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Select Articles About Amato's Work

From the New York Times, Public Lives column - October 28, 2000: "LONG before a wave of youthful adulation made Ralph Nader and public service work seem hip again, Theresa Amato was spending long days fighting in the trenches.

She fought for lower photocopying rates for public documents, exposed the overcharging of tolls on Illinois highways and advised citizen groups on the state's Open Meetings Act." Read More...

From, March 14, 2013:  Rick Perlstein at The Nation magazine writes about Amato's work on behalf of consumers at Fair

The Chicago-based Amato has had a busy career in twenty years as a public interest lawyer working on some of the most dramatic and important issues of our time: first at the Public Citizen Litigation Group, formed by Ralph Nader; then as director of the Freedom of Information Clearing House, fighting for access to secret government documents; forming her own nonprofit, the Citizen Advocacy Center, pioneering democracy-building “community lawyering” in the burgeoning “edge cities” of the Chicago area; managing Ralph Nader’s 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns (she wrote a definitive book from the experience on the legal structure of the two-party duopoly). Now that she’s thrown herself into this “boilerplate” issue, I ask whether the apparently eye-glazing issue of fine print it really as significant as all that.

More so, she says. “I believe this is one of the most pressing issues today. If you take a look at all the economic problems we have, from the mortgage foreclosure crisis, to student loan debt, to credit card debt—pretty much pick your crisis—underneath everything you’re going to find a fine-print contract. That most likely people didn’t read or didn’t understand. So this is a hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars problem that faces us as a country.”

From, March 15, 2013:  Rick Perlstein at The Nation magazine follows up with Amato in Part 2 of the Series:

From the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, May 7, 2012: "Amato advocates for plain language in the fine print of standard form contracts. Read More...

From the Red Tape Chronicles, - July 7, 2011: "Theresa Amato has grand dreams. She wants to put an end to confusion caused by fine print in everyday consumer contracts, sometimes called "standard form contracts." If you've ever called a company looking for a refund or a replacement and heard those dreaded words, "No, that's in the contract you signed," you should know Amato and her project,

"What have you agreed to today," is the slogan used by the new project of Citizen Works, a nonprofit.

Armed with a rotating group of legal interns, Amato invites frustrated consumers to send in every contract they sign with cell phone companies, cable companies, auto dealers, etc., so the folks at can catalog them and then work to translate them into plain English. The group then works to educate consumers on the latest “tricks and traps” through its website.

The immediate goal is to make consumers aware of all the consequences of signing everyday contracts. The long-term goal is to shame companies and regulators into making the contracts more fair." Read More...

From The Election Law Journal - November 1, 2010: "In Grand Illusion, Theresa Amato has written a passionate plea for wholesale reform of the American electoral system." Read More...

From The New York Times - August 25, 1999: A major meeting of the Internet's new governing body opened today with the fireworks and controversy that have become its trademark, including protests over a closed session of one of its advisory groups and a dispute over what should be voted on later this week. Read More...

From the Oak Park Journal - 2006: Oak Park -- The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of its new executive director, Theresa Amato. Ms. Amato, a public interest lawyer, fills the position open from the recent departure of Ms. Carolyn Saxton, the previous executive director. Read More...

From the Chicago Tribune - June 19, 1997: Officials at the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority can empathize with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The cinematic versions of the outlaws scratched their heads in puzzlement over the railroad posse that so relentlessly pursued them. "Who are those guys?" Butch wondered at one point. Read More...

From the Chicago Tribune - July 10, 1994: April 13, 1994, marked the 251st anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence. It also marked the birthday of a new organization that wants to ensure that citizens will never have a problem obtaining a copy of this or any other government document.Read More...

From the Nader Page - March, 19, 1998: Ever try building democracy in the good ole USA? It’s not for the fainthearted, as our history points out over the past two centuries. Try asking Theresa Amato, who, for four years as director of the Citizen Advocacy Center in Elmhurst, Illinois. nestled in the Chicago suburbs, has been grappling with local tyrannies and autocracies that forget where they are located.Read More...

From the Chicago Tribune - August 31, 1997: Theresa Amato wants to make you powerful by exercising your civic muscles. In a time when it is difficult for many people to understand or have time for involvement with their local and state government, this Elmhurst attorney believes that the problem is a lack of proper training and proper education in government affairs. Read More...

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theresa amato recommends
  • Amato elected to the American Law Institute in 2014.
  • A new book for The New Press in 2015.
  • Amato published in Italian Women in Chicago, Madonna mia! QUI debbo vivere?
  • Amato & Main, LLC host Bob Sullivan, co-author of The Plateau Effect, July 31, 2013.
  • Amato appears on The Stossel Show with John Stossel on Third Parties on Fox Business, Thursday, 9 p.m. ET, September 13, 2012.
  • Amato & Main, LLC host Joseph Costello, author of "Of, By For, The New Politics of Money Debt and Democracy," June 23, 2012.
  • Arab Spring in Oak Park! Amato & Main, LLC host Young Revolutionaries, Legislative Fellows, and Emerging Leaders from Egypt and Morocco visiting on a Heartland International Exchange Program, April 29, 2012.

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  • Italian Women in Chicago, Madonna mia! QUI debbo vivere?
  • Only One Thing Can Save Us by Thomas Geoghegan.
  • The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja.
  • Keynes's Way to Wealth: Timeless Investment Lessons from the Great Economist, by John Wasik.
  • The Plateau Effect, a book by Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson.
  • Electoral Dysfunction, a book by Victoria Bassetti and the award-winning movie by Bennett Singer and others.
  • The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, a book by Charles Duhigg.
  • Setting the Table, a book by Danny Meyer.
  • Elegy for Dead Languages, a book by poet, translator and new media artist, Francesco Levato.
  • World Wide Rebel Songs, by Tom Morello, The Night Watchman.