Stealing from clients. Committing crimes. Lying. Acting like an asshole. Falsifying documents. There are a lot of reasons attorneys lose their license in Illinois. Here are 23 of them in the last year who have been disbarred or suspended for at least a year. All of the information comes from the ARDC which is the licensing and disciplining organization for Illinois lawyers. I highly recommend you check an attorney’s status there before hiring them.

Richard Gannett Mr. Gannett was licensed to practice in Illinois in 1981 and in Massachusetts in 1982. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts disbarred him for intentionally converting over $42,000 that he was supposed to be holding in connection with an insurance dispute. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

Jeffrey McIntyre Mr. McIntyre, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for 18 months and until further order of the Court. His misconduct arose from his December 2017 guilty plea to a charge of battery after he punched an employee of a tavern and his October 2018 guilty plea to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, his third conviction for driving while intoxicated.

Andrew Babcock Mr. Babcock, who was licensed in 1992, was disbarred on consent. In September 2021, a Michigan jury found him guilty of three counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Philip Koenig Mr. Koenig, who was licensed in 1975, was suspended for one year for intentionally converting $70,076 in funds that were owed to his client after the settlement of a lawsuit over the construction of a will.

Brian Sides Mr. Sides, who was licensed in 2002, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He made false or reckless statements about the integrity of a federal bankruptcy judge in nine motions filed in the bankruptcy or federal district court.

Stephen Newport Mr. Newport was licensed to practice in Illinois in 1990 and in Iowa in 1978. The Supreme Court of Iowa suspended him with no possibility of reinstatement for one year for sexually harassing two clients. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for one year and until he is reinstated to the practice of law in Iowa.

Robert Roth Mr. Roth, who was licensed in 1979, was disbarred on consent. His misconduct arose from his June 2021 conviction in Lake County for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, causing the death of another. Following his conviction, Mr. Roth was sentenced to five years in prison.

Felipe Gomez Mr. Gomez, who was licensed in 1988, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. In three separate legal matters, he repeatedly sent threatening and harassing email messages to other attorneys.

Jessica O’Brien Ms. O’Brien, who was licensed in 1998, was disbarred. She has been suspended on an interim basis since April 26, 2018, after a federal jury in Chicago found her guilty of the crimes of mail fraud and bank fraud based on her involvement in a scheme to obtain bank loans by making false statements about her income and liabilities.

Carlo Palladinetti Mr. Palladinetti, who was licensed in 1985, was disbarred. He was found guilty of bank fraud after he participated in a multi-year scheme that provided fraudulent information to lenders in order to qualify buyers for mortgage loans to purchase condominium units owned by other participants in the scheme.

Dale Halling Mr. Halling was licensed to practice in Illinois in 1993 and in Colorado in 1995. The Supreme Court of Colorado disbarred him for not diligently representing three clients in patent matters, failing to keep clients informed about the status of their matters, converting client funds in two of the matters, and abandoning two of the clients. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

Valerie Franklin Ms. Franklin, who was licensed in 1994, was disbarred for intentionally converting more than $122,000 owed to ten separate clients in workers’ compensation and other matters.

James Leone Mr. Leone was licensed to practice in Illinois in 1981 and in Florida in 1985. In December 2020, the Supreme Court of Florida granted Mr. Leone’s petition for disciplinary revocation of his law license, with leave to seek readmission after five years. He had misrepresented facts to a third person in connection with litigation over a piece of property on which Mr. Leone and his wife had paid past-due property taxes. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him until he is reinstated to the practice of law in Florida.

Michael Ries Mr. Ries, who licensed in 1998, was suspended from the practice of law for two years and until he is reinstated to the practice of law before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He engaged in a number of criminal acts involving incidents of domestic violence and driving while over the legal limit for alcohol, and he mishandled three patent applications.

