CHRISTOPHER T. HURLEY, founding partner of the Chicago firm Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., will be installed as the 63rd president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) on Friday, June 10, 2016, at its annual convention at the Westin Hotel in Chicago.
Hurley, 56, received his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1981 and his law degree from Loyola University of Chicago in 1984. He began his legal career at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, one of the world’s largest law firms. In 1992, Hurley founded his own firm, initially known at Christopher T. Hurley & Associates, because of his desire to use the trial skills and experience he obtained working with the most respected trial lawyers throughout the country to help wrongfully injured individuals and their families.
Since 1985, Hurley has been an active member of ITLA and has served on ITLA’s Board of Managers since 1996. In addition, he is member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and the Society of Trial Lawyers. His leadership experience includes serving on the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and as President of Loyola University of Chicago School of Law’s Alumni Board of Governors.
In his career, Hurley’s notable successes include obtaining recognition for the cause of action of negligent credentialing against hospitals in the case of Frigo v. Silver Cross Hospital, and proving that hypoxia just prior to delivery due to obstetrical negligence was the cause of a child’s permanent brain injury even when none of ACOG’s alleged “criteria” were met in the case of Hill v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Hurley’s advocacy over a ten-year period—including argument before the Illinois Supreme Court–for the family of a child with a devastating genetic defect led to recognition of emotional distress damages for parents in wrongful birth cases in Clark v. Children’s Memorial Hospital.
In 2013, Hurley obtained a verdict against a Chicago-area hospital whose emergency physicians were inadequately trained in proper intubation techniques, leading to the death of a 49 year-old woman suffering from an asthma attack. Because the woman’s death was highly preventable, and to prevent further tragedies involving emergency patients with breathing difficulties, Hurley recently funded an innovative two-day course at Evanston Northshore Hospital for emergency physicians designed to train these physicians to better manage airway emergencies. Hurley also funds Scholarships for deserving students at both Colgate University and Loyola School of Law.
“America is the greatest democracy the world has ever known because, unlike any other country, we have a constitutional right to trial by jury,” said Hurley. “This is our ultimate protection against authoritarian government and corporate greed. ITLA defends this fundamental right from those that would profit from its elimination. For that reason I am very proud to serve as the next ITLA president and I promise to continue the fight for a fair and accessible civil justice system.”
Hurley and his wife Becky live in Winnetka, Illinois and have three children, Matt, Dan and Katie.