OUR LEGAL TEAM

CHICAGO MESOTHELIOMA LAWYERS

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WYATT J. BERKOVER

Associate Attorney

After receiving his B.A in Political Science from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012, Mr. Berkover graduated cum laude from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2016.

After receiving his B.A in Political Science from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012, Mr. Berkover graduated cum laude from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2016.

While attending Chicago-Kent, Mr. Berkover was elected as a Chicago-Kent Student Bar Association representative and elected as the Chicago-Kent student representative to the Illinois State Bar Association. Mr. Berkover was awarded the CALI Award for the highest grade in Environmental Law and Policy 2 while studying at Chicago-Kent. Mr. Berkover began working with Nicholas Vogelzang in 2015 as a law clerk and joined Vogelzang Law as an associate in the fall of 2016.

Mr. Berkover represents victims of personal injury and wrongful death, from the initial client meeting through the trial. He focuses on representing victims of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos related diseases.

Mr. Berkover is admitted before the Illinois State Bar and is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.
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NICHOLAS J. VOGELZANG

Lead Counsel

Nicholas Vogelzang, Esq., has represented over two hundred families across the United State who have been victimized by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Nicholas Vogelzang has tried numerous asbestos lawsuits on behalf of families stricken with mesothelioma in both Cook County and Madison County Illinois.  One of his first trials was in 2003 on behalf of Roby Whittington, resulting in the largest asbestos verdict in Illinois history at $250,000,000.  Since then, he has represented over 200 families with every imaginable type of asbestos exposure throughout the country resulting in over 200 million in settlements and verdicts.

In 2017, he represented a variety of workers that had been diagnosed with mesothelioma.  They included a bricklayer from US Steel, an insulator from Hooker Chemical, a laborer from Union Carbide, a sheet metal worker from John Deere, two employees from Borg Warner, a plastic worker from Batts Plastics, and a local 130 Chicago union plumber.  Nicholas takes pride in personally getting to know each family by working with them to determine the source of the asbestos exposure.

In 2018, he represented a sheet metal worker, a chemical engineer from Allied Chemical, a TWA airplane mechanic, the mother and husband of a local 597 Chicago pipe fitter, a residential and commercial plumber, a window glazier, a local 17 asbestos insulator, the wife of a John Jay High School maintenance worker, a pipe fitter that worked at Bethlehem Steel and later Kroger Dairy, and two steelworkers from US Steel.

Mr. Vogelzang is highly dedicated to his craft, regularly appearing in Court on behalf of his clients to argue motions against Fortune 500 companies and their national counsel.  He continues his dedication to his clients by working with bright young associates that assist in every aspect of the litigation.
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MICHAEL A. MAIENZA

Associate Attorney

Mr. Maienza earned his B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business in 2013 and then received his Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law in 2017.

Mr. Maienza earned his B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business in 2013 and then received his Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law in 2017.

While at the DePaul University College of Law, Mr. Maienza competed in both Minneapolis and Cincinnati as a member of the Appellate Moot Court Society. In addition, he served as a judicial external under the Hon. Michael T. Mullen in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Throughout law school, Mr. Maienza volunteered with the Legal Aid Society ultimately gaining his 711 license allowing him to work directly with clients for the Domestic Violence team.

Vogelzang Law

A boutique, personal injury firm with a family environment.

Our team is committed to our clients, their families, and justice. As our client, you will be served by a unified team of Vogelzang Law staff dedicated to shepherding you and your family through each phase of the litigation process. This multi-angle approach enables us to provide each client with continuity of care.

We’ve recently moved into a new & larger office space, which has great views, professional meeting rooms, a comfortable “think tank,” and a memorial wall, providing a highly functional and collaborative space for our dedicated attorneys and staff.

MEET OUR DEDICATED

Staff Members

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Caylei Vogelzang

Director of Business Strategy

Caylei Vogelzang, a native Oregonian, spent her early years on her family’s idyllic organic herb farm where her savvy business marketing skill set began to form. Her family’s business built rapport in the local community, and eventually with a national audience. Now, the Director of Business Strategy at Vogelzang Law, Caylei is responsible for setting and driving the course for the firm.

Caylei Vogelzang, a native Oregonian, spent her early years on her family’s idyllic organic herb farm where her savvy business marketing skill set began to form. Her family's business built rapport in the local community, and eventually with a national audience. Now, the Director of Business Strategy at Vogelzang Law, Caylei is responsible for setting and driving the course for the firm.

In pursuit of higher education and adventure, Caylei left Oregon to attend St. Andrw’s boarding school in Middletown Delaware, followed by Columbia College at Columbia University in New York, NY where she received her B.A.

Upon graduation, Caylei returned to her family business full time, serving as East Coast Sales Manager and National Sales Manager before moving to Chicago.  In Chicago, Caylei took a position as Director of Sponsorship Fulfillment for a race management company before co-founding the Fort2Base Race, which she developed from the ground up and sold.

