The Barclay Law Group is named after Lester Barclay for a reason – he is the best of the best. Ask any judge, client, competing attorney and you’ll hear these descriptions: Stand-up guy. Passion over money. Fairness. Dignity. He is a respected advocate of children’s interests.
Renowned for his groundbreaking work in family law, Barclay also has extensive experience in probate, real estate, and general litigation, Barclay’s sterling reputation and decades of experience continues to draw a spotlight and waterfall of opportunities to the firm in a wide spectrum of the legal arena. In Cook County, and across Illinois, judges will routinely appoint Barclay to the highest-profile divorce and custody cases.
His soft-spoken, focused demeanor puts people at ease and allows the heart of their matter to surface; making him, in a sense, a therapeutic attorney. He always wanted to help people and protect their rights; now he protects the rights of children – people least equipped to protect themselves. Couples routinely come to him full of hate and spite and leave full of love and understanding because of his uncanny ability to work parents through inter-personal issues, allowing them to refocus their energy on what’s most important. His sole focus in family cases is the well-being of the children. Barclay is a successful and experienced mediator. Judges and colleagues often refer difficult cases to him.
Barclay may be best known for his handling of the blockbuster Dwayne Wade divorce and custody case, which garnered attention in countless newspaper articles and television clips. He represented the children and had no interest in the spotlight or media attention.
Barclay has also been an integral part of a myriad of other well-publicized cases, including a precedent-setting case in the Illinois Appellate Court representing a guardian who tried to have tubal ligation surgery performed on her mentally disabled niece. Despite losing the ruling, Barclay won in the end after the woman became pregnant and the judge admitted a mistake. That case set a standard if and when a ward can be sterilized in Illinois. He has also represented the child of former Chicago Bulls basketball player Eddy Curry.
His soon to be published book, “The African-American Guide to Divorce and Drama,” is indicative of his expertise, intuition, and caring nature. It is inspired by his desire to help people and their relationships before they get to that point of no return that many of his clients have reached.
Barclay is a father of three and his wife of 28 years is fittingly a pediatrician.
Born and raised in Englewood on the South Side of Chicago during the turbulent 1960’s, he is the youngest of 11 children, allowing him to witness a multitude of family disputes from a unique angle. He attained his law degree from Case Western Reserve University Law School and his bachelor’s degree with honors from Oberlin College during a period when championing a cause was almost a prerequisite course. He understands the importance of putting others’ well-being ahead of his own.
His extensive, unique experiences and legal training are some reasons why he’s so different and successful. A variety of unique legal mentors prepared him from a young age. He worked at Navy Pier during it’s infancy, helping to make it Chicago’s top tourist attraction. He worked in trade in Thailand, helping build the burgeoning relationship between Chicago and the Thai government, before returning to Chicago. It has come full circle as he now mentors the next generation of lawyers in a similar fashion.
Barclay is a board member of the Cook County Bar Association and the Chicago Legal Aid Society and was president of the board of directors of the Christian Community Health Center for 17 years, shepherding it from three employees to 200. He was on the advisory board of Chicago’s Cultural Affairs Department for seven years.
He also gives the word philanthropy new meaning, providing hands-on help for underprivileged communities. He works to provide health care to seniors and others in need, help battered women, turn women away from prostitution and the sex trade, and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Barclay is not afraid to absorb public scrutiny or take alternative legal routes, such as bifurcation, to achieve the most beneficial results for his clients. He gives people the opportunity to regain dignity during heart-wrenching crises. He doesn’t crunch out your case and perpetuate conflict like other lawyers; he walks you through this difficult process.
Sometimes the decisions are tough, but he will make the right ones out of love, respect and the well being for those that need and deserve it most.