Beau White Mr. White was licensed in Illinois in 1998 and in Indiana in 1999. The Indiana Supreme Court suspended him for three years, without automatic reinstatement, for failing to act with diligence in a criminal matter and a paternity case, failing to properly communicate with clients, and not cooperating in his own disciplinary proceedings. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for three years and until he is reinstated in Indiana

Dean O’Connor Mr. O’Connor was licensed in Illinois in 1980 and in Arizona in 1988. An Arizona disciplinary hearing panel disbarred him for engaging in a pattern of misconduct in three separate matters. In one matter, he converted $40,000 in funds belonging to a bankruptcy estate and disbursed over $230,000 in insurance proceeds to his client without disclosing the receipt or disbursement of those proceeds to the court. In another matter, he did not adequately communicate with his client and failed to research issues involved in his client’s matter. In a third matter, he advanced non-meritorious claims and contentions, made false representations in a court filing, and made false statements to the Arizona State Bar during its investigation into his conduct. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

Craig Sherman Mr. Sherman was licensed in Illinois in 1967 and in Florida in 1975. The Supreme Court of Florida permanently revoked his admission to the Florida Bar after he filed a petition for disciplinary revocation without leave to apply for readmission, which stated that he was the subject of a disciplinary grievance alleging, in part, misuse of funds totaling $4,175,000. Mr. Sherman agreed that there was factual predicate for disciplinary action against him. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

John Tresslar Mr. Tresslar was licensed in Missouri in 1985 and in Illinois in 1986. The Supreme Court of Missouri disbarred him for failing to diligently represent a client, failing to maintain complete records for his trust account, misappropriating more than $68,000 belonging to his clients, and making misrepresentations to a tribunal. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

Ryan Kosztya Mr. Kosztya, who was licensed in 2002, was suspended for two years and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar, followed by a one-year term of probation with conditions. Mr. Kosztya dishonestly misappropriated over $58,000 from clients in two matters and then made false statements to the clients and a court to hide his use of the funds.

Jaroslaw Szymanski Mr. Szymanski, who was licensed in 2013, was suspended from the practice of law for two years and until further order of the Court. In 2016, Mr. Szymanski was arrested and charged with aggravated domestic battery and domestic battery arising from an incident in which he pushed his spouse against a wall and placed his hands around her throat, causing a partial obstruction of her breathing. Mr. Szymanski later pled guilty to misdemeanor battery in connection with that incident. In 2018, Mr. Szymanski again was arrested for an incident in which he punched his spouse in the arm and attempted to punch her in the stomach, for which he was charged with two counts of resisting a peace officer and two counts of domestic battery. Those charges were later dismissed.

Sheldon Banks Mr. Banks, who was licensed in 1965, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court and was required to demonstrate that he has paid $7,000 in restitution, plus interest, to his former client’s sister prior to petitioning for reinstatement. While representing the client in a criminal matter, he did not respond to the client’s family’s requests for information about the case, collected an unreasonable fee of $9,000 when he made no court appearances and filed no pleadings or briefs, and returned only $2,000 of the fee. He also did not respond to an ARDC subpoena.

Lori Kieffer Ms. Kieffer was licensed in Illinois in 2001 and in Iowa in 2002. The Supreme Court of Iowa suspended her with no possibility for reinstatement for one year. While representing a client in a criminal matter, she falsified her client’s signature on a written arraignment form and then made misrepresentations to the court about what she had done. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended her for one year and until further order of the Court.

K.O. Johnson Mr. Johnson, who was licensed in 1996, was disbarred on consent. His misconduct arose from his August 2021 convictions of four counts of bankruptcy fraud and three counts of concealment of assets, for which he was sentenced to two years in prison.

If you have a television and have lived in the Chicago area in the last 20 years, chances are that you’ve seen a commercial of “Dad’s Rights” lawyer Jeffery Leving. He has been accused of unethical conduct by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC). The ARDC is the state organization that licenses and disciplines attorneys.

Few things before we get to the allegations:

  1. He should be assumed innocent until the hearing is over. While I have heard rumblings of the things he’s accused of, I have no direct evidence and like anyone else he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence.
  2. I’m posting the allegations as a general warning to the public to make sure to go over your lawyer’s bill.
  3. In my opinion, “Fathers Rights” or “Mothers Rights” is mostly marketing. That’s not to say that some situations don’t favor mothers over fathers. That can absolutely happen. But generally speaking, in my opinion, it’s a marketing strategy.

