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Kevin P. Durkin

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Aviation & Aerospace Attorney in Chicago, IL

Clifford Law Offices PC
120 North LaSalle Street, 36th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: 312-899-9090
Fax: 312-251-1160
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2023
Licensed in Illinois Since: 1980
Practice Areas: Aviation and Aerospace, Transportation/Maritime, Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff, Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff
Attorney Profile

Kevin Durkin is a partner at Clifford Law Offices. Over a career that spans more than 35 years, Mr. Durkin has successfully represented clients in many practice areas, including:

  • Aviation accident litigation and transportation liability
  • Truck, railroad and automobile litigation
  • Premises liability and negligent security
  • Medical malpractice

Mr. Durkin has been named a top-tier attorney by U.S. News-Best Lawyers® in the areas of personal injury litigation, aviation law and product liability since 2011. He was named 2021 Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in the Chicago area for Aviation Law, and “Lawyer of the Year” for several years in the area of Plaintiffs’ Product Liability Litigation and in 2018 for Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury Litigation. These accolades are based on peer reviews and his legal ability, professionalism and integrity. He has also been named an Illinois Super Lawyer and a Leading Lawyer since 2003, its inception in the state.

Mr. Durkin has received multi-million dollar settlements or verdicts in well over one hundred cases. Some of these verdicts have been among the largest verdicts recorded in Illinois. The most recent of these was a $22.75 million wrongful death verdict in 2016 for a young woman who lost her 31-year-old husband in a vehicular crash on I-294. This is the largest wrongful death verdict in Cook County in the last ten years.

With his experience and success as an aviation accident attorney, Mr. Durkin served for four years as the Co-Chair of the Aviation Committee for the 75,000-member American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation. In that position, he chaired an annual program that brings together the best and the brightest to discuss cutting-edge issues in aviation litigation. He often still serves as a speaker for that annual program. Mr. Durkin served for two years as Co-Chair of the Mass Torts Litigation Committee and has served as Vice-Chair of the Aviation and Space Law Committee of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association.

In addition to his work with commercial aviation litigation, Mr. Durkin has also represented victims of many small plane crashes. For example, he handled the case involving the crash of Bob Collins, WGN radio’s most popular disc jockey, who was killed when a small plane crashed into him as he was landing in the Chicago area. In 2007, the judge in that case entered an award for the maximum coverage by the insurance, nearly $1 million. Mr. Durkin also received a $4.1 million settlement in October 2001 on behalf of a photographer killed in a helicopter crash in northwest suburban Chicago.

After he graduated from DePaul University College of Law, Mr. Durkin served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago for eight years from 1980 to 1988. Since then, he has focused on civil litigation at Clifford Law Offices.

Practice Areas
  • 40%Aviation and Aerospace
  • 30%Transportation/Maritime
  • 20%Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
  • 10%Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff
Focus Areas

Aviation Accidents - Plaintiff, Transportation Law, Trucking Accidents, Medical Malpractice

Selections

19 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2023

Articles about Kevin P. Durkin appearing in Super Lawyers

About Kevin P. Durkin

First Admitted: 1980, Illinois

Professional Webpage: https://www.cliffordlaw.com/attorneys/kevin-p-durkin/

Educational Background

  • DePaul University College of Law, 1980
  • University of Illinois B.S., Bachelor of Science, Major: Accountancy, 1977, 1977

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy Certified Instructor, 1989, 1989

