General Trial Practice

General Trial Practice

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP maintains a nationwide reputation as a premier trial firm. The firm’s attorneys earned this reputation in the only meaningful way—by trying cases. The firm's list of verdicts is the ultimate testament to the skills of the Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP trial lawyers. Volume of trials is not the only measure of a firm's success. Most of the cases taken to verdict by Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP lawyers involve complex issues, catastrophic injuries and large damage exposure.

Civil litigation arises from almost any activity, transaction or relationship. In the personal injury area, the firm has defended owners and operators of sports arenas, department stores, trucking companies, amusement parks, rental car agencies, churches, construction companies and an almost endless list of businesses, factories and service providers.

The firm's experience is not limited to claims for money damages or personal injury. Lawyers at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP have litigated a wide variety of chancery cases involving injunctions, specific performance, revocation of acceptance, consumer fraud, replevin and other equitable remedies. Such actions frequently involve employment agreements, restrictive covenants, trade practices and the Uniform Commercial Code.

Collection of money and debts is an important element of civil litigation. The lawyers at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP aggressively advocate the positions of their clients, while maintaining the efficiencies and practical sensibilities required in creditor litigation. The lawyers at the firm practice in the local, state and federal courthouses on a daily basis and are familiar with the collection procedures of the courts and judges.

Although verdicts are the greatest evidence of the skill of a trial lawyer, not all cases are resolved by trial. The lawyers at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP realize that most cases should be settled. Early evaluation, straightforward dealing with the opposing counsel and clear communication with the client often result in contested matters settling early before needless time and expense are wasted on litigation.

No law firm in Chicago has experienced a wider range of civil litigation and jury trials than Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP. This experience and expertise is available to the firm’s clients at reasonable rates, often far less than those offered by other large firms.


News

Chicago, May 6, 2021
Kincaid, Stephens Successfully Defend Client in Alleged Fraud Claim
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP's client's motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens enforcing the forum selection clause contained in the underlying contract.

Chicago, May 4, 2021
Arranz Offers Legal Update at Perrin Asbestos Conference
Arranz's panel, "Legal Update: A Round Table Review," will offer analysis of key appellate decisions impacting asbestos litigation and a review of new or proposed legislative changes across the country.

Chicago, May 4, 2021
McCaskey Re-Elected to Non-Resident Lawyer Division Board of Directors for State Bar of Wisconsin
The Nonresident Lawyers Division helps nonresident members maintain their ties with Wisconsin.

Chicago, April 27, 2021
Drumke Speaks on Trial Masters Panel for ABA TIPS Conference
A longtime active ABA member, Drumke is a current chair of the Cannabis Law and Policy Committee, member of the ABA House of Delegates and governor to the Board of Governors.

Chicago, April 26, 2021
Rogers Named President of ABOTA Illinois
ABOTA dedicates itself to the preservation and promotion of the Seventh Amendment, which guarantees the right to civil jury trials.

Chicago, April 21, 2021
Keating Moderates Panel at DRI Retail and Hospitality Seminar
Keating will moderate conversation among seasoned counsel discussing how in-house counsel and outside litigators can best adapt to defend claims on behind of minors in court and in the public arena.

Chicago, St. Louis, April 14, 2021
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Sponsors ACC St. Louis Litigation Seminar on Post-Pandemic Litigation
The panel will offer thoughts on how litigators will see their workday change or return to pre-pandemic practices, as well as ways courts will be affected and what new challenges litigators may face.

Chicago, April 12, 2021
Becker Named to Billboard Magazine's Top Music Lawyers List for Third Consecutive Year
According to BIllboard, "Over the past tumultuous year, the leading music attorneys chosen for the 2021 edition of Billboard's Top Music Lawyers — nominated by their firms and peers and chosen by our editors — have played an essential role."


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Chicago, April 6, 2021
Drumke Speaks on Litigation and Disputes in the Cannabis Industry
Drumke is a panelist at Cannabis: Business Fundamentals 2021, hosted by the Practicing Law Institute.

