James A. Petrungaro


312.565.3100 ext. 257

312.259.2065 cell


Chosen by his peers in the legal community as an Emerging Lawyer ™ 2016 - 2017 - 2018 – a designation awarded to less than 2% of all Illinois attorneys.

Mr. Petrungaro’s school law experience includes providing counsel on matters pertaining to open government, board governance, contracts and operations, elections, student discipline/rights, collective bargaining and personnel matters. Mr. Petrungaro’s litigation experience includes defending boards of education in personal injury, employee benefits, breach of contract, school transportation, school finance, pension liability, student transportation, charter school challenges and employment discrimination claims. Through his defense of public schools, Mr. Petrungaro has extensive experience regarding the application of Illinois’ Local Government Tort Immunity Act and Charter School Law. He has represented school districts in student disciplinary and employee due process hearings, and has defended boards of education in grievance arbitrations and from charges of unfair labor practices. Mr. Petrungaro is a 2002 graduate of the University of Chicago where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in political science. He received his Juris Doctor degree in 2006 from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. where he served as president of the Students for Public Interest Law Society. Mr. Petrungaro’s legal experience, before entering the school law forum, began with his representation of victims of abuse and neglect at the Families and the Law Clinic in Washington and the District of Columbia Attorney General’s Office. While in Washington, Mr. Petrungaro served as a law clerk for the General Counsel’s Office of the National School Boards Association, and also served as a law clerk in the General Counsel’s Office of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. Before beginning his tenure as an attorney, James served as a summer law clerk at Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd.

Bar Admissions

State of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Professional Appointments

NSBA Counsel of School Attorneys, Member Content Committee (2012)
Illinois Council of School Attorneys, Member Executive Committee (2012-Present)

Published Decisions

Amoroso-Levato v. Batavia School Dist. 101, 2006 WL 3343776 (N.D. Ill. 2006)

Plock v. Bd. of Edu. of Freeport Sch. Dist. No. 145, 545 F. Supp. 2d 755 (N.D. Ill. 2007)

Board of Education… v. Houlihan et al., 382 Ill.App.3d 604 (1st Dist. 2008)

Doe v. Hinsdale Tp. High School Dist. 86, 388 Ill.App.3d 995 (2nd Dist. 2009)

Davis v. The Board of Control for Lake Cty H.S. Tech. Campus, 2009 WL 2178445 (N.D. Ill. 2009)

Haake v. Bd. of Educ. of Glenbard Twp. H.S.D. 87, 399 Ill.App.3d 121 (2nd Dist. 2010)

Zelman v. Hinsdale Twp. High Sch. Dist. 86, 2010 WL 4684039 (N.D. Ill. 2010)

Pennington v. Bd. of Educ. of Geneva Community Unit Sch. Dist. 304, 2012 WL 718578 (N.D. Ill. 2012)

Alison K. v. Bd. of Trustees for the Illinois Mathematics & Sci. Acad., 2013 WL 6254156 (N.D. Ill. 2013)

Hughes v. Ricker, et al., 2013 IL App (1st) 113419-U

Lutkauskas v. Ricker, 2015 IL 117090

Williams v. Cook County Officers Electoral Bd., 2015 IL App. (1st) 150568

Bd. of Educ. of Springfield Sch. Dist. No. 186 v. AG of Ill., 2017 IL 120343 (Amicus)

Board of Education…District 50 et al. v. Illinois State Board of Education et al.,  2018 IL App (1st) 162900


NCLB and Charter Schools: Achieving student choice under No Child Left Behind.Published in the National School Boards Association’s Leadership Insider, (Winter 2005)


John Fester and James Petrungaro to present on FOIA and Open Meetings Act at IASBO Support Conference, December 4, 2015, Naperville, IL.

Illinois Council of School Attorneys Annual Conference, Responding to Allegations of Board Member Misconduct (November, 2014)

Chicago Bar Association Education Law Committee, Common Litigation Issues Facing the School Board Attorney (2012)

National School Boards Association, Counsel of School Attorneys Annual Conference, Santa Fe, N.M., Keys to the Kingdom: Defining the Limits of School Board Member Access (October, 2012)

Illinois Council of School Attorneys Annual Conference, Navigating Illinois’ Amended Freedom of Information Act (2010)

Illinois Council of School Attorneys Annual Conference, Approaching the Limits of Investigating Student Misconduct: Redding v. Safford Unified School District (2009)