Donald J. Nolan

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Aviation & Aerospace Attorney in Chicago, IL

Nolan Law Group
 | 20 North Clark Street, 30th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: 312-489-8208
Fax: 312-630-4011
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2006, 2008 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1977
Practice Areas:
  • Aviation and Aerospace (50%),
  • Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff (30%),
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (20%)
    Attorney Profile

    Attorney Donald J. Nolan is the founder of Chicago's Nolan Law Group. At his nationally recognized firm, Mr. Nolan focuses his practice on protecting the rights of victims of negligence living in Chicago and surrounding Cook County. Although he has successfully represented victims in a variety of personal injury cases, including those resulting from motor vehicle accidents and product liability, his work on behalf of victims of aviation accidents is what has led to his national recognition.

    Mr. Nolan began his legal career in 1977 after earning his law degree from DePaul University College of Law and approval to practice law in Illinois. In the nearly 40 years that have passed since his career began, he has earned the respect of his peers and clients. He holds a "Superb" rating from Avvo, and he has received an AV Preeminent* peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, The National Trial Lawyers has listed him among its Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

    Attorney Nolan's honors are not only the result of his negotiation and litigation skills, but also the result of his dedication to justice. Throughout his career, he has worked to improve aviation safety. In fact, his efforts have led to safety system redesigns and the identification and rectification of defective parts. His focus on airline safety also led to a position as chair of the American Association for Justice's Aviation Law Section and his appointment to a number of plaintiffs' steering committees in the aftermath of commercial airline crashes.

    Mr. Nolan is an active member of the legal community outside of the courtroom. He is a member of several organizations, including the National Air Disaster Alliance and Foundation, the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association and the Association of Transportation Law Professionals.

    *AV Preeminent is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories: legal ability and general ethical standards.

    Practice Areas
    • 50%Aviation and Aerospace
    • 30%Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff
    • 20%Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff


    Selected to Super Lawyers for 16 yearsbottom-image

    Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2006, 2008 - 2021

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    About Donald Nolan

    Admitted: 1977, Illinois

    Professional Webpage:


    • Civil Justice Foundation Honor Roll of Champions, 2004
    • Toe Tonahill Award, ATLA, New Lawyers Division Annual Conference, July 21, 2000
    • Chicago Bar Association Certificate of Appreciation for service to the organized bar and the association as Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, June 1998
    • Recognized as a "Special Friend" of the Brain Injury Association of Illinois for exceptional support and commitment to increasing the quality of life for the brain injured person and their family.Presented by the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, October 4, 1996
    • Leading Lawyers Network, The Top Lawyers
    • The Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers 87th Edition, 2003
    • Brain Injury Association Certificate of Appreciation presented by the Brain Injury Association of New York, June 23-23, 2000
    • ATLA Board of Governors, Presidents Club, 1998
    • AV Peer Review Rated
    • ATLA Board of GovernorsLeaders Forum, 2004
    • 1st Annual Lighthouse Award for unwavering support, encouragement and guidance. Presented by the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, October 4, 2002
    • Supporting Fellow, Roscoe Pound Foundation, August 31, 1998
    • Presidents Award in appreciation for providing continuous and exemplary support of programs and services presented by the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, October 24, 1997
    • Leading American Attorney in Personal Injury Law

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Railroad Section, Chair, 1988-1999
    • Lawyers Pilots Bar Association
    • Plaintiffs' Liaison counsel, United Airlines Flight 585
    • Birth Trauma Litigation Group, Member
    • Board of Directors, 1996-2001
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee Silk Air Flight 185
    • Appointment to Tort Section Council, 1994-1996
    • DePaul Aviation Institute Advisory Board Member
    • District of Colorado, 2007
    • Long Range Planning, Chair 1997-1999
    • Melvin Belli Society
    • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1983
    • American Bar Association
    • Industrial Commission, 1982-1983
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, EgyptAir Flight 990
    • ATLA PAC Eagle Member
    • National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, USAir Flight 427
    • Editor of TBI Litigation Group Newsletter, President, and Executive Committee Member
    • Brain Injury Association of Illinois
    • Illinois Supreme Court Committee on IPI Jury Instruction
    • Illinois State Bar Association
    • Spinal Cord Injury Association
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee Corporate Air – Lead Counsel
    • Appointment to Public Affairs/Media Relations Committee, 1996-1999
    • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
    • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit – 1992 Trial Bar
    • Judicial Evaluation Committee, 1984-1987
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, Singapore Airlines Flight SQ006
    • Illinois State Bar, 1977
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America Aviation Law Section, Chair, 2004
    • National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, Swissair Flight 111
    • Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, President, 2001-2002
    • Association for Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy
    • Plaintiffs' Discovery Committee and Trial Team, American Eagle Flight 4184
    • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Secretary, 1996-1997
    • Honorary Member of the Board of Directors since 2002
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee Air Philippines Flight 541 – Lead Counsel
    • Chicago Bar Association, Member
    • Civil Justice Foundation Trustee
    • New York State Bar, 2003
    • Tort Litigation Committee, Chair, 1989-1990 and Vice-Chair, 1988-1989
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, American Airlines Flight 587
    • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1977
    • Aviation and Space Law Committee
    • Civil Practice, 1981-1982
    • Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, TWA Flight 800

