Justin was recognized and honored by his peers by being elected to lead two education law organizations. He serves as the Chairman of the Council of School Attorneys, associated with the National School Boards Association, leading over 3,000 education lawyers in advocating for public schools. He also serves as President of the North American Association of Educational Negotiators, representing school board negotiation professionals from the United States and Canada.
Justin Petrarca's practice is concentrated in labor negotiations, labor relations law and personnel administration. Justin has significant experience in negotiating public contracts, including teachers, educational support professionals (bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, teacher aides), as well as municipal contracts, including police officers, firefighters, and public works employees. Additionally, Justin’s experience includes work in school finance, school district consolidation and detachment, public sector labor law, and organizational development.
Justin has significant experience in interest based bargaining. He spends the majority of his time representing school boards in interest based negotiations, serving as facilitator and the board’s representative. He regularly trains participants in using interest based bargaining techniques with representatives from the Illinois Education Association. Justin also speaks nationally on the topic and is often called on to negotiate contracts across the country. Justin is routinely requested by the IEA to train facilitators and trainers in interest based bargaining. Justin’s skills as a negotiator are nationally recognized.
Before attending law school, Justin was a public school teacher and school administrator (building and central office experience), with approximately ten years’ experience in these areas. This prior education experience provides Justin with particular understanding of issues relating to schools and labor matters of importance to boards of education and administrators.
Justin is a regular presenter at national conferences of the American Association of School Administrators, National School Boards Association, National Council of School Attorneys, the North American Association of Educational Negotiators, and Midwest Suburban Superintendents’ Group. Justin is also a certified instructor for the State administrator academies, and provides regular inservice training to school administrators in a variety of areas including labor negotiations, contract administration, teacher evaluation, remediation and dismissal, sexual harassment, and various other topics.
Justin received his Bachelor's degree, graduating cum laude, from the University of Illinois in 1971. In 1975 he received a Master's degree, magna cum laude, in Educational Administration from the National College of Education. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1982. In addition to teaching at the secondary school level, Justin has taught classes in school law for both classroom teachers and administrators.
State of Illinois Supreme Court, 1982
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1982
U.S. Circuit Court for the Seventh Circuit, 1991