Attorney Sara Garber is an energetic, motivated, and hard working criminal defense and civil rights attorney who has a reputation for taking on giants. Sara is a leader in her field and has litigated numerous complex criminal and civil rights cases to outstanding results. She exhibits an unwavering commitment to fighting racism, the prison industrial complex, and police abuse of power. Sara puts her clients first. She will work tirelessly and creatively to obtain the best result possible.
Sara has been recognized by her peers as an exceptional practitioner. In 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 she was nominated and selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer Rising Star (top 2.5% of attorneys under 40). In 2017 She was placed on the Top 40 Under 40 trial lawyers designation by the National Trial Lawyers, Inc. Further, In 2018, Sara was nominated and selected as a Leading Emerging Lawyer for the areas Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, and Criminal Defense, by the Chicago Law Bulletin's Leading Lawyers Division, which recognizes the top 2% of Chicago lawyers under 40.
In addition to her legal work, Sara directs a pro bono program dedicated to obtaining the release of elderly
inmates on parole. She also served as an adjunct professor and co-director of the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University College of Law from 2016-2020. Sara routinely presents at continuing legal education seminars on topics of civil rights, criminal defense, and parole. And, she authored three law review articles published in the Civil Rights and Attorneys Fees Handbook a publication of the National Police Accountability Project.
National Police Accountability Project
National Lawyers Guild
Chicago Committee to Free Black Political Prisoners
Women's Criminal Defense Bar Association
Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
University of Illinois 2007
University of Illinois College of Law 2010, cum laude
Sara has dedicated her law practice to fighting against state-sponsored oppression and racist policing, as well as to standing hand-in-hand with her clients who have been arrested and charged with crimes. Sara focuses her practice on criminal defense and federal civil rights lawsuits against the police for civil rights violations, including: illegal search and seizure, false arrest, excessive force, First Amendment (free speech) violations, and malicious prosecution. Sara is licensed to practice law in Illinois state and federal courts.
Sara has litigated a multitude of police misconduct cases to settlement and trial, obtaining favorable results for her clients. Notably, Sara was involved in a civil rights trial against the Chicago Police for malicious prosecution where the jury returned a verdict of $1 Million dollars for her client. Additionally, Sara helped secure an unprecedented jury verdict on behalf of two panhandlers who were repeatedly harassed by Cook County Sheriff's officers. The verdict not only compensated her clients but required the Cook County Sheriff's department to institute new training on the First Amendment Rights of Panhandlers. Recently, Sara secured a hard-fought victory in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a large group of individuals unlawfully detained in the county jail by Sheriff Tom Dart. Also recently, Sara co-tried a civil rights case against the former Sheriff of Rock Island County and secured a $300,000 verdict for her client for emotional distress.
Sara has also successfully represented numerous clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies by obtaining a dismissal of all charges or a not-guilty verdict. Some of Sara's recent successes in criminal cases include obtaining a not guilty jury verdict on all charges in a first degree murder case she co-counseled out of the Markham courthouse as well as a not guilty jury verdict on all charges in an attempted first degree murder case out of 26th and California. Further Sara received a not guilty verdict for two clients charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer. Sara's clients were battered by the police, and the police brought false charges to cover up their abuse. After winning the criminal trial, Sara filed civil rights lawsuits on behalf of her clients for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force.
Sara also achieved an impressive victory when she successfully litigated a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence which resulted in dismissal of two armed robbery charges for her 19 year old client. Sara again obtained success on a pre-trial motion and was able to suppress her client's confession taken pursuant to an illegal interrogation in an attempted murder case. Recently, Sara obtained a not guilty jury verdict on all charges in two cases where her clients faced over 10 counts each of criminal sexual assault.
Additionally, Sara is skilled at negotiating results for her clients when litigation may not be the best option. Based on the presentation of creative and extensive mitigation materials Sara has worked out impressive deals including the dismissal of all charges or serious felony charges reduced to misdemeanors.
