Darren B. Watts


Darren B. Watts is a partner at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP. Darren focuses on commercial litigation including class actions, unfair competition, trade secret and intellectual property disputes, commodities and securities claims, TCPA claims, bankruptcy, appeals, and assisting clients with business development issues.  Darren has represented regional, national, and international clients in a wide variety of commercial disputes, lawsuits, mediations, business development opportunities, insurance, and excess coverage matters, and appeals.  He has previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable William T. Hart, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1989-1990; as a law clerk to the Honorable William J. Bauer, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1989; as a Circuit staff law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1987-1989, and as the Editor of the Seventh Circuit Digest, 1988. Darren was awarded the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Civil Rights Award and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations’ Award of Merit for Civil Rights Work in the Area of Housing, 1995.


Commercial Litigation and Business Disputes
Class Action Defense
Intellectual Property Litigation and Transactional Services
General Trial Practice
Appellate Practice
Entertainment and Media Law
Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy
Mediation Practice
Cannabis Law

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Federal Bar Association, Member of Board of Directors, 1995-1996
  • Chicago Council of Lawyers, Board Member and Legal Counsel, 1995-1996
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Cook County Bar Association
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc


  • Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Civil Rights Award, Anti-Defamation League
  • Chicago Commission on Human Relations’ Award of Merit for Civil Rights Work in the Area of Housing, 1995


  • Bias Violence, Advocating for Victims (Part I), with Elizabeth Shuman-Moore, Clearinghouse Review, January 1995
  • Bias Violence, Advocating for Victims (Part II), with Elizabeth Shuman-Moore and Michele M. Giffels, Clearinghouse Review, March 1995
  • Constitutional and Federal Statutory Protection of Medical Records Privacy and Confidentiality, in Zaremski &Goldstein’s Medical and Hospital Negligence, Ch. 9, 1988
  • European Missile Deployment: Approaching the Watershed, 1 Cogitations on Law and Government, Fall, 1983


  • Emcee, "Preparing Your Expert Report for a Dual Audience - The Importance of Presenting Specialized Knowledge That Will Merit Admission and Be in Plain English for the Jury," presented by the Honorable District Judge William T. Hart, May 2, 2013, Chicago, Illinois
  • Emcee, "Ethical Considerations in Electronic Discovery," conducted by Peggy Daley of Duff & Phelps and Andy Parrish of Flex Discovery Solutions, May 1, 2013, Chicago, Illinois
  • Co-presentation, "In Search for a Defintion of Specifically and Unequivocally: An Update on the Application of United Operating's Standard for the Retention of Causes of Action Under 11 § U.S.C. 1123(b)(3)," with Mark Wege, Esq. of King & Spaulding, November 17, 2011, before the 30th Annual Jay L. Westbrook Bankruptcy Conference, Austin, Texas 
  • “What Do Attorneys Look for in Retaining Experts,” FEWA First Annual Midwest Practice Development Conference,” Chicago, Illinois, 2009
  • “What Do Attorneys Look for in Retaining Accounting Experts,” ICPAS chapter meeting, Northbrook, Illinois, 2010


Chicago, January 16, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Named Leading Lawyers, Emerging Lawyers for 2019
Those designated Leading Lawyers were recommend by their peers to be among the top lawyers in Illinois.

Chicago, October 19, 2017
SMB Attorneys Win Partial Summary Judgment in TCPA Class Action Lawsuit
The decision is one of the only in the country in which a court enforced the retroactive FCC waiver as a matter of law to dispose of a plaintiff's TCPA claims based on improper opt-out notices.

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