Prior to starting Corboy & Demetrio, Philip H. Corboy worked for the City of Chicago drafting legislation and writing legal opinions. After a short time he knew he wanted to try cases, not write about them, so he went to work for James Dooley, a prominent personal injury lawyer in Chicago. After trying his first case, Phil knew that he wanted to devote his life to helping others as a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. Commenting on what inspired him, Phil said:
The gratification of representing injured people in genuine need of advocacy consumed me. Their needs become my needs… my life was ordained. I knew there were people who needed me – not a soulless corporate entity, not a taxing governmental body, not elected officials, not State Street giants, not well-known leaders of industry, politics or government – just brave people in need of me.
After two years of working with Dooley, Phil borrowed $2,500 from a court reporter and opened his own law firm. His devotion, commitment and focus on helping his clients, in addition to his unmatched trial preparation and knowledge of tort law, earned him the designation as one of the most powerful and influential lawyers in America; induction into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame; 3 honorary law degrees; and an abundance of honors and awards.
Among his many accomplishments, Phil is credited with creating the plaintiff’s personal injury bar in Chicago. When he began practicing, personal injury lawyers were not held in high regard. Phil changed all that by focusing on his clients and the art of trying cases. In addition, he became very involved in bar associations where he worked tirelessly on committees and Boards. Among his proudest accomplishments was his election as President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and 12 years later, his election as President of the Chicago Bar Association. He wrote over 107 articles on legal issues and controversies, taught at legal seminars and conferences throughout the world and generously supported many charitable and nonprofit organizations. His legendary mentoring of young lawyers earned the firm the nickname “Corboy College.”
Thomas Demetrio became a name partner in 1982 after working at the firm for 10 years. An exceptional and successful trial lawyer, Tom has been lauded as the “powerhouse of aviation and medical negligence law. In the windy city, he’s the name for everything from medical malpractice claims to aviation disasters.” Tom is “Chicago’s top trial lawyer who stands alone atop the Chicago trial bar for 100 million reasons, including the biggest injury verdict ever upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.” He is a fellow of The American College of Trial Lawyers (the top 1% of U.S. trial lawyers), The International Academy of Trial Lawyers (top 500 trial lawyers worldwide) and The Inner Circle of Advocates (top 100 plaintiff trial lawyers in U.S.). In 2011, he was named the Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year for Illinois by Best Lawyers in America and in 2010, the Jury Verdict Reporter gave Tom two awards for Trial Lawyer Excellence – one for the largest wrongful death settlement ever in Illinois history ($25.2 million) and one for securing five or more verdicts in excess of $5 million over the last 20 years. He has negotiated over $1 billion in settlements and over $130 million in jury verdicts.
Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr., like Tom, is a member of the invitation-only American College of Trial Lawyers, the country’s pre-eminent organization of trial lawyers that limits its membership to the top 1% of all trial lawyers. He is also profiled in the invitation-only, peer-reviewed book, The Best Lawyers in America, and is a Fellow in the Society of Trial Lawyers. A staunch and active supporter of the American system of justice, Philip made preserving the right of every citizen to have access to a court of law his top priority while serving as President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He wrote articles, appeared in the media and lobbied legislators on the need for insurance reform, not tort reform. In a letter published in the Wall Street Journal, Philip wrote:
“The Illinois Constitution was put in place to ensure individual rights and freedoms to all Illinoisans, rich and poor, black and white, young and old. While corporations and profit-hungry executives often stack the decks against individuals in the marketplace and the halls of government, the courtrooms of our state can still provide all parties with a level playing field.”
Philip was honored recently by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin when Durbin re-appointed him to his Federal Judicial Recommendation Committee which will screen candidates for vacancies on the United States District Court and other federal court positions. He is a member of the Equal Justice Illinois Campaign Blue-Ribbon Committee where he works to increase state funding of civil legal aid so all Illinois citizens, regardless of income, have access to the justice system, and is a past President of the Board of Directors of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Illinois’ largest legal aid program for low income people.
In 1991, three attorneys were added to the partnership. They include Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr.,; Robert J. Bingle, a trial lawyer who had been an executive at Hilton Hotels; and Francis Patrick Murphy, who had worked for A.B. Dick Company and had previously practiced as a Cook County Public Defender.
Eight other attorneys at Corboy & Demetrio have earned the honor of becoming a partner at the firm. Michael K. Demetrio, Susan J. Schwartz, Shawn S. Kasserman, Daniel M. Kotin, Barry R. Chafetz, David R. “Chip” Barry, Jr., René A. Torrado, Jr., and Daniel S. Kirschner are all exceptional and successful personal injury trial lawyers who share the firm’s mission to provide the highest quality legal services for its clients.
Over the years, Corboy & Demetrio has become a trusted resource for television, print and internet media on issues involving personal injury law, civil litigation and associated legal issues and have been frequently called upon to comment on compelling legal issues. Our attorneys have appeared nationally on 60 Minutes, Face the Nation, Nightline, and Oprah Winfrey, Today Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC and on every local television network in the Chicagoland area, including numerous radio news and talk programs. They have also been quoted in Time Magazine, Lawyer’s Weekly, U.S.A., Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Magazine, New York Times, The ABA Journal, Inside Litigation, Wall Street Journal and many others print publications. Attorney Dan Kotin has been a featured online author for Pioneer Press and Tom Demetrio was a featured guest on the Bulletproof Blog. In addition, our attorneys have been profiled in the media in over 70 articles.