Political / Protest Cases
As an activist and movement lawyer, Sara is experienced at handling political and protest related cases. She represents a large number of Chicago activists, including black lives matter activists, anti-racist activists, and anarchist activists. Sara believes that true transformational change in society will not come solely from legal battles won in the courts, and requires community organizing, direct action, and demonstrations on the street. Sara is well-known for representing anti-racist activists arrested for violently disrupting a white supremacy meeting in Tinley Park, Illinois.
As part of her criminal practice, Sara also handles appeals, post-trial, post-conviction, clemency, and parole related matters. Most notably, Sara has represented five indeterminately sentenced inmates (C# inmates) in parole hearings, all of whom she was able to get released from prison. One of the three was a man who was falsely convicted of murder back in 1976 when he was 18 years old. This client spent 38 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Sara took over the case and worked tirelessly to find evidence of his innocence and get him released from prison.
Personal Injury/Breach of Contract
While Sara specializes in police abuse cases and criminal defense, she has extensive experience litigating a wide variety of personal injury and contract cases, including: personal Injury cases, products liability cases, breach of contract cases, and employment discrimination cases. In fact, attorney Sara Garber began her career in the general litigation department of a large Chicago law firm. There, as an associate attorney, she learned how to litigate aggressively and strategically for her clients and handled multi-million dollar personal injury matters involving catastrophic injuries, complex products liability cases, and nation-wide medical malpractice and medical products liability cases.
"The most caring and hands-on attorney."
Ms. Garber did everything she said she would do. Ms. Garber is confident, knowledgeable, and organized. She is also very well connected to other brilliant professionals, in case other referrals may be needed. I think that what stood out most was her passion and personal investment in me, as not just a client, but as a human being. -J.S.
"Gives new meaning to the term, 'fighting your case'."
Ms. Garber is an attorney that understands the common struggle of everday people, that's why they do everything they can to win your case and make you feel like the person you are and not the common criminal that society may make you out to be. Tireless in her efforts, Ms Garber gives new meaning to the term, "fighting your case". She is both the sword and the shield one needs in any fight for life and liberty. -A.S.
"Very knowledgeable, communicative, and sympathetic."
Passionate and compassionate, she went above and beyond the call of duty. Very knowledgeable, communicative, and sympathetic, she is dedicated to social justice through legal defense. -J.T.
"Invested in her cases."
Ms. Garber is amazing. She exceeded my expectations and is very dedicated to what she does. She is genuinely passionate and invested in her cases. -L.C.
"Fought day and night."
All of my hope would have been lost without Ms. Garber and those that represented my group. She fought day and night to find a way to relieve us of these charges. Without the guidance I had from Ms. Garber, I could very well still be locked in that cage today, but she didn't stop there. She kept in contact with me while I was serving my time, always asked what I needed and how I was being treated by staff. She even stood up on my behalf when it came time for placement from parole. I've trusted her with my life. -C.S.
"Makes sure that your voice is heard."
Ms. Garber has been much more than an attorney to me. She has been an advisor, confidant, defender, and friend. She is on your side when you are in danger of being lost in the faceless assembly-line that is the justice system. She makes sure that your voice is heard, and that your interests are protected. She stands for something beyond just the mechanics of her profession, and brings that conviction to everything she does both inside and outside of the courtroom. -J.H.
"I would highly recommend Ms. Garber."
I am very happy that I hired Sara to represent me in my case. Sara was very professional and hard working. Her communication to me was excellent. I have nothing but good to say about my experience with Ms. Garber. I would highly recommend her. E.S.
"Kept me completely in the loop."
I would highly recommend her to anyone. She went above and beyond to get all of the work done that was needed on my case tracking down any and all information that was necessary even when met with opposition. She kept me completely in the loop through the entire process and made sure I was happy with the results and decisions before anything else. I truly appreciate everything that she has accomplished for me in my case. Anyone who is looking for a great lawyer that will actually fight for you, should definitely contact Ms. Garber. -B.A.