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: 312-630-4000
Fax: 312-630-4011
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2006, 2008 - 2020
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
    • 20%Personal Injury - General


    Selected to Super Lawyers for 15 yearsbottom-image

    Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2006, 2008 - 2020

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    About Donald Nolan

    Admitted: 1977, Illinois

    Professional Webpage:


    • Civil Justice Foundation Honor Roll of Champions, 2004
    • ATLA Board of GovernorsLeaders Forum, 2004
    • The Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers 87th Edition, 2003
    • ATLA Board of Governors, Presidents Club, 1998
    • Leading American Attorney in Personal Injury Law
    • AV Peer Review Rated
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • Supporting Fellow, Roscoe Pound Foundation, August 31, 1998
    • Brain Injury Association Certificate of Appreciation presented by the Brain Injury Association of New York, June 23-23, 2000
    • Toe Tonahill Award, ATLA, New Lawyers Division Annual Conference, July 21, 2000
    • 1st Annual Lighthouse Award for unwavering support, encouragement and guidance. Presented by the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, October 4, 2002
    • Leading Lawyers Network, The Top Lawyers

    Bar/Professional Activity:

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

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • American Association for Justice Annual Convention, Aviation Law Section, Opening Statements, Speaker, Chicago, Illinois, 2007
    • 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
    • 2005 Annual ATLA Conference, Aviation Law Section Panel Member, Toronto Canada, July 2005
    • Chicago Bar Association, Program Moderator, Chicago, Illinois, February 14, 1990, The Wrongful Death Act: Obtaining the Successful Result
    • Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Moderator, New Orleans, Louisiana, February, 1995, Proving Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
    • The National Head Injury Foundation,14th Annual National Symposium, Speaker, San Diego, California, December 3-5, 1995, Informed Consent: What's it all about?
    • 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
    • Brain Injury Association of North Carolina, Speaker, Charlotte, North Carolina, January 29, 1996, Direct Examination of Vocational Economic Analyst
    • Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Mardi Gras Conference, Speaker, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 19, 1996, Proving the Invisible Injury: Seeing is Believing
    • Brain Injury Association of Michigan, Speaker, Flint, Michigan, March 28, 1996, Understanding Economic Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Annual Convention, Speaker, Boston, Massachusetts, July 29, 1996, Traumatic Brainstem 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
    • Brain Injury Association of Illinois, Educational Conference, Speaker, Lisle, Illinois, October 4, 1996, Unifying the Medical-Legal Approach to Traumatic Brain Injury
    • 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 North Carolina, Speaker, Charlotte, North Carolina, January 24, 1997, Evaluation of Claims involving Brainstem Injuries
    • Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Speaker, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 9, 1997, Demonstrative Evidence in Both Head and Neck Injuries
    • 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
    • Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin, Annual Seminar, Speaker, May 30-31, 1997, Presentation of the Brain Stem Case
    • 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
    • Vocational Economics, Inc., Defining Monetary Damages, Speaker, Chicago, Illinois, September 12, 1997, Overview of a Traumatic Brain Injury Case Opening Statement
    • 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
    • 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
    • Overview of a Traumatic Brain Injury Case, Opening Statement, Appropriate Use of a Vocational Economic Expert
    • Vocational Economics, Inc., Defining Monetary Damages, Speaker, San Francisco, California, November 12, 1997
    • New York, New York, June 18-19, 1998, Final Arguments in Brain Injury Cases
    • The Brain Injury Association of New York State, Understanding the Medical and Legal Aspects of Traumatic Brain Injury, Speaker
    • 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
    • Handling the Severe TBI Case: Settlement and Trial Perspectives, Direct Examination of Medical and Defense Experts in the Mild to Moderate TBI Case
    • 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
    • Traumatic Brain Injury Seminar, Speaker, Columbus, Ohio, June 3-4, 1999, The Ultimate T.B.I Notebook
    • John Marshall Law School, Legal and Medical Seminar, Paper, Chicago, Illinois, September 9, 1999, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Brain Injury Association of California, Annual Conference, Paper, San Francisco, October 12, 1999, Special Opening Statement Techniques in the M.T.B.I. Case
    • Brain Injury Association of Illinois, Annual Education Conference, Speaker, Lisle, Illinois, October 16, 1999, Pediatric Life Care Planning
    • American Bar Association, Aviation Issues in the New Millennium Conference, Moderator, Washington, D.C. October 19 – 21, 2000
    • Southern Methodist University, Annual Aviation Law Symposium, Speaker, Dallas, Texas, February 22 – 23, 2001, Pre-Impact Terror
    • ATLA Annual Convention 2002, Emerging Issues: Airports and Airplanes, Panel, Atlanta, Georgia, July 21, 2002
    • Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group Program, Defeating the Defenses in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases, Moderator, San Francisco, California
    • ATLA Annual Convention 2003, Aviation Law Section Program, Media Relations & Disaster Assistance in Complex Accidents, Moderator, San Francisco, California, July 21, 2003
    • North American Brain Injury Society, Annual Brain Injury Medical-Legal Conference, Putting It All Together, Speaker, Napa, California
    • Conference on Brain Injury, Brain Injury Association of Utah and The Utah Trial Lawyers Association, Pulling It All Together, Speaker, Salt Lake City, Utah


    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: 312-630-4000

    Fax: 312-630-4011

    Donald J. Nolan:

    Last Updated: 7/16/2019

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