around the bar
July 18, 2012

Chicago Lawyer Kathleen Zellner Will Receive Pursuit of Justice Award

Kathleen Zellner

Kathleen Zellner

The _ Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section is honoring lawyer Kathleen Zellner of Chicago with its Pursuit of Justice Award, which recognizes lawyers and judges who have shown outstanding merit and who excel in providing access to justice for all.

“The TIPS Plaintiffs Policy Task Force was very pleased to nominate Kathleen Zellner for the Pursuit of Justice Award,” said Task Force Chair James A. Wells of Philadelphia. “Over the course of her career, she has obtained significant monetary awards on behalf of her clients, which is a testament to her skill and hard work as a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. Her dedication to ensuring justice is perhaps best demonstrated by her tireless efforts on behalf of clients wrongfully accused and convicted of crimes. Ms. Zellner greatly deserves this recognition as a recipient of the Pursuit of Justice Award.”

The award will be presented to Zellner during the TIPS Welcome, Diversity and Pursuit of Justice Award Reception on Friday, Aug. 3, at the ABA Annual Meeting. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel.

Zellner is a partner at Kathleen T. Zellner, PC, and has devoted the last 21 years to obtaining the release of wrongfully convicted prisoners and bringing civil rights cases on their behalf. She has an AV-Pre-eminent rating, recognizing the highest legal and ethical standards.

She has won numerous awards, including the 2011 Trial Excellence Award for her verdict of $15.5 million on behalf of Kevin Fox; National Law Journal selection as one of the top 10 U.S. litigators in 2000; Lawdragon selection as one of the top 500 plaintiffs’ lawyers in the United States; National Law Journal selection as one of the top 50 female litigators in the nation; American Trial Lawyers Association top 100 trial lawyers; Chicago Tribune “The Year in Women” 2001; Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Pre-eminent Women Lawyers, 2005-12; American Lawyer Media’s 10 Most Influential Female Lawyers in Illinois; National Law Journal Pro Bono Attorney; Leading Lawyers’ top 10 female consumer lawyers, 2007-12; Leading Lawyers’ top 10 female lawyer in all areas of law in Illinois, 2007-12; and AV Pre-eminent lawyer, 1995-2012.

Zellner has many legal successes in well-known cases, including the Fox civil rights suit; the Larry Eyler case, in which she obtained 21 confessions from Eyler that allowed law enforcement to close 21 murder cases in three states (a movie is being made by a major Hollywood producer on Zellner’s work in this case); and the Joseph Burrows case, in which Burrows’ release was obtained after six and a half years on death row and within months of his execution.

Zellner’s cases have been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, ABA Journal, Legal Times, Chicago Reader, Boston Herald, Orlando Sentinel and many other publications. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, the Today Show, 60 Minutes, A&E, 20/20, Dateline and Day One, and has been interviewed by German and Brazilian television programs.

Additionally, Zellner has given speeches to law schools, businesses, civil organizations, hospitals, high schools and writers’ groups. She has been a presenter for the Illinois State Bar Association as well as the DuPage County Bar Association.

The ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section unites plaintiff, defense, insurance and corporate counsel to advance the civil justice system. TIPS is a national source of expertise in tort, trial and insurance practice and brings lawyers together to share information and speak out on issues of importance. The section has about 25,000 members and over 30 general committees that focus on substantive and procedural matters in areas across the broad spectrum of civil law and practice. For more information about the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, visit the TIPS website, www.americanbar.org/tips.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

Editors Note: Reporters are welcome to attend the award presentation at the 2012 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.