Meet Juan Manuel Garibay

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Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2024 at 11:41 pm    

Juan Manuel Garibay joined the Wallace Miller team as an attorney in 2023. With a background in public health, he focuses on fighting for better policy through mass tort, class action, GIPA, FLSA, personal injury, and premises liability cases. 

How did you come to a career in law?

I first went to get my master’s in public health. My plan was to work in policy regarding health, working for the city or the state or a private entity. But then I worked at Mount Sinai Hospital here in Chicago on the west side. Once I was helping people at a hospital, working with underserved communities, I realized that they weren’t getting the services that they needed on a policy and regulation level.   So I studied for the LSAT and applied to law school and ended up going to John Marshall, which is now UIC Law School. That was the biggest struggle, because I went to law school late in the game and didn’t have any foundational knowledge of law and didn’t have any family or friends who were lawyers. But I graduated in 2021 and passed the bar last year.

How has your public health background impacted your legal career?

I started off working for the nonprofit Puerto Rican Cultural Center at Humboldt Park Health (formerly known as Norwegian American Hospital). My job was to establish a procedure for us to test people for HIV and Hepatitis C, and then work with the infectious disease doctors to establish a workflow for these people to get screened, and from there get them connected to treatment and make sure they stay retained with the treatment to avoid the spread of those viruses.  It was very interesting to me to see how the inner workings operated, how things were funded. And just to see the amount of people we were able to impact through our outreach—that got me really excited about helping a wide array of people. But that’s when I saw that there were barriers, legal barriers and policy barriers, that I couldn’t cross.

What do you find appealing in the law?

The ability to, in an ideal world, influence policy is one of the biggest aspects of it. In the Suboxone cases we have now, we’re making sure that these pharmaceutical companies are accurately and appropriately letting people know what the side effects or negative aspects of their drugs or products are. We’re making sure everyone is doing their due diligence in terms of making a product or medication that’s safe, whatever it may be.

What attracted you to Wallace Miller?

When I spoke to Mark Miller and Ed Wallace, I felt like we really connected on our values. I’m very family-first and client-first oriented. At Wallace Miller, they really do want the client to come first. They really want to take care of the client and take on cases that are promoting that policy aspect and moving that policy aspect forward.  You’re not going to change the world overnight, but you can move things in a positive direction a little bit at a time. Whether that’s one case at a time, one mass tort at a time, one class action at a time—you’re moving things in a positive  direction.

What advice do you want to offer clients? What might clients not know about the legal field?

Something important for a client to keep in mind is that they choose their attorney. You don’t have to go with the first person that you consult with. It’s like seeing a doctor—just because you went to this primary care doctor once doesn’t mean you have to stick with them. You can get a consultation, get some feedback, see what they’re about and see what kind of communication and culture they have at their firm. Shopping around is the way to go—ultimately, that will weed out the law firms that aren’t providing as top-quality services as the others. 

To learn more about Juan, check out his full bio here.

Tell Us Your Story