Firm History

Our History

Neal & Leroy, LLC, one of the oldest minority owned and operated law firms in the United States, was founded in 1938 by Earl J. Neal, who was later appointed a Circuit Court Judge. Judge Neal's son, Earl L. Neal, joined the firm in 1955. Together, father and son tried jury cases throughout Illinois, and quickly gained a reputation as distinguished trial lawyers. The practice burgeoned, and the firm expanded to become Earl L. Neal & Associates, LLC. Earl L. Neal's son, Langdon D. Neal, joined the firm in 1981.

In 2005, the firm became Neal & Leroy, LLC in recognition of the firm's expanded practice areas and the contributions of its dedicated and committed group of Managing Partners, Langdon D. NealMichael D. LeroyRichard F. FriedmanAnne L. FreddJeanette SublettTerrance L. Diamond, and Lenny D. Asaro. In 2013, the firm celebrated 75 years of excellence, and moved to a new location in Chicago’s “Loop” the following year.

Our Practice

The firm's practice is focused primarily in real estate matters including zoning, development and land use, real estate transactions and financepublic and project finance, and eminent domain/condemnation. The firm also practices in construction lawhistoric preservationlitigationmunicipal lawbankruptcy, and labor and employment, although the attorneys of Neal & Leroy have successfully handled a wide variety of more specialized matters for the firm's clients.

Our Approach

In all its endeavors, Neal & Leroy is committed to providing the resources necessary to meet the needs of its clients, no matter how large or small. Mindful of the firm's genesis, and with respect for its history and the high standards it has always attained, Neal & Leroy pledges to exceed expectations of all clients in providing superior quality legal services. Also, we pledge to remain sensitive to the issues of cost containment, accountability, and the unique business concerns of each of our clients.

George N. Leighton - Distinguished Lawyer, Judge, and Civil Rights Advocate

In 1987, after twenty-three combined years as a judge on the state and federal benches, George Leighton, still fondly referred to as “the judge”, became of counsel to Neal & Leroy, LLC, practicing in the areas of litigation and appellate cases. Leighton retired from Neal & Leroy, LLC in October 2011 at the age of ninety-nine years old. As a compassionate champion of human rights, George Leighton has achieved numerous awards recognizing his outstanding service and contributions to the legal community. His participation in several historical cases has been instrumental in defeating racism and other violations of human rights. 

Leighton has defended clients in criminal matters, as well as in cases involving voting rights, fair housing, integrated schools, and equal access to jury service. One of his most famous cases involved Harvey E. Clark Jr., an African-American World War II veteran who was attempting to rent an apartment in an all-white neighborhood in Cicero, Illinois. Leighton obtained an injunction to allow Clark and his family to move into the apartment despite protests from the community. When the Clark family moved into their new residence, the Cicero police forcibly removed them from the neighborhood. The apartment building was set on fire in an ensuing riot. Leighton was unfairly targeted and indicted for conspiring to incite the riot. The charges against Leighton were eventually dropped. After his indictment, he became passionate about prisoners’ rights and undertook several capital punishment cases, saving many individuals from state execution.

Judge Leighton represented hundreds of clients in criminal and civil rights cases, many times without any compensation. His indomitable spirit, brave perseverance, and dedication to justice, make him a truly remarkable role model for our firm.