H. Joseph Gitlin
November 6, 1932 – December 2, 2016
H. Joseph Gitlin loved music, art, literature, writing, reading, and had a passion for the wit and wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. Joe wore bow ties, colorful silk pocket squares and linen handkerchiefs, which became his trademarks, whether in court or in his law office. Joe regularly traded jokes and humorous stories with those fortunate enough to have his confidence and friendship.
H. Joseph Gitlin practiced law in Woodstock, Illinois since 1959, where he served as Mayor of Woodstock, from 1973 to 1977, and contributed to the restoration of the Woodstock Opera House.
He retired from the practice of matrimonial law in 2016. In retirement he remained active, writing about aspects of the law and other issues.
One of the Best Lawyers in America
Joe was nationally recognized as one of the top 43 divorce lawyers by the National Law Journal and was listed in the “Best Lawyers in America.”
Exemplary Legal Career Award
Joe was a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which honored him in 2006 with the Berger Award in recognition of his exemplary legal career.
Joe was active in the American Bar Association, serving as Chair of the Adoption Committee.
Founder and Chair of the Surrogacy Committee, Joe chaired the American Bar Association’s Surrogacy Committee during the time of the famous “Baby M” case.
Founder and Chair of the Genetics and Human Reproduction Committee.
He was also a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a Diplomat of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, and a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
He served as Chair of the Family Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association in 1970.
More recently he was Founder and Chair of the Genetics and Human Reproduction Task Force.
Gitlin appeared on national and local television and radio shows, and was frequently quoted in the media.
Laureate of the Illinois State Bar Association
Joe was named a Laureate of the Illinois State Bar Association, a designation given to lawyers “who have established and maintained the highest principles of the profession.”
The Dirty 30
Joe was also a member of “The Dirty 30,” a distinguished group of lawyers who met annually to discuss unique areas of family law.