All that said, Leving is accused by the ARDC of what I believe is significant unethical conduct. He’s the one accused as he’s head of the firm and had supervisory authority over the staff. The whole report can be read here but here are some of the points that stood out to me:

8. At Respondent’s direction, the Leving Firm’s intake attorney, to retain clients for
the Leving Firm, often told prospective clients that their legal matters could be resolved within the amount of the time covered by the initial retainer they agreed to pay the Leving Firm. The Leving Firm’s intake attorneys often told prospective clients that they would be the attorney primarily responsible for handling their legal matters and did not advise those clients that their involvement in any matter in the Leving Firm was limited to the intake stage only. The Leving Firm’s intake
attorneys also did not advise those prospective clients that their legal matters would be handled on what Respondent referred to in his fee contract as “a team concept basis,” and that multiple attorneys would immediately begin billing on the clients’ legal matters and quickly deplete their initial retainers.
9. Every time a new client retained the Leving Firm, firm policy, as set by Respondent, required that a meeting be held about the new client matter between the intake attorney, the managing attorney, Jeffery Paustian (the Leving Firm’s legal administrator), the mentee attorney to whom the case would be assigned, as well as that mentee’s mentor. All four attorneys bill separately for their time spent attending this initial meeting.
10. At all times alleged in this complaint, Respondent required that the Leving Firm’s attorneys charge their clients a minimum billing increment for non-court time of 0.3 hours, or 18 minutes.

11 . At all times related to this complaint, Respondent required that the Leving Firm’s attorneys charge their clients a minimum billing increment for court time of 1.0 hours, or 60 minutes.
12. At all times related to this complaint, Respondent required that when mentees at the Leving Firm went to court, they were to be accompanied by their mentors, regardless of the nature of the court appearance, and at Respondent’s direction each attorney charged the client for at least one hour of time for the court appearance regardless of its actual length.
13. At all times alleged in this complaint, at Respondent’s direction, in almost all cases the firm handled, the Leving Firm also utilized the services of a private detective, Wayne Halick (“Halick”), for investigative services. Halick billed the firm at a rate of between $190 to $200 per hour, depending on the year, which the Leving Firm charged against its clients’ retainers.

According to the complaint, the ARDC is making allegations related to eight separate matters where the Leving firm is accused over billing. Most of the allegations accuse them of doing it in a manner laid out in 8-13 above.

Again, I have no proof that he did anything wrong and as of now these are just allegations. That said, the allegations are very serious, especially the double billing and over-billing for time. And while many firms I know use private detectives, they certainly aren’t required on every case. And I know of no other firm that would bill more than one lawyer’s time for a routine court appearance. It’s not the job of the client to pay for a firm to train someone.

This complaint was only filed January 27, 2023. Leving will have a chance to answer the complaint and might possibly have a hearing some day. Punishment, which would likely be a long time away, can range from nothing all the way to being disbarred.

My advice to anyone hiring a lawyer is to get in writing at the beginning of the case how they will charge you, what time will be billed, how many lawyers will be working on the case and what’s a reasonable estimate for how much the case will cost. Also ask for monthly itemized statements so you can address the costs if they get out of control.

We are experienced Illinois attorneys who since 2001 have helped hundreds of thousands of people with their legal issues. Please call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with a lawyer for free and in confidence.

To bring a class action lawsuit in Illinois, you have to show that numerous people suffered some sort of harm in a similar way.  Typically you are looking at least 30 people, but most class action lawsuits involve hundreds if not thousands of people and occasionally millions. So if your boss is terrible to you or sexually harasses you, that would be an individual case. On the other hand, if your company is mis-classifying thousands of workers and denying them pay, that could be a class action. If your car has a bad engine, that would probably be an individual case. On the other hand, if your car design makes it at risk of blowing up, that would likely be a class action.

There is a lot that attorneys who file class action lawsuits look for in deciding whether or not to bring a case.  This list includes deciding that an individual lawsuit wouldn’t make sense and that the number of people harmed makes a class case logical. But before they do anything they will look for one thing. Is your case subject to an arbitration clause?

Arbitration clauses are hidden contract details that most companies use. Basically they say that if you have a dispute with them, you agree to resolve it via arbitration. It’s something you’ve agreed to likely hundreds of times without realizing it. Because you’ve agreed to arbitration, it makes a class action lawsuit not possible. This all started to happen when George W. Bush was in office and it literally has allowed major companies to get away with a lot of bullshit.

So when you get screwed over by Direct TV, Verizon, Amazon, etc. and realize it’s happening to a lot of other people, you likely don’t have a class action lawsuit (nerd lawyer in me must say don’t make any final decisions from reading this blog post. You should consult with us or another law firm). It can be really frustrating because these companies know that they can rip you off of a small amount of money and there’s usually not much you can do about it. You could go to arbitration, but most people won’t do that just out of principle because their time is worth more than a small amount of money. You certainly don’t want to pay a lawyer a couple thousand dollars to get back $100.

