version), which teaches high school students how to read and analyze case law and statutes, and understand the basics of several areas of law, including criminal procedure and constitutional law.

Summer 2001 Worked as law clerk for the Lawyer's Committee for Better Housing, where he assisted attorneys represent indigent renters and protect them from wrongful eviction and, for many, probable homelessness. Also helped to translate the firm's Renter's Rights Guide.

2000-2003 - Visitor and supporter of the Huichol indigenous group of Nayarit, Mexico, during his summer and winter vacations.

2000-Present - Founder of the law program at Farragut Career Academy; organized the donation of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of law books to create the first complete Federal and State (Illinois) law library in an American high school to be used in law-instruction of high school students. The library helps students research, read and brief court cases and conduct court observations as part of the instructional program. Several area law-firms and law schools donated to the collection.

1998-2003 - Founder and coach of the Farragut Debate Team, together with 38-year Farragut veteran teacher Charles Kuner, which beat Whitney-Young high school (Chicago's flagship magnet high school) for the tournament championship at one of its first debate tournament matches.

1997-2004 - Instructor of U.S. History, U.S. Government and Law, History of Latin-America, World Studies and Economics, at Farragut Career Academy high school in Little Village, Chicago, Illinois.

1997-2003 - Winner of six awards for educational programs at Farragut high school, one of which included an Oppenheimer Grant for the Race, History and YOU project, which, for four consecutive years on Saturdays in May, brought hundreds of high-schoolers from throughout Chicagoland to be taught about the history of social justice in the Americas by Farragut high school students. Another grant funded travel to Germany as part of an Illinois State Board of Education delegation to meet with German dignitaries and develop post-Holocaust era curriculum for U.S. schools. Another award was granted by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities to study the history of cartography and develop curriculum at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Areas of Practice:
Immigration Law
Family Law
Criminal Law
Civil Litigation
Personal Injury
Mortgage, Foreclosure and Loan Modification
Bar Admissions:
Illinois, 2004
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 2004
Evanston Township High School, High School Graduate, 1993
University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, B.A. in Teaching of Social Studies, 1997
DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, IL, J.D. Cum Laude, 2004
University of Chicago Booth School of Business, MBA, 2015 (Exp.)
TV Appearances:
Radio Formula TV
Canal 11 with Fernando Tapia
Classes/Seminars Taught:
Instructor, U.S. History
Instructor, U.S. Government and Law
Instructor, History of Latin-America
Instructor, World Studies and Economics, Farragut Career Academy High School in Little Village, Chicago, Illinois
Honors and Awards:
Honors Student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.A., History and Education, 1993 - 1997
Honors Student at the University Of Granada, Granada, Spain, in History, Politics and Language, 1995
Winner of two CALI Awards, 2002 - 2003
Top Trial Advocacy Student of the School Year
Winner, Community Leadership Award, Little Village Community Development Corporation, 2003
Winner, Summer Public Interest Internship Scholarship/Award, Public Interest Law Institute, 2003
Winner, Little Village Educator, Year Award, Community Scholarship Initiative, Fuerza, 2004
Dean’s Honor List, The University of Chicago, Boot School of Business, 2014
Professional Associations and Memberships:
American Association for Justice, Civil Rights and Employment Law Sections, Member
Chicago Bar Association, Criminal Defense and Immigration Sections, Member
Illinois State Bar Association, Member
American Bar Association, Member
American Immigration Lawyer's Association, Member
Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Member, Civil Rights and Employment Law Sections
Past Employment Positions:
Lawyer's Committee, Better Housing, Law Clerk, 2001
Chicago Public Schools, Instructor, 1997 – 2004

Practice Areas