Chicago, March 9, 2021
Nickels Discusses Medical Negligence Trial Topics at ISBA Panel
Nickels and fellow panelists will discuss issues that attendees should be aware of in upcoming medical negligence trials.

Chicago, March 3, 2021
Retired Jerseyville Judge Joins Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP as Partner
Pistorius is a retired resident judge of the Seventh Circuit in Jersey County, Illinois. He served on the bench for 15 years after being appointed in 2005.

Chicago, February 19, 2021
Recent Law School Graduates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
The four newly sworn in lawyers joined the firm's Chicago office as associates.

Chicago, February 16, 2021
General Trial Practice Group Newsletter - What You Need to Know About Illinois' Pre-Judgment Interest Legislation
The newsletter focuses on Illinois' pre-judgment interest legislation.

Chicago, January 18, 2021
Three Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Named Partner
Jessica Levitt Acuna, Jack A. Gould and Jonna McGinley Reilly have all been named partner.

Chicago, December 22, 2020
Weiler Quoted in Law360 on Biggest Illinois Decisions of 2020
Weiler suggested Nichole Hamby et al. v. Bayer Corp. et al., a Supreme Court of the State of Illinois jurisdictional ruling which found the non-resident plaintiffs had identified "no jurisdictionally relevant links" between their claims over the device and Illinois, reversing circuit and intermediate appellate courts that had allowed the claims to go forward.

Chicago, November 5, 2020
Best Lawyers Names Mass Tort Litigation, Personal Injury, Product Liability Practices to Annual List
Published by U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers, the firm once again received a National Tier 1 ranking for Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants.

Chicago, July 16, 2020
Three Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP announces that three attorneys have joined the firm's Chicago office as associates.

Chicago, June 15, 2020
Keating Speaks at Virtual CLM Conference
Keating and two fellow panelists will present on "Work Comp? Premises Liability? You Can't Have It Both Ways."

St. Louis, May 21, 2020
Weishaar Authors Chapter in ABA Arbitration and the Surety Compendium
Weishaar's chapter in Arbitration and the Surety focuses on "Scope and Enforceability of Arbitration Clauses and Requirements."

Chicago, February 27, 2020
Law360 Profiles New Lateral Partner John Duffy
Duffy shared with Law360 that he "is excited for the bigger footprint that his new firm would provide..." and "emphasized Swanson Martin's 'national reputation of trying cases, including difficult ones involving product manufacturers or professionals.'"

January 29, 2020
Seven Associates Named Partner at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Seven associates based in the Chicago office have been named partner.

January 2, 2020
Recent Law School Graduates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP announces that five recent law school graduates have joined the firm's Chicago office as associates.

December 19, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Win $1.5 Million in Construction Breach of Contract Case
Attorneys won a $1.5 million award and defeated a $3.9 million counterclaim following a week of oral hearings tried before the AAA Construction Industry Tribunal.

December 16, 2019
Lateral Partner Joins Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP's Commercial Litigation Practice
Harkness focuses his practice on commercial litigation, manufacturing disputes, partnership and membership disputes, class action defense, intellectual property litigation, and real estate litigation.

December 6, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Named to BTI Client Service A-Team 2020
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP is ranked a Standout in both investing in client relationships and also in client-facing communication.

November 26, 2019
Reilly Volunteers at Immigration Processing Center on U.S. Border
With the help of translators, Reilly interviewed numerous detainees, assessing their claims for asylum or alternative immigration relief in hopes of collecting enough facts to enable Las Americas to take on their case pro bono.

November 11, 2019
St. Louis, Madison County Offices Collect Food for St. Louis Area Foodbank
Participants gave 199 pounds of food, as well as cash donations, which will provide 322 meals to those in need.

November 5, 2019
Kocour Moderates Panel for Law Bulletin Seminars' Judges Symposium
The symposium provides sitting Cook County judges a forum to share wisdom and advice with lawyers who appear before them.

