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.


Chicago, April 17, 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.

Chicago, St. Louis, Madison County, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

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

Chicago, 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.

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Chicago, November 1, 2018
Danhelka Speaks to Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section on Oral Arguments
His presentation focuses on Oral Arguments of Motions.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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."

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, Lisle, June 29, 2018
Seven Lateral Associates Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, Lisle, Libertyville, St. Louis, Madison County, Indiana, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, April 3, 2018
Danhelka Authors Article for DRI Retail and Hospitality Newsletter
Danhelka's article is titled, "Is Time up on Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping?"

Chicago, Lisle, Libertyville, St. Louis, Madison County, 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.

Chicago, 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."

Chicago, March 20, 2018
Vanderporten Co-Authors Trial Tips Article in Decalogue Society of Lawyers Publication
Vanderporten and co-author Martin D. Gould wrote for the Young Lawyers' Corner on "Ten Things Associates Should Know about Preparing for Trial."

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

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, St. Louis, 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.

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

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

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, Indiana, 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.

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.

Chicago, 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

Chicago, Madison County, 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.

St. Louis, July 10, 2017
Ritter Authors Article for DRI In-House Defense Quarterly Magazine
Ritter's article is titled, "Is the Structure of Your Legal Department Pushing You to Gamble on Litigation?"

Chicago, 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."

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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."

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

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

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, Madison County, 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.

Chicago, May 8, 2015
McNamara Discusses Post-Trial Motions Appellate Issues at ISBA Seminar
McNamara offered insight on things that appellate counsel wishes trial counsel would do.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, September 5, 2014
McNamara Addresses Motion in Limine at ISBA Seminar
The seminar focuses on "Foundations, Evidence and Objections: Before Trial, During Trial, On Appeal, or After a Settlement."

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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.

Chicago, 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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