Marcus Schantz was born in Springfield, IL at Memorial Hospital in 1971. He grew up in Springfield, living most of his childhood in a small home at 1131 S. 13th Street. He comes from a very humble background where money was often scarce. He enlisted in the US Army Infantry when he was 17 years old and was later honorably discharged at the rank of E-4 after serving on active duty for three years with the 25th Infantry Division.
Marcus earned his GI Bill education benefits while serving on active duty, and along with the Illinois Veterans’ Grant he attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in physical anthropology and minored in microbiology, graduating in 2002 with a B.A. He then began his legal studies later that year at Northern Illinois University College of Law, graduating with a J.D. in 2005.
Licensed to practice law in 2006, Marcus worked for two years in downtown Chicago as an associate attorney in workers’ compensation defense. He then opened his own downtown law office in the fall of 2008 and began appearing in criminal felony court in early 2009. The sudden change came one day when he realized he had become a lawyer to help people and not corporations.
For the next five years, Marcus Schantz passionately represented over 300 felony clients in City of Chicago criminal courts. He had grown up in an African American neighborhood; his family was several times the victim of crimes, and he understands the difficulties faced by people with little money; especially African Americans who have accounted for over 95% of his clients.
Marcus temporarily left the practice of law in 2013. For the next five years, he lived abroad in several places in Mexico, worked on a cattle ranch in North-central Idaho during winter calving, wrote four novels and spent a summer in Europe.
His father’s death in 2018 brought Marcus back to Springfield. He always knew he would again practice law when the time was right. That time was now. He quickly returned to Springfield along with his wife, Galina, in February 2019, and opened Schantz Law Office the following month.
Marcus was an avid, competitive distance runner for many years, competing in races from 5k to marathon where he set his marathon personal record of 2:49:03 at the Chicago Marathon in 2012. While still an undergraduate in Austin, Texas, Marcus raced the 1999 Ironman Florida, finishing in 11:46:45. He is still a fitness enthusiast and enjoys boxing workouts, yoga and golfing.