Core Values in Action

"Freeborn is a Firm which enables me to work with my clients to do precisely what is in their best interests. This means that I take the time necessary to listen to my clients’ needs and formulate a strategy to solve their problems efficiently, creatively and effectively."

Gia Colunga is a Partner in the Litigation Practice Group and a member of the Complex Litigation Team.

Gia represents clients in all phases of complex litigation in state and federal courts across the country. Her experience includes a wide range of commercial cases, including litigation relating to breach of contract, franchising, aviation, products liability, sexual abuse, fraud, trade secrets, restrictive covenants and other employment matters, such as retaliatory discharge, Title VII, ADEA and FLSA disputes.

But Gia's "sweet spot," so to speak, is managing sensitive litigation, which may have a difficult subject matter like harassment or sexual abuse, be worth millions of dollars, or have hit the news. In those types of cases, her skills truly shine through. Indeed, during one such case, Gia received the "40 Under Forty" award from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer. One of her nominators for the award said: "without a doubt, that of the more than a dozen skilled lawyers involved in this case, Gia has the best, most comprehensive grasp of the facts of the case, the nuances of the witnesses and the legal principles applicable to the litigation." The nominator continued, saying, "she is one of the select few who has the natural talent, the drive and the quintessential professionalism to lead the bar in the years ahead."

In addition to her general caseload, Gia regularly devotes time to non-profit organizations and to pro bono matters. In fact, the Illinois Legal Aid Online non-profit organization recognized her for pro bono work, naming her the pro bono attorney of the month. Gia is also on the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run Chicago, a non-profit organization dedicated to preparing girls for a lifetime of self-respect and health.

Representative Matters

  • Defeated at the summary-judgment stage claims of a conspiracy to defraud where the plaintiff was seeking damages in excess of half a billion dollars.
  • Defeated the plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case, where the plaintiffs alleged a national policy of failing to pay for orientation, training and other hours at a quick-service restaurant chain.
  • Served as lead counsel for a large corporation in a multiple plaintiff, multiple defendant child sexual abuse case.
  • Secured a victory after a four-day bench trial in federal court in a restrictive covenant case brought by a large national insurance brokerage client against a former executive, with the Court, among other things, awarding $1.9 million in attorneys' fees, imposing a permanent injunction, and referring the defendant to the Office of the United States Attorney for investigation into possible perjury charges.
  • Successfully achieved summary judgment on a retaliatory-discharge claim.
  • Defeated the plaintiff’s tort claims in a multi-day arbitration involving tortious interference with prospective business advantage, defamation and non-compete claims.
  • Defeated breach of contract and federal claims asserted against an airline.
  • Represented various manufacturers in products liability cases across the country.
Honors & Awards: 
  • Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer – 40 Under Forty Illinois Attorneys to Watch – 2017
  • Illinois Super Lawyers - Rising Stars (2012-2018)
  • Leading Lawyers - Emerging Lawyers (2015-2018)
  • Pro Bono Attorney of the Month - Illinois Legal Aid Online - September 2008
Professional Activities: 
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Women's Bar Association of Illinois 
Publications: 
  • Federal Regulations Update, Empl. Rel. Today, 42(3): 51-57 (Fall 2015) (co-authored with Rachel Atterberry).
  • Federal Regulations Update, Empl. Rel. Today 42:49-54 (Spring 2015) (co-authored with Rachel Atterberry).
  • Federal Regulations Update, Empl. Rel. Today 41:53-5 (Fall 2014) (co-authored with Rachel Atterberry).
  • Author, "Supreme Court to Decide if Security Screening Time is Compensable Under FLSA,” 29 No. 7 WJEMP 1, Westlaw Journal Employment (October 2014).
  • Author, "Center Partners, Ltd. v. Growth Head GP, LLC: The Subject Matter Waiver Doctrine Does Not Apply To The Disclosure Of Privileged Documents During Business Negotiations." Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Civil Litigation Flash Points Series (March 2013). 
  • Co-author, "Trial Techniques in Business and Commercial Cases," Business and Commercial Litigation IICLE (2012).
  • Author, "Greer v. Advanced Equities, Inc.: Confirming That a Nonrelease Clause Precludes Fraud as a Matter of Law," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Civil Litigation Flash Points Series (April 2012). 
  • Author, "Palmolive Tower Condominiums, LLC v. Simon: Clarifying When An Appellate Court Has Jurisdiction Over An Appeal Pursuant To Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Civil Litigation Flash Points Series (June 2011).
  • Author, "Steam Sales Corp. v. Summers: The Validity of the Legitimate Business-Interest Test is a Continuing Debate," Non-Competition and Trade Secret Advisor (4th Quarter 2010).
  • Author, Nationwide Business? A Non-Compete Agreement with a Customer Restriction Can Protect Your Bottom Line, Non-Competition and Trade Secret Advisor (Spring 2010).
  • Author, "People v. Givens: Examining the Court’s Ability to Address Issues Sua Sponte," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Civil Litigation Flash Points Series (July 2010).
  • Author, "Turner v. Memorial Medical Center: Emphasizing The Challenges A Plaintiff Faces When Alleging A Retaliatory Discharge Claim," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Civil Litigation Flash Points Series (August 2009).
  • Author, "Imperial Apparel, Ltd. v. Cosmo's Designer Direct, Inc., Reexamining The First Amendment's Effects on Defamation," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Civil Litigation Flash Points Series (April 2008).
  • Author, "Home-Buyers Beware: Your Title Insurance Protects You Only So Far," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Civil Litigation Flash Points Series (June 2006).

Education

J.D., Loyola University Chicago School of Law, cum laude, Executive Student Articles Editor, Loyola University Chicago Law Journal; Recipient of the CALI Excellence Award in Legal Writing, Appellate Advocacy, Constitutional Law, and Secured Transactions
B.A., Tulane University, cum laude, Recipient of a Four-Year Academic Scholarship, The Founder's Scholarship

State Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Federal Bar Admissions

  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Community Service

  • Board of Directors, Girls on the Run Chicago 
  • Former Finance Council Board Member, St. Hedwig Catholic Church
http://www.leadinglawyers.com/atty_profile.cfm?TOCUID=1521924http://www.superlawyers.com/illinois/lawyer/Gia-F-Colunga/1a32d5f5-6053-42d2-a758-9f23fb42d28f.htmlhttp://www.chicagolawbulletin.com/40-attorneys-under-40/attorneys/2017/colunga