We are starting to see employers add these clauses to their employees as well. It’s often in an attempt to avoid accountability for wage theft by them. Sometimes those individual cases are still worth it, but their theory is that if they can get away with it against most employees they will save millions if not more.

I’ve sadly over the last 20 plus years heard so many stories of cases that would be class actions if not for these clauses. There is no bigger tool for corporations to screw over the little guy than this.  While you should still consult with a lawyer before making any decisions, you can also file a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General as they are not restricted by these shameful arbitration clauses.

The good news is that not all class actions have been killed off. There aren’t arbitration clauses typically when you buy something at a store, or if your data was leaked, in false advertising or junk texts. There are many hundreds of other situations too. So the bottom line is that if you want to discuss a potential case, we are happy to talk with you any time.

We are attorneys who will help you find the best Illinois medical malpractice law firm for your case. If you would like a free consultation, please call us at 312-346-5320. For information on lawsuits from intubation errors, please read on.

Intubation is a common procedure in which a medical provider inserts a breathing tube into the trachea, or windpipe, of a person. The purpose of intubation is to maintain an open airway and get oxygen to the body. It can be the difference between life and death. Inserting the tube is a brief procedure, lasting only a few minutes. But a person can stay intubated (with a breathing tube in place) for days or weeks.

One of the most common reasons for intubation is abnormal breathing. It became well known with Covid’s arrival to our world, but is used for many other medical reasons. Heart disease, lung disease, and infections like pneumonia and sepsis often cause severe breathing problems. When the body is not able to properly inhale (to get oxygen) or exhale (to release carbon dioxide), healthy organs may stop working. Neurological damage, coma, or death may result.

Two big additional reasons for intubation are trauma and surgeries. Injury to any part of the airway, from a car accident or any other traumatic event, can affect how a person breathes. If emergency or planned surgery requires general anesthesia, the patient will be put to sleep and intubated. This enables the anesthesiologist to provide oxygen and medications during the surgery.

In most cases, a person will fully recover from intubation with no long-term side effects. It may take a few hours or it may take a few days. However, failed intubations do occur. Sometimes the medical provider performing the intubation accidentally places the tube down the esophagus instead of the trachea. They may unnecessarily delay the intubation or fail to properly assess the patient’s anatomical features and airway needs. They may not fully understand tracheal tube mechanics or how to use a laryngoscope blade. The medical personnel may have had a lack of communication.

Healthcare providers in the ER, anesthesiologists, and paramedics have specialized in training in successful and safe intubations. But when they make a malpractice error, and/or respond in the wrong way to that error, a patient can suffer from:

• Brain damage or death
• Stroke
• Hypoxia
• Damage to the lungs, throat, esophagus, or trachea
• Vocal cord paralysis

The biggest reason for intubation lawsuits are for catastrophic injuries from such as brain damage from loss of oxygen due to an obstructed airway or being disabled from a stroke or other injury. Whatever the reason, if you or a family member has suffered from being intubated improperly, contact us so we can connect you with a lawyer who has experience with these cases to investigate what happened and bring a lawsuit for you. The lawyers we recommend are the best of the best who have a track record of success an they only get paid if they win.

We are experienced lawyers who help people who are injured in Illinois car accident cases. We can help you when you are not primarily at fault for the accident occurring.  Usually, this means that the police report blames someone else, but that’s not always the case. Some law firms will only handle the injury aspect of a car accident. That means if you are having trouble getting your car replaced, they won’t help you. To me, that is terrible lawyering. If you hire an attorney for an accident case, you should get help with everything related to that accident.

The reason some of these firms don’t handle property damage is because they won’t get paid for that part of the case usually and if they do it’s not worth much. To me that’s shameful.

One big property damage issue that comes up in Illinois car accident cases is diminished value. Diminished value refers to the difference in the car’s worth before the accident as compared to after the accident. Even if the car gets repaired, your ability to sell it for what it used to be worth would be used.

If the other party was at fault, the insurance company is not only supposed to pay for the repairs, but they are also supposed to compensate you for the diminished value of the vehicle. Of course, insurance companies don’t just give money away, and they will use this issue to try to gain leverage over you to either settle the case before you should or settle for less money than the case is worth.