As Director of Business Strategy at Vogelzang Law, responsibilities include overseeing the general operations of the firm, marketing and PR efforts, charitable initiatives, and community outreach.
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Mirela Stefanescu

Public Relations Manager/Union Liaison

Mirela Stefanescu received her AS in Health and Wellness Promotion from the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL and studied advertising and marketing at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. As the PR Manager and Union Laison for Vogelzang Law, she oversees, coordinates and manages all events the firm attends and hosts from union golf outings to charitable activities.

Mirela Stefanescu received her AS in Health and Wellness Promotion from the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL and studied advertising and marketing at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. As the PR Manager and Union Laison for Vogelzang Law, she oversees, coordinates, and manages all events the firm attends and hosts from union golf outings to charitable activities.

Mirela has worked with a majority of the unions throughout Illinois and Northwestern Indiana on awareness of asbestos-related disease while incorporating how the litigation process can benefit members.

She is extremely passionate about giving back to the community, both locally and nationally. She has volunteered at a number of charitable organizations such as Imerman Angels, PAWS Chicago, Lakeview Pantry, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, The American Lung Association and Breakthrough Urban Ministries, both personally and professionally. Her largest charitable endeavor will be organizing the Vogelzang Law 1st annual Mesothelioma Race for Justice 5K in 2018 benefiting the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
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Kelsi Lockhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsi Lockhart, from central Illinois, has called Chicago “home” since attending DePaul University where she obtained her B.A. in Public Relations & Advertising. Now, the Director of Business Development at Vogelzang Law, Kelsi manages the firms’ digital properties and assists in developing and implementing the overall marketing and business strategy.

Kelsi Lockhart, from central Illinois, has called Chicago “home” since attending DePaul University where she obtained her B.A. in Public Relations & Advertising. Now, the Director of Business Development at Vogelzang Law, Kelsi manages the firms' digital properties and assists in developing and implementing the overall marketing and business strategy.

Other areas of study at DePaul included marketing, Latino media, and organizational development. All throughout college, she interned for organizations in various industries such as entertainment, sports, and education in both PR and Marketing capacities. Post-graduation, she accepted a job offer with Keyence Corporation, a factory automation company, where she became a channel marketing specialist.

She was a Technical Marketing Engineer in a lead generation role at Keyence tasked to manage all channels of marketing (i.e. e-mail marketing, digital marketing, advertising, PPC, SEO, direct mail, and trade shows) for the Digital Microscope Team.
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Katie Neuman

Executive Coordinator

As a Chicagoland native and a Columbia College alumni, Katie Neuman joins Vogelzang Law and brings with her 13 years of experience in litigation.  Katie’s charming yet efficient nature is the driving force behind her ambition and also why she is spearheading Vogelzang Law’s Media & Publications division.

As a Chicagoland native, and a Columbia College alumni, Katie Neuman joins Vogelzang Law and brings with her 13 years of experience in litigation. Katie’s charming yet efficient nature is the driving force behind her ambition and also why she is spearheading Vogelzang Law’s Media & Publications division.

Katie’s genuine desire to connect with people will continue to steer her down a successful path as she builds relationships with the top names in legal media in a spirited effort to continually boost Vogelzang Law’s presence. We are thrilled to have her aboard.
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Jake Mecham

Chief Technology Officer

Coming from the Intermountain West, Jake Mecham is the Chief Technology Officer, certified Filevine expert, and resident “Tech Guru” for Vogelzang Law.

Coming from the Intermountain West, Jake Mecham is the Chief Technology Officer, certified Filevine expert, and resident “Tech Guru” for Vogelzang Law.

Mr. Mecham believes that an effective implementation of technology increases a firm’s efficiency and allows for greater personal connections. Since joining Vogelzang Law in June of 2017, Mr. Mecham has had two main focuses: implementing an accessible database and automating the firm’s technical workflow. Using his expertise in Microsoft Office, Visual Basic for Applications, G-Suite scripts, and the new database software Filevine, Mr. Mecham has streamlined the firm’s document generation processes, deadline tracking, and task management. Additionally, Mr. Mecham’s database efforts allow our legal staff to easily reference a vast history of successful cases and ensure the largest possible settlement for our clients.

Mr. Mecham earned his Bachelor of Arts in Composition at Brigham Young University-Idaho and his Master of Arts in Humanities at the University of Chicago.
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Barbara Summers

Senior Claims Analyst and Settlement Paralegal

Barbara Summers serves as the firm’s Senior Claims Analyst and Settlement Paralegal where she manages the firm’s Bankruptcy and Settlement Departments. She has over 7 years of extensive experience in the legal industry as a paralegal working in various aspects of personal injury.

Barbara Summers serves as the firm’s Senior Claims Analyst and Settlement Paralegal where she manages the firm’s Bankruptcy and Settlement Departments. She has over 7 years of extensive experience in the legal industry as a paralegal working in various aspects of personal injury.

Her responsibilities include coordination of incoming asbestos claims, reviewing and summarizing medical records, performing legal research and gathering case-relevant data and material for claims submission, and managing administrative matters for various Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts. She is also responsible for drafting and reviewing all settlement and confidentiality agreements, monitoring the entire process of ensuring settlement and coordinating settlement distributions and allocations.

