Skip to content


Joe Duffy is an accomplished and resourceful trial lawyer who focuses his national practice on white collar criminal defense and complex business litigation. He handles all aspects of federal and state criminal prosecutions through the investigative, prosecutive and appellate stages. 

He has extensive experience representing individuals and corporations in internal and government investigations as well as civil and criminal jury trials and appeals. Joe has successfully represented clients in cases involving health care, antitrust, defense procurement, securities, environmental, tax and public corruption matters. 

Prior to joining private practice, Joe spent nearly a decade in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, including serving as first assistant U.S. attorney. He draws upon his experience as a federal prosecutor working on matters involving complex financial crime and public corruption. Joe is also a CPA, and he previously worked as an agent for the IRS. 

Widely viewed as one of the nation’s leading white collar criminal attorneys, Joe has been consistently recognized in leading legal and trade publications and news reports. His work was featured in the book “Golden: How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself out of the Governor’s Office and Into Prison,” by Jeff Coen, in which the author detailed Joe’s exceptional cross-examination of the government’s key witness in defense of Antoin Rezko, a fundraiser for former Illinois Gov. Blagojevich.

Select examples of Joe's prior experience include:

  • Represented the lead defendant, a commodity trader charged with 11 other defendants in the government’s undercover probe of trading practices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After a five-month criminal jury trial, the client was found not guilty.
  • Represented a doctor charged along with two healthcare companies and their executives in a three-month criminal health care fraud jury trial. The client was found not guilty.
  • Represented a dairy executive in a criminal antitrust jury trial that resulted in all charges being dismissed during the trial.
  • Obtained dismissal before a retrial of criminal OSHA charges against the nation’s largest power line construction firm following a reversal by the Seventh Circuit.
  • Obtained an acquittal from bribery charges against the CEO/founder of a national pharmacy benefit company.
  • Secured a historic judgment against a municipality and elected officials in a three-week civil trial involving racial housing discrimination. An editorial by the Chicago Tribune commended counsel’s work.
  • Represented a municipality in the largest Clean Water Act investigation in the Chicago metro area.
  • Successfully represented a for-profit college in a consumer fraud action brought by the Illinois attorney general.
  • Represented senior banking officers in Congressional investigations involving the U.S. banking crisis.
  • Represented the senior safety executive in a criminal investigation of one of the world’s largest automotive companies.
  • Represented multiple foreign national executives in criminal antitrust investigations.
  • Represented several senior executives in SEC insider trading investigations.


  • University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, J.D.
  • DePaul University, B.A., with honors

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois


  • Named in The Legal 500 US in Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, published by Legalease Limited and John Pritchard (2020-2024)
  • Named "Illinois Super Lawyer" in Criminal Defense: White Collar and Business Litigation by Thomson Reuters (2005-2024)
  • Named "Best Lawyer" in Criminal Defense: White Collar, The Best Lawyers in America, published by Woodward White, Inc. (2015-2024)
  • Named among “Top Lawyers in Illinois” in Criminal Defense Law: White Collar by the Leading Lawyers Network (2005-2018)
  • Named in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business, in Illinois Litigation: White Collar Crime and Government Investigations (2007-2024 editions)
  • Highest "AV Preeminent (5 out of 5)" Professional Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Recognized as a “Local Litigation Star” among Illinois litigators in General Commercial Litigation and White Collar Crime, Benchmark Litigation
  • Named in Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defense and Investigation Lawyers and Forensic Experts, published by Law Business Research


  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, American Board of Criminal Lawyers
  • Commissioner, Illinois State Police Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board