It’s not uncommon for me to get a call from someone asking something like, “Who’s the best Chicago personal injury lawyer near me?” The answer to that question really depends on the unique facts of your case and in most cases there are at least a handful of attorneys who could do a great job for you.

I’ve kind of evolved my thinking on who those “best” people are. I’m in my 26th year of practicing law and I’ve seen a lot of great lawyers come and go. Covid has had a big impact on that as well with many attorneys choosing to slow down their practice.  While Cook County has put in rules to speed up cases and force lawsuits to trial sooner, the reality is that for big cases, it’s still common for the lawsuit to drag on.

Recently a very prestigious Chicago personal injury lawyer settled a case for a truck driver who was killed in an accident for $25 million. That’s a tremendous result. The lawsuit itself was started in 2011 when the attorney was 59 years old. Now he’s 70. The case was tried in 2017, overturned on appeal and had it not been settled, probably wouldn’t have been over until next year.

This lawyer is great, but in my opinion the client got very lucky. Eleven years is a really long time and it wouldn’t have been shocking if the attorney had gotten sick, retired or just slowed down his practice and handed this case off to someone else.  He’s extremely capable, but if someone called me today and asked what lawyer has had a lot of success in trucking death cases, I couldn’t recommend him.  That’s because it’s very reasonable to expect that a new lawsuit will take at least five years to resolve and as shown by this other case, it could take much longer.

So when hiring the “best” Illinois attorney for your case, you have to not just think about who’s great now, but who’s likely to be great five years from now. With that in mind, most of the attorneys I recommend are in their 40’s or 50’s. They have incredible track records of success, but realistically speaking there is a much higher chance they will be a part of a thriving law practice five years from now.  That may sound unfair or ageist, but it’s an honest reality of life.

I salute the attorney who got the incredible result for the family he represented in the trucking death case and I hope he can keep it going. But I strongly recommend that when hiring an attorney you think about what they will be like five or 10 years from now and what their firm will be like. If you do that analysis, it will change your idea of who the best one is for your case.

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