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 and Labor & Employment Practice Groups 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, construction, products liability, sexual abuse, fraud, trade secrets, restrictive covenants and other employment matters, such as retaliatory discharge, Title VII, ADEA and FLSA disputes. She also regularly counsels clients on a variety of employment and contract issues.
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. In such a case, a third-party provided the following feedback to Chambers about her work: "I cannot speak highly enough of her. … She was the one person who developed an encyclopedic understanding of
the facts, witnesses and issues that were critical to the defense. She coordinated an immense amount of diverse effort that ultimately led to the resolution of the case. Her greatest strengths are her organizational ability, leadership qualities and coolness under fire. She has no weakness, but for a comparatively young litigator she has accomplished major league results. I anticipate her value to clients will only increase in the coming years. I have not
encountered an attorney with the multi-faceted skill set possessed by Gia Colunga." She received similar feedback from nominators several years ago when she received the "40 Under Forty" award from the Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer.
In addition to her general caseload, Gia regularly devotes time to non-profit organizations and to pro bono matters. The Illinois Legal Aid Online non-profit organization recognized her for pro bono work, naming her the pro bono attorney of the month. Recently, Gia served as pro bono counsel along side the National Immigrant Justice Center, to win freedom and protection for a woman from Cameroon. Gia is also on 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.
Defended large church in a variety of matters, including sexual abuse and harassment.
Successfully obtained summary judgment for printing company on gender discrimination and sexual harassment claims.
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 trial victory in federal court in a restrictive covenant case brought by a large national insurance brokerage client, including obtaining an award of $1.9 million in attorneys' fees and an injunction.
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.
Defended tech company in contentious sexual harassment EEOC proceeding and secured a favorable settlement for the client.
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.
Honors & Awards
Honors & Awards
- Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer – 40 Under Forty Illinois Attorneys to Watch – 2017
- Illinois Leading Lawyers - Emerging Lawyers (2015-2020)
- Illinois Super Lawyers - 2022, Business Litigation (listed in multiple years)
- Illinois Super Lawyers - Rising Stars (2012-2019)
- Pro Bono Attorney of the Month - Illinois Legal Aid Online - September 2008
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Women's Bar Association of Illinois
- 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).