October 28, 2019
Law360 Interviews Drumke for "Cannabis Corner" Article
Drumke became the first chair of the American Bar Association's Cannabis Law and Policy Committee this summer and co-chaired the ABA's first ever nationwide program devoted entirely to teaching attorneys about marijuana and hemp law,

September 27, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Highlights Fardy in "40 Under Forty" Look Back
Fardy was chosen from among his fellow "40 Under Forty" Class of 2009 peers for a detailed profile on his career since receiving the honor.

September 25, 2019
Clyder Named to Law Bulletin Media's "40 Under Forty" List
According to Clyder's profile, he "has a superior command of the technical issues that often determine outcomes in product liability cases."

September 16, 2019
Seven Lateral Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP welcomes seven lateral associates, including one in the firm's St. Louis office.

September 16, 2019
Law.com's Higher Law Quotes Drumke, Highlights Upcoming ABA Cannabis Law Conference
"From Regs to Riches: Navigating the Rapidly Emerging Fields of Cannabis and Hemp Law" is hosted by the ABA's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section this Thursday and Friday in Chicago.

September 10, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Named to Crain's Chicago Business' 2019 Largest Law Firms List
The firm was listed at No. 21 with over 125 attorneys in its Chicago-area offices.

September 9, 2019
Kramer Speaks at Chicagoland Risk Forum
Kramer will discuss "Premises Liability and the General Public: Risk Mitigation in a Litigious Society."

September 3, 2019
Drumke, Skiko Speak at ABA Cannabis Law Conference
Drumke is a co-chair of the conference, titled "From Regs to Riches: Navigating the Rapidly Emerging Fields of Cannabis & Hemp Law."

September 3, 2019
McCaskey Serves as Program Co-Vice Chair at DRI Automotive Seminar
McCaskey's practice includes advising clients in product liability, construction, insurance, banking and commercial disputes and class action matters.

August 28, 2019
Patterson Speaks on Litigation Finance
Patterson and fellow panelists will offer "A Case Study: How Litigation Funding Saved A Business."

August 15, 2019
Seven Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Named to 2020 Best Lawyers List
Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review.

August 14, 2019
Drumke Elected to ABA Board of Governors
The ABA Board of Governors oversees the general operation of the ABA and develops specific plans of action.

July 25, 2019
Wisniewski Speaks at Lake County Bar Association Seminar
Wisniewski's portion of the seminar covered business dispute litigation.

July 17, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Obtain Defense Verdict in High-Stakes Product Liability Case
The plaintiff asked the jury for between $38 million and $48 million in compensatory damages, and as much as $200 million in punitive damages for a total of over $248 million.

May 31, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business Names Five Attorneys to Notable Gen X Leaders in Law list
John P. Arranz, Patricia S. Kocour, A. Jay Koehler, Aiju C. Thevatheril and Catherine Basque Weiler were among 121 lawyers in Chicago listed.

May 31, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Hosts Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois JD Mentoring Event
The program aims to maximize the number of Hispanics applying to law schools and cultivate the academic and professional success of those students.

May 16, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Named to BTI Brand Elite 2019: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms
Each year, BTI reaches out to a sample of legal decision makers at large organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue.

April 29, 2019
Skiko Speaks to Illinois Security Professionals Association
Skiko's presentation is titled "Walking a Fine Line: How Security Providers Can Prevent and Defeat Negligence/Liability Claims."

April 25, 2019
Sheean Speaks at DRI Business Litigation Super Conference
Sheean will discuss "The Shattered Corporate Shield: Tales of Member and Owner Liability" along with the Honorable James L. Gale, North Carolina Business Court, Greensboro, South Carolina.

April 23, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Supports Investing in Justice Campaign
One hundred percent of funds raised will fund CBF grants that support a range of legal services to thousands of people in need.

April 18, 2019
Drumke Presents with Trial Masters, Moderates Cannabis Law Session at ABA TIPS Conference
Drumke will be part of a trial masters program, followed by moderating a panel on current issues in cannabis law and policy.