The sad but honest truth is that the less you are injured, the more likely it is that insurance companies will get away with this. We don’t know any law firms that do property damage-only cases, because it’s just not a way to make money in a business. But car accident attorneys make enough money in most injury cases that they should handle diminished value and other property loss issues. And ironically in some cases that have HUGE value, the insurance company might mess around with compensating you for the car value in an effort to get a total settlement too soon.

Our best advice is:

  1. If you are injured or not feeling well after an accident, go to the doctor. Don’t do it to just help you get a lawyer. Do it because you are sincerely hurt.
  2. Beware of the insurance company trying to quickly settle your case in exchange for fixing your car and paying diminished value. That’s usually in their best interests, not yours.
  3. Don’t believe anyone who says diminished value isn’t a thing.
  4. Ask your attorney before you hire them if they will handle the property damage issues. If they say no, don’t hire them. If you’ve already hired them, you can usually fire them and get a new attorney without owing them anything, especially if it’s not too long since the accident.

If you have questions about any of this or want our help in finding the best attorney for you, call us any time at 312-346-5320.

If you want to know if you have an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit or need an attorney referral, we can help. Since 2001, we have helped thousands of people find the best attorney for their case and recover millions of dollars. Call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with an attorney for free and in confidence.

One thing we’ve always tried to do is be honest with people who contact us. We believe in talking in plain English and being very direct with our opinions. That’s how we want to be treated and what we think is best for people looking for legal guidance.

I loathe attorneys that are full of it. A lot of attorneys will tell people, “You have a great case, I’m just too busy.” That is almost always a lie. Instead of the attorney telling you why they don’t think you have a case, they give you false hope. A couple of years ago, a caller told me that 12 attorneys told her that same lie.

While that is the most common lie Illinois medical malpractice lawyers make, there’s one attorney who is making one that is even worse in my opinion. It’s worse because it’s clearly fraudulent and makes people think he has some special ability.

This attorney tells people that he has won over 98% of the cases that he has accepted. While I’ve never reviewed his case load, I can tell you that this is at best very misleading and most likely a blatant lie (in my opinion).

I say that because in Cook County, which is considered the most plaintiff friendly place in Illinois, for cases that go to trial, the defendants win 80% of the time. On top of that, in typical medical malpractice cases, someone calls you, you go over the facts and then you either say “we can’t help” or “we’d like to investigate the case.” If you are investigating it, you’ve “accepted” it.

From there, you have the case reviewed. First you look at the victim’s medical records internally. Then if it looks like an error may have happened, you have an outside doctor review them. If they think malpractice occurred, you likely file a lawsuit.

The reality though is that quite often, the outside experts say no case. Or you start the lawsuit and new facts emerge that you weren’t aware of and you drop the case. Or a client dies of some other reason which eliminates damages and you drop the case. Or they are a bad witness. Or they disappear. Or something else happens. This happens a lot. Every experience malpractice attorney has stories of clients they thought they could help only to realize the case wasn’t great.

So to claim you’ve won 98% of the time is just BS.  Even if you only count the cases you filed a lawsuit on, to claim you recovered money in 98 out of 100 of them would be unheard of.

Sadly, this attorney doesn’t need to lie. He has had some great results for his clients in the past and he seems to be a very good lawyer. But for whatever reason it appears that someone convinced him or someone else that this marketing trick was a good idea or that they could somehow spin it to be technically true when in reality it isn’t.

This type of deceptive advertising drives me bonkers. It’s really slimy in my opinion and has the potential to harm the client and the legal profession in general.

The honest truth about medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois is that there are very few slam dunks and almost every case is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes six months or more to properly investigate a case and even if a lawsuit is filed, things can come up that can derail the case.

Bottom line is that if some attorney is bragging in a way that seems too good to be true or makes it seem like they are head and shoulders above every other lawyer out there, it’s probably because they are lying.

We are experienced lawyers in Chicago who since 2001 have been helping people find the best Illinois personal injury attorney for their case. Call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with a lawyer for free.

We get calls from people all the time who ask us how much their personal injury case is worth. If only we could plug in a few pieces of data and forecast the potential compensation. You may have seen a “pain and suffering calculator” or a “30-second auto accident money calculator” online, but we don’t put stock in those. It’s just not that simple and those quotes aren’t accurate. 