Verdicts/Settlements

  • Kevin Durkin, along with associate Tracy Brammeier, obtained a $9.6 million settlement on behalf of a 73-year-old musician who was practicing with his ensemble on the stage of a public university when a large screen above him fell, striking him and causing permanent injuries. , 2020
  • Kevin Durkin, along with founder and senior partner Bob Clifford and associate Tracy Brammeier, obtained a $35 million settlement on behalf of a 24-year-old woman who was severely injured after a truck struck her and dragged her 60 feet at a Chicago street corner. , 2018
  • Kevin Durkin obtained a $22.7 million settlement on behalf of a 31-year-old man who was killed when a speeding driver, with drugs in his system, rear-ended him in a construction zone., 2016
  • Kevin Durkin, along with founder and senior partner Bob Clifford, obtained an $18.5 million settlement. Clifford Law Offices represented two plaintiffs who were injured during an explosion in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Both were burned while separating train cars that had derailed two days prior to the incident. , 2016
  • Kevin Durkin, along with senior partner and founder Bob Clifford, obtained a record $16 million verdict on behalf of two families whose sons were killed in a grain bin entrapment incident in northwestern Illinois. The two teenagers suffocated in what became a sinkhole of grain. , 2014
  • In February 2013, he obtained a $16 million jury verdict in Carroll County on behalf of the families of a fourteen-year-old and nineteen-year-old who were killed when entrapped in a grain bin, a record wrongful death verdict for a minor in Illinois outside of Cook County. The highest recorded verdict in that county previously was under $250,000, 2013
  • In May 2012, he was part of the trial team that obtained a $112 million verdict for two men who were injured in a grain bin explosion at a ConAgra mill in southern Illinois, 2012
  • Mr. Durkin represented several families in the February 12, 2009, tragedy involving the crash of a Colgan Air commuter aircraft near Buffalo, New York, 2009, 2009
  • Mr. Durkin represented several families in the August 27, 2006, tragedy involving a Comair plane in Lexington, Kentucky, 2006
  • Mr. Durkin represented the family of a six-year-old boy who was killed when a Southwest jetliner crashed into his family's car after skidding off the runway at Midway Airport in December 2005, 2005
  • Mr. Durkin tried the case of a mother and her two children who were involved in a devastating truck-car collision on Interstate 90 near Rockford in 1999. After a month-long trial in the Cook County Circuit Court, Mr. Durkin received a $38.3 million verdict on behalf of the family in March 2004. The verdict was the largest in the country in 2004 involving a motor vehicle crash and was featured as one of the Top 100 Verdicts in the National Law Review Journal, 2004-2005, 2004
  • In 2003, Mr. Durkin was instrumental in settling a series of lawsuits stemming from the crash of Alaska Airlines 261. This crash killed 88 people when it plunged into the Pacific Ocean in January 2000. Served as Co-Chair of the Plaintiff's Executive Committee for the litigation, he helped to recover more than $40 million in settlements on behalf of seven families following three years of depositions, 2003
  • Mr. Durkin also tried a tragic automobile accident case in South Dakota on behalf of a man who suffered permanent brain damage. The case resulted in that state's largest personal injury verdict, $7.5 million, 1998, 1998
  • Mr. Durkin served as Lead Plaintiff's Co-Counsel in federal court where a $110 million settlement was negotiated for a number of families in the American Airlines Flight crash in Roselawn, Indiana, 1994, 1994
  • Mr. Durkin represented several men who were severely burned in a power plant explosion in Hammond, Indiana, recovering multi-million dollar settlements on behalf of the injured workers. 
  • Mr. Durkin was co-lead counsel in the Amtrak crash that occurred in Bourbonnais, Illinois, killing 11 people and injuring hundreds more. 
  • Mr. Durkin led the plaintiffs in the litigation involving the tragic high-rise fire in the Cook County Administration Building that killed six people and injured sixteen others. This resulted in a $100 million settlement. 
  • Mr. Durkin obtained a $9 million verdict on behalf of a man who lost an arm and his spleen in a rail tragedy following a three-week trial in federal court in central Illinois. 
  • Mr. Durkin handled the highly publicized $10 million settlement on behalf of a suburban police officer who was struck by a speeding hearse that ran a red light while the officer was on routine patrol. It made headlines because of the so-called "black box" that was discovered in the hearse that recorded the speed and contradicted the driver's story to police. 
  • Mr. Durkin served as co-counsel in a highly publicized case of an internationally acclaimed violinist who was severely injured when a Chicago commuter train dragged her for more than 300 feet. After taking dozens of depositions and a pain-staking investigation for more than four years, the month-long trial resulted in a $35 million verdict. 
  • Mr. Durkin obtained a $14.2 million verdict on behalf of a Boy Scout who was permanently brain damaged following a car accident
  • Following a two-week trial, he and Bob Clifford obtained a $24 million verdict on behalf of a small boy hit by a speeding CTA bus in a school zone.