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Overview of a Traumatic Brain Injury Case, Opening Statement, Appropriate Use of a Vocational Economic Expert
    • Brain Injury Association of Illinois, Annual Educational conference, Speaker, Lisle, Illinois, October 24-25, 1997, Lawsuits and Workers' compensation claims: What Brain Injury Patients and Health Care Providers Should Know About Legal Rights and Remedies
    • Brain Injury Association, Inc., Annual Conference for Attorneys, Speaker, San Francisco, California, September 25-27, 1997, Organizing the File and Preparing the Case For Settlements or Trial
    • Vocational Economics, Inc., Defining Monetary Damages, Speaker, Chicago, Illinois, September 12, 1997, Overview of a Traumatic Brain Injury Case Opening Statement
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Annual convention, Speaker, San Diego, California, July 19-23, 1997, Summation in the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Case, The Use of Demonstrative Evidence in Construction Site Accidents
    • Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin, Annual Seminar, Speaker, May 30-31, 1997, Presentation of the Brain Stem Case
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, New Jersey Educational Foundation, Boardwalk Seminar, Speaker, Atlantic City, New Jersey, April 18, 1997, Preparing the Case for Settlement and Trial
    • Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Speaker, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 9, 1997, Demonstrative Evidence in Both Head and Neck Injuries
    • Brain Injury Association of North Carolina, Speaker, Charlotte, North Carolina, January 24, 1997, Evaluation of Claims involving Brainstem Injuries
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Mid-Winter Convention, Speaker, Boca Raton, Florida, January 20, 1997, Voir Dire in the Mild Brain Injury Case
    • Brain Injury Association of Illinois, Educational Conference, Speaker, Lisle, Illinois, October 4, 1996, Unifying the Medical-Legal Approach to Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Brain Injury Association, Annual Conference for Attorneys, Speaker, Palm Beach, Florida, September 19, 1996, Preparing the Post Concussion Syndrome Case for Settlement and Trial
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Annual Convention, Speaker, Boston, Massachusetts, July 29, 1996, Traumatic Brainstem Injury
    • American Association for Justice Annual Convention, Aviation Law Section, Opening Statements, Speaker, Chicago, Illinois, 2007
    • Brain Injury Association of Michigan, Speaker, Flint, Michigan, March 28, 1996, Understanding Economic Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Annual Brain Injury Association of Illinois Education Conference, Pulling It All Together, Speaker, Oakbrook, Illinois, 2006
    • Annual ATLA Conference , Aviation Law Section Panel Member, Toronto Canada, 2005
    • Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Mardi Gras Conference, Speaker, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 19, 1996, Proving the Invisible Injury: Seeing is Believing
    • Conference on Brain Injury, Brain Injury Association of Utah and The Utah Trial Lawyers Association, Pulling It All Together, Speaker, Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Brain Injury Association of North Carolina, Speaker, Charlotte, North Carolina, January 29, 1996, Direct Examination of Vocational Economic Analyst
    • North American Brain Injury Society, Annual Brain Injury Medical-Legal Conference, Putting It All Together, Speaker, Napa, California
    • Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin, Speaker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, January 5, 1996, The No Reported Loss of Consciousness Case: Panel Discussion, Effective Summation in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
    • ATLA Annual Convention 2003, Aviation Law Section Program, Media Relations & Disaster Assistance in Complex Accidents, Moderator, San Francisco, California, July 21, 2003
    • The National Head Injury Foundation,14th Annual National Symposium, Speaker, San Diego, California, December 3-5, 1995, Informed Consent: What's it all about?
    • Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group Program, Defeating the Defenses in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases, Moderator, San Francisco, California
    • Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Moderator, New Orleans, Louisiana, February, 1995, Proving Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
    • ATLA Annual Convention 2002, Emerging Issues: Airports and Airplanes, Panel, Atlanta, Georgia, July 21, 2002
    • Chicago Bar Association, Program Moderator, Chicago, Illinois, February 14, 1990, The Wrongful Death Act: Obtaining the Successful Result
    • Southern Methodist University, Annual Aviation Law Symposium, Speaker, Dallas, Texas, February 22 – 23, 2001, Pre-Impact Terror
    • 2005 Annual ATLA Conference, Aviation Law Section Panel Member, Toronto Canada, July 2005
    • American Bar Association, Aviation Issues in the New Millennium Conference, Moderator, Washington, D.C. October 19 – 21, 2000
    • Brain Injury Association of Illinois, Annual Education Conference, Speaker, Lisle, Illinois, October 16, 1999, Pediatric Life Care Planning
    • Brain Injury Association of California, Annual Conference, Paper, San Francisco, October 12, 1999, Special Opening Statement Techniques in the M.T.B.I. Case
    • John Marshall Law School, Legal and Medical Seminar, Paper, Chicago, Illinois, September 9, 1999, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Traumatic Brain Injury Seminar, Speaker, Columbus, Ohio, June 3-4, 1999, The Ultimate T.B.I Notebook
    • Utah Trial lawyers Association, Winning Brain Injury Cases: Medical, Legal and Technological Issues, Speaker, Salt Lake City, Utah, January 28-29, 1999, The Ultimate Trial Notebook
    • Handling the Severe TBI Case: Settlement and Trial Perspectives, Direct Examination of Medical and Defense Experts in the Mild to Moderate TBI Case
    • Brain Injury Association, Annual conference for Attorneys, Speaker, Palm Beach, Florida, September 17-19, 1998, Organizing the File and Preparing the Case For Settlement or Trial
    • The Brain Injury Association of New York State, Understanding the Medical and Legal Aspects of Traumatic Brain Injury, Speaker
    • New York, New York, June 18-19, 1998, Final Arguments in Brain Injury Cases
    • Vocational Economics, Inc., Defining Monetary Damages, Speaker, San Francisco, California, November 12, 1997


    Educational Background:

    •  B.A. - Honors, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois, 1974
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    Office Location for Donald J. Nolan

    20 North Clark Street
    30th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60602

    Phone: 312-489-8208

    Fax: 312-630-4011

    Donald J. Nolan:

    Last Updated: 2/9/2021

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