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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Monday, August 07, 2006

SIU's most notorious graduate & client selection

As some of you may know, I'm a graduate of The Southern Illinois University School of Law. I'm a big supporter of what they're doing down there and it's a very underrated and yet economical law school.

So all of us Saluki's are just waiting for the day when our fellow graduate and now-lawyer, Matthew Hale just drops off the radar screen...is that day ever going to come? Here's his latest antic, a $30 million malpractice suit versus his former defense attorney, Thomas Durkin of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw.

From afar it's sort of sick and humorous to see him flail away within the justice system. But speaking with my managing shareholder of a law firm hat on, why would anyone have gotten into this case representing him? Wasn't both the loss and likely this malpractice suit almost inevitable? Are some of these larger law firm's financially secure enough whereby the monetary threat really doesn't matter and essentially they'll risk it for the publicity? From where I'm sitting it's a lapse in judgment and one wonders the rigors with which Mayer, Brown selects whom it will represent.


At 4:54 PM, Blogger George M. Zuganelis said...

Matthew Hale is suing one of the best Federal Defenders in the Northern District of Illinois. Durkin is a Federal Defender, the equilivant of a Public Defender. Durkin didn't take the case, he was assigned. Also, to sue a criminal defense attorney for malpractice under Illinois law, and win, (which the 7th Circuit follows) the Plaintiff must first allege and prove that he is INNOCENT of the charges. Even if the Plaintiff gets over that hurdle, he must also allege and prove that the acts or ommissions of the lawyer caused him, an innocent man, to be convicted. That's a pretty tough couple of hurdles to jump. That's also why a criminal defense lawyer's malpractice insurance premium is very low, compared to other areas of law.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the comment George. As a non-criminal attorney its quite informative. Also, I wasn't aware that Durkin was assigned.


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