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DePaul Law Mourns Passing of DePaul Alumni Chester A. Lizak, Esq.

Chester A. Lizak
DePaul Law mourns the passing of Chester Lizak. Lizak was a double demon, earning from DePaul a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1961 and a Juris Doctor in 1963. During law school, he was a Law Review editor, and his article discussing various forms of criminal intent was once required reading for students in criminal law classes.

After law school, he co-founded DiMonte & Lizak (now Robbins DiMonte or RD) with Eugene DiMonte where he had a distinguished legal career representing many criminal defendants and earning accolades from both colleagues and opponents. For the first 10 years of his practice, he worked primarily in criminal law but also represented clients in civil matters. During that time, he obtained not-guilty dispositions for indigent defendants in eight consecutive non-capital murder cases. His work with the Chicago Bar Association (CBA) Defense of Prisoners Committee in the 1960s provided many stories and lifelong memories. 

“Chester and my father practiced together over 50 years, from the mid-1960s until their retirements in 2017, both at the age of 80," said Riccardo A. DiMonte, RD President. “As most of us say, we like being lawyers, but Chester LOVED being a lawyer. He worked six days a week in the office and worked on vacations on the back of the plane or the bus to pass the time during travel." 

His contributions to the legal community extended far beyond the courtroom as he treated everyone with respect and mentored younger colleagues, DiMonte recalled. “One of the partners joked that the letter “z" in Chester's last name stood for zealous, which is required for a talented trial and appellate lawyer. Chester had many well-known and notorious civil and criminal trials and appeals, which both aligned and opposing counsel mentioned when they called me in the office. Even after Chester lost his driving privileges, colleagues taught him to use the Uber app so he could commute to work. Chester was always in a good mood, quick to smile, complimentary of others and extremely humble."

Alan Stefaniak, Lizak's law partner for 40 years, said in his eulogy, “Chet was the most honest and ethical lawyer I knew ... [He] was an extremely good lawyer with a keen legal mind and a tenacious advocate for his clients. Money was not his primary objective in practicing law; seeking justice for his clients was, and he was very good at it."

Active in the bar association, Lizak was a member of the National Advocates Society and the Illinois State Bar Association Distinguished Counselor's Class of 1963, and he served as chairman of the CBA's Defense of Prisoners Committee.  He also was a past president of the Advocates Society, an organization of lawyers of Polish heritage.  In 2006, he received the Advocates Society's Award of Merit and DePaul Law's Outstanding Service to the Profession Award, and he was recognized by Chicago Magazine as one of the Top Illinois Super Lawyers.  In 2011, he was named a Top 100 Illinois Trial Attorney by the Trial Lawyers Association.

“Chester was a loyal alumnus and longtime donor to the College of Law. We were extremely saddened to learn of his passing and proud to call him a member of the DePaul Law family," said Dean Jenn Rosato Perea.