By RITA DUCKWORTH
As a shareholder of Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard, Lorraine Cavataio’s area of practice is business law. Her cases involve business mergers and acquisitions and estate planning. She also holds a CPA designation, and has developed a strong specialty in trust and estate administration.
Cavataio’s most rewarding cases are complex trust and estate litigations.
“One recent case was in five different courts in two states,” she says. “Not only was I directly involved in some of the cases themselves, but my job was to strategize how they all interacted within the fiduciary litigation realm. The planning and organizing of these big cases is one of my favorite parts of the job.”
Another part of the job that she finds gratifying is educating the public and other attorneys. Contracted to the State of Illinois, she talks regularly to the state’s retirees about estate planning. She is also a frequent speaker for various law organizations such as the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the American College of Trust and Estate Council. “I love to give lectures; it’s a passion of mine.”
One of her greatest honors is as a member of Mackrell International, a global network of independent law firms. The organization includes lawyers from 60 different countries. At their annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain, Cavataio was invited to sit on a panel that spoke on artificial intelligence and its impact on the law.
In November of this year, she traveled to Brussels, Belgium, for the organization as the American expert on digital property law.
“What we’ve done here in the U.S. regarding digital property is ahead of what they’ve done in the E.U. so far. I’m honored to be able to speak to the European division on the topic,” she said.
Cavataio was born and raised on Belleville’s west side. She became interested in becoming a lawyer in about seventh grade.
“I had friends whose fathers were attorneys – back then it was all fathers, not any mothers. I saw them as people who were respected. They solved problems and helped people. That sounded like something I wanted to do. I thought maybe I could be like them.”
After graduating from Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, she received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Kansas. After college, she accepted a position in suburban Chicago working in accounting and purchasing. Thoughts of becoming an attorney persisted, and after a year, she returned to the region to go to Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
Cavataio practiced locally for more than 20 years and joined Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard in 2012. She is the managing partner of the O’Fallon, Ill., office.
By RITA DUCKWORTH