March 28, 2019
Kawala, O'Sullivan Named BTI Client Service All-Stars
Kawala and O'Sullivan were two of 335 individual attorneys from 153 law firms nominated to the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2019.

February 7, 2019
Keating Speaks on Human Trafficking in Retail, Hospitality Industries at CLM Conference
Keating and fellow panelists will teach attendees what human trafficking is, how to spot the signs, and how to train staff and clients on the resources available to combat it.

February 1, 2019
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names Six New Partners
Andrew J. Albright, Joshua E. Bidzinski, Sarah A. Ferrill, Erica S. Longfield, Kristine C. Reveille and Stephanie Rifkind have all been promoted to partner.

December 13, 2018
Drumke Authors ABA Article on Cannabis Legal and Business Issues
The article appears in the TortSource, a publication of the ABA's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS). The Fall 2018 issue focuses on cannabis.

December 6, 2018
Drumke, Doeringer Present on Millennial Jurors at Colorado Conference
Drumke and Doeringer will discuss "The Millennial Juror – Friend or Foe?" as part of a three-day program in Snowmass, Colorado.

December 5, 2018
Report Names Illinois, Missouri Courts as "Judicial Hellholes"
Courts in Missouri and Illinois listed among the top nine.

November 30, 2018
Keating Quoted in SevenFifty Daily on Legalities of Hosting Event with Alcohol
Keating shared tips for reducing the risk of alcohol-related accidents and limiting liability.

November 1, 2018
Best Lawyers Names Mass Tort Litigation, Personal Injury, Product Liability Practices to Annual List
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP received the firm a National Tier 2 ranking for Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants.

October 3, 2018
Whitehead Serves as Instructor at CBA Jury Trial Skills Program
This hands-on trial technique program will be conducted over four separate sessions covering the main sections of trial: Opening Statements, Direct Examination, Cross-Examination, and Closing Argument.

September 7, 2018
Law360 Profiles Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP for 2018 Illinois Regional Powerhouse Series
According to the article, "Swanson's attorneys have flexed their muscles in several Illinois courtrooms this year, helping to fend off more than $100 million in claimed damages in several suits rooted in the firm's more institutional areas of practice."

August 15, 2018
Five Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers List
Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review.

June 29, 2018
Seven Lateral Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Six join the firm's Chicago office, while one will practice the firm's Lisle office.

June 1, 2018
Rogers Appointed Illinois Representative for ABOTA National Board
ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution.

May 18, 2018
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Named to BTI Brand Elite 2018: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms
Each year, BTI reaches out to a sample of legal decision makers at large organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue.

April 16, 2018
Kincaid Speaks to Illinois Association of County Zoning Officials
Kincaid spoke at the Illinois Association of County Zoning Officials Spring Conference at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois.

April 12, 2018
Keating Serves as Program Chair at DRI Retail and Hospitality Conference
Keating represents restaurants, concert venues, amusement venues, health clubs and retail businesses.

March 30, 2018
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Supports Investing in Justice Campaign
All attorneys in the firm's Chicago, Lisle, Libertyville, Madison County and St. Louis offices donated to the campaign.

March 22, 2018
Kincaid Speaks at DePaul Business and Commercial Law Journal Symposium
This year's symposium focuses on "Lending & Litigating: A Look into Chicago's Commercial Real Estate Market."

March 12, 2018
Court Vacates $23 Million Default Judgment Against International Client
McGovern, Fitzgerald secure dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.

February 21, 2018
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Sponsors Women's Bar Association of Illinois' Judicial Reception
The annual reception honors the judiciary and provides guests an opportunity to meet and socialize with state and federal judges.

February 5, 2018
Lateral Associates, Law School Graduates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP welcomes four lateral associates and two recent law school graduates to the firm.

January 30, 2018
Ferrill Guest Lectures at Notre Dame Law School
Topics included opening arguments, effective direct and cross examination, and trial demonstratives.

January 5, 2018
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names Four New Partners
All four attorneys practice at the firm's Chicago office.

