EducationB.A., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI J.D., DePaul University - Chicago, IL M.F.A., University of California, Riverside, CA
Legal and Professional AssociationsABA, ATLA, ITLA, ISBA, NTLA, AAJ, State of IL Children & Family Services Advisory Council
HonorsAmerican Inst. of Personal Injury Attorneys-10 Best Law Firms 2022 Illinois Super Lawyers 2022-Top Rated Medical Malpractice Attorney in Chicago Best Lawyers in America® 2021 Top 100 Lawyers 2007-2022 Top Illinois Lawyers 2007-2022 City of Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame 2020
Jay Paul Deratany is an accomplished lawyer, human rights activist, and foster youth advocate who uses his experiences in the legal system to cultivate his projects as a playwright and a screenwriter. He has spent his entire career pursuing justice for the vulnerable and creating change in our society. He currently serves as a board member for Human Rights Watch, is a 2020 inductee to the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, is one of Crain’s Chicago Business top LGBTQ leaders, and has been voted as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the United States and the top 10 in Illinois. Jay is the founding partner of Deratany & Kosner, a Chicago-based law firm that focuses on foster care abuse and neglect. The firm won several verdicts against corrupt foster care agencies and a historic $45 million verdict in a foster care wrongful death case in 2018.
Mr. Deratany obtained his MFA from the University of California Riverside and has written two feature films, and multiple plays, including Haram Iran, which was inspired by a true story about two 15-year-old Iranian boys who were hanged for being gay. Haram Iran was nominated for a GLAAD award for best theatrical play of 2011. His most recent film Foster Boy is executive produced by NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, and stars Academy Award Winner® Louis Gossett Jr., Matthew Modine, Shane Paul McGhie, Julie Benz, Amy Brenneman, and others. Foster Boy was released theatrically and on VOD on September 25th, 2020. The film spotlights some of the horrific abuse and institutional cover ups that plague the foster care system - moral and legal issues that he himself has fought against in the courtroom. Jay Paul Deratany resides in Chicago with his husband Curt Smith.