So how is personal injury compensation calculated? What factors go into determining a personal injury award? Well, there are many variables. 

Every case is different, and there is no spreadsheet or chart that one can refer to or consult. We need to look at all of the factors in your case.

First of all, the extent of your injuries is very important. The more major or severe the injury, the more money you can anticipate recovering. What is the time horizon for future medical care? If it appears you will need long-term medical care, that will likely increase the amount of the compensation. That seems straightforward. 

Similar to the issue of severity and future medical care, your ability to live normally on a daily basis is another factor. To what extent are you able to take care of yourself? Do you need assistance with daily life tasks? 

How strong is your case in proving liability? Do you have an “open and shut case,” or is there some weakness in proving the defendant is at fault? Any defenses can impact settlement negotiations.

Your age and life expectancy are factors. The younger you are, the more years you have left in your career and the more enjoyment you would have been expected to get out of life. Your future earnings will be impacted to a great degree than those of a person 15 years older than you (assuming the same exact injury). 

Your lost wages and current compensation level are a factor. How much time were you off work? How much longer will it be before you get back to work? Will you be able to go back to work in your same role? Will you be able to earn the same level of compensation going forward? 

How egregious was the liability/mistake in your personal injury case? Was there a shocking nature to the case? If your case involves sexual assault for example, or someone driving under the influence, that may impact the compensation. 

What degree of pain and suffering did you experience? How far into the future will you likely experience pain and suffering? 

Yes, there are a lot of questions and variables. And here’s a final one:  the attorney you hire will also impact the amount of your compensation. The simple truth when it comes to major injuries is that some cases are worth more money in the hands of certain law firms than they are in others. In other words, if law firm A can get you $10 million on a case, that sounds great. But if you discover that law firm B would have gotten you $20 million then you’ll feel ripped off. We know experienced and reputable attorneys who do an excellent job for their clients. Give us a call to tell us about your situation so we can refer you to the best lawyer for your specific needs. All calls are free and confidential.

Everyone wants to hire the “best” lawyer for your case. The reality is that there is no such thing as the best attorney for every case. This is especially true in car accident lawsuits in Illinois. The right lawyer if you are hit by a CTA bus or other commercial vehicle and have a major injury isn’t the right one if you are hit be a teenager with limited insurance and suffer a back strain. The right attorney if you are hit by someone with a $1 million policy may not be the right one if you are hit by someone with no insurance at all. And if you need someone that speaks a foreign language, or is patient with older people or can do a home visit, etc. that may change who is “best” for you.

One way to end up with the best one is knowing who the worst ones are. Attorneys that have been licensed for less than five years will usually not have the experience needed to get the greatest result possible for you. Not to say that they couldn’t, but your chances of success with someone who has 20 or more years under their belt is higher.

Another “worst” attorney to look out or is one that won’t take cases to trial. I was recently talking to a top Chicago personal injury lawyer who wanted me to refer him cases. I asked about his other referral sources and he told me that 1/3 of his case load comes from a lawyer who only settles cases. That means that the attorney will sign up your case and never file a lawsuit. They will try to settle it and if they can’t, at the last minute they’ll refer your case out. So you end up actually being forced to hire some attorney you don’t know and never intended to work with.

This is despicable in my opinion. Quite often in these cases, the best strategy for the client is to file a lawsuit right away. With new rules in Cook County that governs how long a case has to go to trial, filing sooner versus later can create a lot of leverage for you. Some attorneys would rather wait until the two year time limit for suing is almost up. That’s in their best interests, not yours.

So in the end, their clients end up with a new lawyer. That lawyer isn’t going to be up to speed on your case. They won’t know about conversations you’ve had with the firs lawyer on the case. They won’t have been with you every step of the way. It’s not impossible to succeed in that situation but it’s far from ideal.

My suggestion is before you hire a lawyer, ask them how many cases they’ve taken to trial or arbitration in the last five years. Also ask them when they’d file a lawsuit on your case and confirm that they’d do it themselves and not punt you to someone else. If they don’t have a history of trying cases and won’t file the lawsuit, they aren’t the firm you should hire. There is a much better lawyer out there for you and it shouldn’t be hard to find.

If you’d like the input of an attorney as to which lawyer is best for you, you can call us for free any time at 312-346-5320.