December 27, 2017
Diversity Committee Hosts In-Office Book Drive
The committee collected 250 adult and children's books that were donated to Bernie's Book Bank and Open Books.

November 1, 2017
Best Lawyers Recognizes Mass Tort Litigation, Personal Injury, Product Liability Practices
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP received the firm a National Tier 2 ranking for Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants.

October 30, 2017
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Highlights New Indiana Office, 25th Anniversary
The article quotes partners Brian W. Bell and Timothy G. Nickels, and speaks of the firm's long history in Indiana.

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.

October 10, 2017
Ferrill Guest Lectures at Notre Dame Law School
Topics included preparing an expert for trial, effective cross examination, and trial demonstratives, as well as a a mock cross examination of the plaintiff’s economist expert

July 25, 2017
Three Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP announces that two lateral attorneys and a newly sworn-in attorney have joined the firm as associates.

May 17, 2017
Kramer Authors Article for IDC Civil Practice Committee Newsletter
Kramer's article focused on "What is the Injury? An Examination of Standing in Data Breach Litigation."

April 7, 2017
Keating Serves as Program Vice Chair at DRI Retail and Hospitality Conference
Keating represents national and international corporations in tort liability litigation matters throughout the United States.

March 27, 2017
McCaskey Speaks at Kentucky Defense Counsel Spring Seminar
McCaskey spoke on "CSI and the Use of Forensic Evidence in Defending Civil Litigation" and "Investigative Techniques Using Advanced Technology and Social Media Law."

January 30, 2017
Christ the King Jesuit College Prep Receives 25th Anniversary Donation
In honor of the firm's 25th anniversary, Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP is supporting a different non-profit each month.

October 27, 2016
Levitt Completes Second Ironman Long-Distance Triathlon
The competition consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race and a marathon, raced in that order without a break.

July 27, 2016
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Welcomes Four Lateral Attorneys
The four women range in practices from Medical Negligence and Healthcare or Toxic Tort Litigation.

June 23, 2016
Four Lateral Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP announces four lateral associates have joined the firm's Chicago office.

April 21, 2016
Keating Moderates Marketing, Brand Litigation Panel at DRI Retail and Hospitality Conference
Keating will moderate a discussion titled, "You Agreed to What?" regarding marketing and branding litigation at hospitality companies.

January 21, 2016
Patterson Authors "Above the Law" Article on Litigation Finance
Patterson discusses three ways litigation finance changes an attorney's job, inside and out.

January 8, 2016
Skiko Addresses Illinois Security Professionals Association
Skiko will share common legal pitfalls for security providers and how to avoid them.

December 1, 2015
Keating Authors Hotel Business Review Article on Hotel Bar Liability Issues
The influx of people to a hotel with a bar or restaurant may create issues for the operation of the hotel and potential liability concerns for the hotel's owners and operators.

July 30, 2015
Associate General Counsel, Lateral Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP announces the arrival of a new partner and three lateral associates, including one to its Madison County, Ill. office.

October 21, 2014
Lateral Partner, Four Lateral Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
All five attorneys practice in Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP's Chicago office.

September 23, 2014
Kernell Law Firm Attorneys Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP, SMB Opens St. Louis and Madison County Offices
“We believe our new St. Louis and Madison County offices will provide the same excellent service that clients have come to expect from Tom Kernell and his team,” said Managing Partner Timothy G. Nickels.

November 18, 2013
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Welcomes Three Associates
The firm welcomes three associates, including two who were recently sworn in to the Illinois Bar.

October 17, 2013
Reliford Named to Chicago International Charter School Board of Directors
Reliford aims to bring an additional perspective and commitment to academics to the CICS Board of Directors.

January 14, 2013
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names New Partners, Welcomes New Associate
Aiju C. Thevatheril was elected to equity partnership ranks, while Leanne W. Moore was named a non-equity partner.

January 23, 2012
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names New Partners
The firm's new partners focus on a variety of practice areas.


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