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • In 2010-Present, Mr. Durkin also was inducted as a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, 2021
  • In 2009-Present, Mr. Durkin was elected a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers as well as being named to the Irish Legal 100, an honor that recognizes the top lawyers of Irish descent throughout the country, 2021
  • Kevin Durkin was named to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Executive Committee. , 2016
  • In 2007, Mr. Durkin was bestowed the "Outstanding Contributions to the Legal Profession Award" by the International Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity (PAD) for his tireless work in promoting the legal profession in Chicago and in recognition for his public service to the people of Illinois, 2007

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Aviation Law Institute, Advisory Board, DePaul University College of Law, 2014-Present, 2021
  • Kevin Durkin has been named to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Executive Committee. Mr. Durkin has been active a number of years with the Memorial Foundation that gives back to the community in many ways, including helping families of fallen and injured Chicago police officers., 2016
  • Kevin Durkin sponsored a team in the 5K race that is a major fundraiser for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation that helps families of fallen and injured police officers. , 2014
  • Kevin Durkin was a sponsor of the Chicago Police Memorial's 9th Annual Run/Walk to Remember., 2013
  • President of the DePaul University College of Law Center for Public Interest Advisory Board 2008 – 2010, 2010
  • Chicago Bar Foundation, Board of Directors (2000 – 2008), 2008
  • Center for Conflict Resolution, Board of Directors (2001 – 2005), 2005
  • Mr. Durkin gives back to the community in many ways including serving on the Board of Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which helps families of fallen and injured Chicago police officers. 

Honors/Awards

  • Kevin Durkin was named 2022 Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in the Chicago Area for Product Liability Litigation. , Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2022
  • Selected to Illinois Super Lawyers list, 2005 – Present, Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers, 2022
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2011-Present, Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in America, 2022
  • Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin Media, 2018 – Present, Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin Media, 2022
  • Kevin Durkin was named to the Top 100: 2021 Illinois Super Lawyers list by Super Lawyers. , Top 100, Super Lawyers, 2021
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers, Aviation Law, Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2021
  • Kevin Durkin and Keith Hebeisen were named to the Top 100: 2020 Illinois Super Lawyers List, Top 100, Super Lawyers, 2020
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers, Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs, Chicago, 2018, 2020, Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2020
  • Kevin Durkin and Keith Hebeisen were named Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in the Chicago area. Kevin was recognized for his work in Product Liability Litigation. , Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence, 2019, Martindale-Hubbell, 2019
  • , Justice John Paul Stevens Award, Chicago Bar Association/Chicago Bar Foundation, 2018
  • Kevin Durkin was been named to the 2017 list of Irish Legal 100, a group of "the most distinguished legal professionals in the United Stated who share one common bond: pride in their Irish roots.", Irish Legal 100, Irish Legal 100, 2017
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers, Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs, Chicago, 2017, Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2017
  • Trial Lawyer Excellence Award, presented by the Jury Verdict Reporter, 2015, Trial Lawyer Excellence Award, Jury Verdict Reporter, 2015
  • Kevin Durkin was appointed to the Executive Committee of the ITLA., Executive Committee, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, 2013
  • Trial Excellence Award by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2012, Trial Excellence Award, Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2012
  • Named, "Top Tier Attorney in Personal Injury Litigation, Aviation Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation" by U.S. News-Best Lawyers since 2011, Top Tier Attorney in Personal Injury Litigation, Aviation Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation, U.S. News Best-Lawyers, 2011