She enjoys working at Vogelzang Law, PC where she can make a personal connection with clients and a positive impact on their lives through her work. Each day she is motivated by opportunities to help victims of mesothelioma and to experience new challenges.

Prior to joining the firm in 2015, Barbara worked as a Subrogation Paralegal and HIPAA Compliance Officer at a commercial law firm. Her responsibilities included working on all aspects of the recovery process and managing subrogation programs for national healthcare plans. Her legal experience also includes work in litigation and product liability.

Barbara attended Georgetown University and DePaul University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She is an of Paralegal Associations, Illinois Paralegal Association, National Notary Association, and Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society.
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Genevieve Mladenka

Legal Assistant/Claims Analyst

Ms. Mladenka works in the Bankruptcy Claims Department at Vogelzang Law. She also handles the resolution of all pertinent Medicare reimbursement claims for Vogelzang Law clients.

Genevieve Mladenka works in the Bankruptcy Claims Department at Vogelzang Law. She also handles the resolution of all pertinent Medicare reimbursement claims for Vogelzang Law clients.

Genevieve was born and raised in the area surrounding Austin, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, her first job out of college was at a law firm located in the central Texas area. Despite her Lone Star situation, Genevieve has traveled throughout the United States of America to meet with people who have been exposed to asbestos and she has years of experience helping clients receive the compensation they deserve.

Genevieve moved to Chicago, Illinois to earn her Master of Arts in Humanities at the University of Chicago. She joined Vogelzang Law in 2016 and she is proud to contribute to the firm’s dedicated and compassionate service to those affected by asbestos-related disease.
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Daniel Flores

Law Clerk

Mr. Flores earned his B.A. in English from Loyola University of Chicago in 2016. Afterwards, Mr. Flores enrolled in the Juris Doctor program at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he is currently on track to graduate in 2019.

Mr. Flores earned his B.A. in English from Loyola University of Chicago in 2016. Afterwards, Mr. Flores enrolled in the Juris Doctor program at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he is currently on track to graduate in 2019.

In his 1L year at Chicago-Kent, Mr. Flores was awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for the highest grade in Legislation and Legal Writing II. He also was also named to the Dean’s List in both of his 1L semesters. Currently in his 2L year, Mr. Flores is a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, for which he will compete in the Rendigs Products Liability competition. He is also serving as a Teaching Assistant for Civil Procedure.

Before clerking at Vogelzang Law, Mr. Flores worked as a clerk in a firm focused on medical malpractice litigation. His focus in the legal field has been on plaintiff advocacy.
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Sadie Grunewald

Law Clerk

Ms. Grunewald is a third-year law student attending Chicago-Kent College of Law anticipating graduation in May 2018.  She earned her B.A. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she majored in International Studies and Political Science and minored in African Studies and Global Health.

Ms. Grunewald is a third-year law student attending Chicago-Kent College of Law anticipating graduation in May 2018.  She earned her B.A. at University of Wisconsin-Madison where she majored in International Studies and Political Science and minored in African Studies and Global Health.  She began her law school career at The John Marshall Law School and subsequently transferred to Chicago-Kent after her first year.

In the summer following her first year of law school, she served as a law clerk at the Environmental Law & Policy Center and participated in a summer program on Global Health Rights Litigation at Georgetown Law.  During her second year of law school, she gained experience as a law clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, and Chicago Environmental Law Clinic.

At Chicago-Kent, she is currently a Submissions Editor for the Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property, a member of the Society of Women in Law, and participant of the 2018 National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition.
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Marissa Divine

Paralegal

Marissa Divine works as one of the firm’s litigation paralegals. She has about 2 years of experience in the legal field working mainly in civil litigation.

Marissa Divine works as one of the firm's litigation paralegals. She has about 2 years of experience in the legal field working mainly in civil litigation.

She works closely with head counsel in preparation of handling complex cases for litigation from discovery to the trial phase. Some of her main responsibilities include assisting attorneys with managing deadlines, drafting and filing legal documents, and addressing any administrative needs as to ensure an organized and timely court process.

Prior to joining the firm in May of 2017, Marissa worked as a legal assistant at a firm specializing in personal injury and insurance law.

Marissa graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago where she received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. While attending Loyola as an undergraduate student, she received the Dr. Dean Charles W. Hart award and was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is currently working toward her Master's degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology at Loyola.
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Vanja Lapic

Financial Analyst

Vanja oversees the daily functions of the finance/accounting department. He uses his analytical background towards integrating cloud-based solutions for improved oversight and scalability.

Vanja oversees the daily functions of the finance/accounting department. He uses his analytical background towards integrating cloud-based solutions for improved oversight and scalability. .

He received his Bachelor of Science in Business with a core in Economics from DePaul and shortly thereafter followed up with a Master’s of Science in Applied Economics from DePaul – Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.

During his time at DePaul, he applied himself to various organizations and events that helped promote not-for-profit and small business growth. He was a member of Net Impact, a social organization aiming to increase sustainable growth, where he organized events and partook in examining a local not-for-profit’s goals and helped them take actionable steps towards reaching them. Additionally, he has worked for a financial service company where he improved internal workflows, and a German start-up, on the financial and business development front.
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