Michael E. Byczek's great-grandmother Marie Talbot was a member of a prominent Chicago family dating back to 1835. Marie's grandparents William and Julia Rooney were among the earliest settlers of the city (Michael's great-great-great-grandparents). The Rooney family became successful in business, real estate, and law. Several of their grandchildren or their spouses were attorneys in Chicago.
The Rooney family was also active in Chicago politics with several of Marie's cousins serving as elected officials or candidates in state and federal elections. One cousin who grew up in Bridgeport and settled in McKinley Park was an Alderman. Another cousin, who was an attorney, was Chief Justice of the old Municipal court system of Chicago prior to county-based unification. His brother was a deputy clerk of the court. Two other brothers were also attorneys. A female cousin was married to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. Marie's grandfather William Rooney and his family served as Cook County election judges and delegates. William had several cousins in Chicago, one of whom was married to an alderman who assisted William with real estate issues in the city council during the rebuilding efforts after the 1871 Chicago Fire.
Marie Talbot lived with her uncle John Rooney in Bridgeport after her parents both passed away. During this time, she helped her cousins with their political campaigns and legal work. The Rooney family real estate assets had become part of multiple legal proceedings over the years (before and after William and Julia had both passed away), which sparked an interest amongst Marie's cousins to enter the legal profession. John Rooney, Marie's uncle, invested in legal education and worked with the law firm representing the family to employ his sons.
The Rooney family was well-positioned for Marie Talbot to become one of the first female attorneys in Illinois. The first law license granted to a woman in Illinois took place in 1890, the same year that Marie was born. Her mother Kittie (Rooney) Talbot managed the family's legal affairs and was active in court proceedings to oversee her parent's large real estate business, including courtroom testimony. It was Kittie's intention for her daughter Marie to contribute to the Rooney business ventures. However, Kittie passed away when Marie was nine years old leaving an absence in Marie's life.
Michael E. Byczek at the William Rooney house built in 1875 on Division and Astor in the Gold Coast. Kittie was married from the house in 1880 with a wedding breakfast held by her parents. Marie visited the home as a girl and briefly lived across the street prior to her mother's death in 1899. [Photo from 2017]
As a teenager, Marie decided to pursue a career in the fashion industry. One of her aunts had been a dressmaker. Marie's father Edward Talbot was well-connected to industry in Chicago and was helping his daughter find employment at the time of his death. It was after his death that Marie went to live with her uncle John Rooney a few doors away from St. Bridget's church. She was directly exposed to the family's role with the legal profession that began with her own mother Kittie. It was Kittie's involvement with the family legal proceedings, amongst other events, that prompted Marie's cousins in Bridgeport to attend law school.
As a young adult, Marie worked in retail while learning about the Rooney business. However, it was during World War I that they began to consolidate the family business to focus more on law. They sold most of the remaining real estate that was still owned by the family along with other business interests. Several relatives got married or passed away during the wartime period and at least one Rooney cousin served with the army.
After the war Marie married Martin Flanagan, a veteran who served with the 23rd Engineers, known as the "Road Builders" of the American Expeditionary Forces. Martin worked in the construction industry and Marie decided to dedicate herself to raising their family in Bridgeport. They were marred at Holy Name Cathedral in the Rooney tradition of a daughter marrying in the same church as her mother. Two of Marie's female cousins had recently done the same. Kittie Rooney and Edward Talbot were married at Holy Name Cathedral in 1880. Their wedding took place 100 years and one day prior to their great-great-grandson Michael E. Byczek's baptism at St. Bridget's in Bridgeport. As a grandmother, Marie (Talbot) Flanagan passed down stories about the Rooney family on Archer Ave to her grandson Michael M. Byczek.
Michael E. Byczek, son of Michael M. Byczek, began legal studies in 2003 at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago at the age of 23. He spent many long hours in the archives at the court and city hall analyzing legal documents, as early as the 1870s, reading about his ancestral connections to the earliest period of Chicago history.
This research resulted in the first documentary project about the Rooney family's involvement with the legal industry in Chicago. Michael made a special effort to understand his great-great-grandmother Kittie (Rooney) Talbot's role in the legal system at a time when there were very few female lawyers in Illinois. Michael also examined the full extent of his great-grandmother Marie (Talbot) Flanagan's experience while living with her Rooney cousins as they began their legal careers in Chicago. Kittie had taken an interest in women entering the legal profession and intended for her daughter Marie to benefit from these new opportunities. It is most likely that Kittie personally knew the first female attorneys in Chicago through her own experience and exposure to the legal system and time spent in court.
It was Kittie Talbot who, amongst all her siblings, stepped forward after her parents passed away to lead efforts to protect the Rooney legacy in real estate. Marie was Kittie's only daughter. Marie's eldest child was also named Marie, whose eldest is Michael M. Byczek, whose eldest is Michael E. Byczek.
Michael M. Byczek was a pro se plaintiff in several court cases while his son was young, which left an impression on access to the legal system.
Michael E. Byczek received his law license in 2007 and manages his own legal practice. The Rooney legacy serves as the inspiration to handle residential and commercial real estate matters, as highlighted by the fact that Michael has also been a licensed Illinois real estate broker since 2003, the same year he started law school. His background in computer science and electrical engineering was based on his father's experience in physics, engineering, and mathematics. These technical skills allow Michael to work on cutting-edge intellectual property research with emphasis on the most advanced technological innovations.
William and Julia Rooney's great-great-great-grandson is continuing the Rooney and Talbot legacy of contributions to the legal profession and industry of Chicago. 2022 marked the 15th year anniversary of Byczek Law. 2035 will be the 200th year anniversary of Michael E. Byczek's family legacy in Chicago. The goal is to build a multi-generation law firm to continue the family tradition.
The business uses the formal identification of "Michael E. Byczek, Attorney at Law", "Michael Elliot Byczek" or "The Law Office of Michael E. Byczek".
Illinois statute prevents an individual who is both an attorney and broker from performing a combination of real estate and legal work for the same transaction. Ethics and professionalism are observed throughout a real estate transaction to comply with all requirements.
Byczek Law has been an unregistered service mark of Michael E. Byczek since 2007.