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Kevin Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices, spoke at the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Damages Seminar. Durkin, who has obtained numerous record verdicts and settlements in his 40 years of practice, spoke on "Economic Damages"., Speaker, "Economic Damages", Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, 2022
  • The SMU Air Law Symposium is the oldest and largest annual aviation law symposium in the world. Recently, there have been numerous events that have changed the aviation landscape that will be discussed at the Symposium. More than 500 aviation lawyers and industry representatives attend the event., Speaker, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Air Law Symposium, 2021
  • Kevin P. Durkin spoke on the topic of the Boeing 737 MAX Litigation at the 54th Annual SMU Air Law Symposium, on April 1, 2020. , Speaker, Boeing 737 MAX Litigation, Annual SMU Air Law Symposium, 2020
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, "The Value of Focus Groups," March 28, 2015, Speaker, The Value of Focus Groups, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, 2015
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, “Ethics of Client Communications,” May 2, 2014., Speaker, "Ethics of Client Communications", Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, 2014
  • Kevin P. Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices, co-authored an article entitled “Building Your Case for the Jury” for the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. , Co-Author, "Building Your Case for the Jury", American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, 2014
  • American Bar Association, "Improper Statements and Conduct in Opening and Closing Arguments," April 25, 2013, Speaker, "Improper Statements and Conduct in Opening and Closing Arguments", American Bar Association, 2013
  • American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, "Disaster in the Alps? Fight Over Forum," June 3, 2010, Speaker, "Disaster in the Alps? Fight Over Forum", American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, 2010
  • American Bar Association, Annual Meeting, "Objections," July 30, 2009, Speaker, "Objections", American Bar Association, 2009
  • Law Bulletin Publishing Company, "Litigation Skills III Conference," April 23, 2009, Speaker, "Litigation Skills III Conference", Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2009
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, "Transportation Torts, Planes," February 16, 2009, Speaker, "Transportation Torts, Planes", Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, 2009
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Update and Review Seminar, "Fault Allocation Under Section 2-1117/Excluding Settling Defendants From Verdict Form," October 13, 2008, Speaker, "Fault Allocation Under Section 2- 1117/Excluding Settling Defendants from Verdict Form", Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, 2008
  • Adjunct Faculty, DePaul College of Law, Taught trial advocacy course and complex litigation course, 1988 – 1994, Adjunct Faculty, Trial Advocacy Course and Complex Litigation Course, DePaul College of Law, 1994

Bar/Professional Activity

  • American Bar Association (ABA), Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (1992-Present); Aviation and Space Law Committee, Vice Chair (2005-Present); Commercial Transportation Litigation; Products Liability and Consumer Law, 2022
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow (2010-Present), 2022
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow (2009-Present), 2022
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Section of Litigation (1992-Present); Product Liability Litigation Committee; Aviation Litigation Committee, Co-Chair (2000-2004); Mass Torts Litigation Committee, Co-Chair (2004-2006); Litigation Institute Training Task Force (2006-2009), 2022
  • Aviation Law Institute, DePaul University College of Law (2014-Present), 2022
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA): Legislative Committee (1993-Present); Board of Advocates (1993-2001); Board of Managers (2001-Present), 2022
  • American Association for Justice (AAJ): Aviation Law Section (1996-Present); Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway and Premises Liability Section (1999-Present); Products Liability Section (1999-Present); Railroad Law Section (1999-Present); Federal Tort Liability and Military Advocacy Section (1999-Present); Aviation Legislation Task Force (2008-Present), 2022
  • Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA): Tort Law Committee (1989-Present); Civil Practice & Procedure Committee (1989-Present), 2022
  • Kevin Durkin was appointed to Public Justice's Class Action Preservation Project (CAPP) committee., 2018
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Judicial Intern Opportunity Program, Regional Chair (2011-2014), 2014
  • Kevin Durkin was appointed to the Executive Committee of the ITLA., 2013
  • DePaul University College of Law Center for Public Interest Advisory Board (2008-2010), 2010
  • Chicago Bar Foundation: Board of Directors (2000-2008), 2008
  • Chicago Bar Association (CBA): Board of Managers (1998-2000); Chairman, Appellate Review Committee (2001); Treasurer (2002-2004); Second Vice President (2004-2005); First Vice President (2005-2006); President (2006-2007), 2007
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of New York, 2006, 2006
  • Center for Conflict Resolution: Board of Directors (2001-2005), 2005
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, 2000, 2000
  • Chicago Bar Association, Judicial Evaluation Committee: Investigation Division Member (1989-1991); Hearing Division Member (1991-1993); Vice Chairman of Investigation Division (1993-1994); Vice Chairman of Hearing Division (1994-1995); Chairman of Hearing Division (1995-1997); General Chairman (1997-1998), 1998
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1995, 1995
  • U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois, 1993, 1993
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1980, 1980
  • Illinois, 1980, 1980
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA), 1980
  • Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), 1980
  • Chicago Bar Association (CBA), 1980
  • American Bar Association (ABA), 1980
  • Co-Chair of the Aviation Committee for the 75,000-member American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation
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Office Location for Kevin P. Durkin

120 North LaSalle Street
36th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-899-9090

Fax: 312-251-1160

Last Updated: 8/10/2022

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