We are experienced Illinois attorneys who have helped hundreds of thousands of people with their legal issues. If you’d like to speak with an attorney for free, you can contact us any time at 312-346-5320.

We started our legal guidance and lawyer referral service way back in 2001. A big motivation for it was seeing so many cases where clients hired the wrong attorney for their case. We saw divorce lawyers handling car accident cases because they thought they could make a quick buck. We saw inexperienced attorneys taking on traffic and criminal cases. Not every one of these scenarios went bad, but it was our belief that if we could get people with the right kind of attorney for their case, more cases would end up with clients getting the result they deserve.

In one of our first calls, we heard a question that we still get multiple times a week. It’s a variation of this:

I know I need a lawyer, but I don’t know which type I need. Can you help me figure that out?

The answer is yes and it’s one reason why we still exist almost 22 years later. We don’t know an attorney for every situation, but we can tell you what type you should be looking for and clarify what different practice areas actually mean.

The most common clarification we give is when people say that the need a civil attorney. What most don’t understand is that every lawsuit is a civil lawsuit, so by definition, pretty much every attorney who goes to court in non criminal cases is a civil lawyer.

What we advise people to do is find a lawyer who has handled many similar cases to what you are going through. If your spouse’s life insurance policy isn’t getting paid upon their death, you want an attorney who has handled those cases hundreds of times. If you are trying to get commissions from your old job, you need a labor lawyer with a real track record of success. If you want to sue your neighbor because they damaged your property, there are not lawyers who “specialize” in that, but plenty who do what we call general civil litigation.

The general civil litigation attorneys can handle all sorts of cases, but are usually best for odd litigation that doesn’t happen all of the time.

Our strength is that we constantly network and try to identify great lawyers who do a great job for their clients. That doesn’t guarantee you a result, but it does, in our opinion, increase your chances of success.

Some other advice we can give is not to hire the first attorney you can get on the phone, but really think if they are the best for your case. It’s worth waiting to get someone who really can show a winning history with similar situations to what you are going through.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t try to guess who you should hire. We would be happy to help you figure out your choices and make an educated decision. Please contact us any time if you’d like to discuss your case in confidence.

We are experienced Illinois medical malpractice lawyers who have helped thousands of people since 2001. If you’d like to speak with a lawyer for free, please contact us at 312-346-5320. We cover all of Illinois and will give you a plain English, honest consultation about your case.

Sadly, there are a number of traumatic birth injuries that afflict newborns. While most people are familiar with cerebral palsy, many have not heard or Klumpke’s palsy, or Klumpke paralysis. Klumpke’s palsy is caused by a birth injury to the baby’s brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves coming out of the spinal cord that starts in the back of the neck and extends to the armpit.

Most types of brachial plexus injuries impact the shoulder and upper arm, and the resulting paralysis affects the movement of the lower arm and hand. Babies with Klumpke’s palsy have difficulty moving their arm, wrist, and hand. Other symptoms include a lack of muscle control so movements are uncoordinated, and a loss of feeling in those areas as if they are “asleep.” In addition, some babies have a droopy eyelid on the opposite side of their face.

The brachial plexus injury and the resulting Klumpke’s palsy can result from a difficult delivery and trauma during childbirth. When a baby is in a typical head down position before birth, but he/she has an arm positioned above the head, the doctor sometimes pulls the baby by the arm from the birth canal. This puts a big strain on the neck and shoulder (and nerves) of the newborn. These brachial plexus injuries are more commonly seen with petite women whose babies have higher birth weights as it is more difficult for the baby to move through a relatively small birth canal. Conversely, it is quite uncommon for an infant delivered by cesarean section to experience Klumpke paralysis.

Klumpke’s palsy is diagnosed at birth after a physical exam. Doctors may conduct x-rays and other tests to determine the extent of the nerve damage. Some babies will have mild symptoms and recover within months. Some will need surgery. Others will unfortunately have some permanent nerve damage.

If you believe that the doctor who delivered your infant (or the infant of a loved one) was negligent and made poor medical decisions that led to a brachial plexus injury and Klumpke’s palsy, please contact us at 312-346-5320. You can tell us the details of what happened, and we can refer you to an experienced attorney.  If the injury was a result of negligence during the delivery, your child can be compensated for their medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of future income and need for future care.