Continuing Legal Education

Wrongful Death, Survival, and Catastrophic Injury Cases

February 24, 2017
8:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
3.75 MCLE hours, including 2.00 approved Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours

ISBA Regional Office
20 S. Clark Street, Suite 900
(map and directions)


Learn how to develop and refute damages and build strong storytelling techniques with this half-day seminar. Plaintiffs’ and defendants’ counsel with all levels of practice experience who attend this seminar will learn:

  • What to look for when deciding whether to accept a new case;
  • How to tell your client’s story in a compelling way;
  • How to weed out the “wrong” jurors;
  • What is the interplay of product liability and wrongful death cases;
  • The impact a video can make in showing quality-of-life injured victims, or loss of in wrongful death cases;
  • Which pitfalls to avoid when probating your case;
  • What is considered “significant” pain, suffering, and disability in catastrophic injuries; and
  • Much more.

Program Coordinator/Moderator:
Martin L. Glink
, Law Office of Martin L. Glink, Arlington Heights


NOTE: Beginning in 2017, your registration includes access to electronic course materials that will be sent to you via email prior to the seminar. Printed course materials may be purchased for a nominal fee via the registration page.



8:45 – 9:15 a.m.  Case Selection and Intake - Plaintiff and Defendant Perspectives*
This segment describes what to look for when deciding whether to accept a new case, how to pinpoint what a good case selection entails, and what to do first once you accept the case.
Catherine L. Garvey, The University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago
Brian Murphy, Hofeld and Schaffner, Chicago

9:15 – 9:45 a.m.  The Art of Storytelling*
Every case has a theme – a story – that will stick with the audience. And it is your job to tell this story in a compelling and convincing way. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from experienced trial attorneys as they explore the art of storytelling, including what information makes a good story, what’s worked for them, and what’s failed.
John W. Gilligan, Stellato & Schwartz, Chicago
Stephen I. Lane, Lane & Lane LLC, Chicago

9:45 – 10:15 a.m.  Jury Selection and Deselection - Plaintiff and Defendant Perspectives
This presentation discusses a number of key issues in jury selection, including: the vital points to discuss with prospective jurors in handling death cases and cases with severe, disabling injuries; which jurors will probably identify with the chosen side; how to weed out the “wrong” jurors; and how to deal with the issues of sympathy, grief, and mental suffering.
Nicole D. Milos, Cremer, Spina, Shaughnessy, Jansen & Siegert, LLC, Chicago
Patrick A. Salvi, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., Chicago

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.  Break (refreshments provided)
Sponsored by the Illinois Bar Foundation

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.  Product Liability and Wrongful Death Cases
Learn how to tie in product liability themes, claims, and defenses in wrongful death, survival, and catastrophic injury cases with this informative session. Which elements are required and which are effective are also discussed.
Timothy J. Cavanagh, Cavanagh Law Group, Chicago
Edward B. Ruff, Pretzel & Stouffer, Chtd., Chicago

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.  “Day in the Life” and Other Convincing and Helpful Videos*
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from a professional videographer on how to make a poignant, powerful video of a client’s typical day as an injured victim and/or how to show loss of society and consortium in a wrongful death case. Additional topics include: how to show an effective family photo montage; what’s effective and what isn’t; and what to avoid when making a convincing video. Actual examples will be shown.
Gera-Lind Kolarik, Evidence Video, Chicago

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Judicial Perspective: What’s Effective in the Courtroom
Join us as a seasoned trial judge shares her thoughts and experienced-based observations of what’s effective to jurors in the courtroom, including what doesn’t work, what could backfire, and which landmines to avoid.
Hon. Clare Elizabeth McWilliams, Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago

12:00 – 12:15 p.m.  Probate Pitfalls and Requirements
This comprehensive overview explores the pitfalls to avoid when probating your case. Topics include: how to handle conflicts and conflicting heirs; knowing who is the “next of kin”; distribution differences between the Wrongful Death Act and Survival Act; understanding which case expenses are allowable and which aren’t; how a structured settlement gets treated in probate court vs. cash settlements; and what to look out for in finalizing your settlement in Probate Court. A discussion on the differences if the beneficiary is a minor versus an adult is also discussed.
Hon. Karen L. O’Malley, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago

12:15 – 12:45 p.m.  Damages: Effective Presentations Portraying Loss and Effective Ways to Refute the Loss*
This segment explores the perspectives of both a plaintiff and defendant regarding damages, including how to effectively portray or refute a loss. Learn how to engage empathy and sympathy without asking for it; how to refute the natural sympathy inherent in wrongful death cases and cases with severe, disabling injuries; and what is considered significant pain, suffering, and disability in catastrophic injuries.
Shawn S. Kasserman, Tomasik, Kotin & Kasserman, LLC, Chicago
Donna Kaner Socol, Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym, Ltd., Chicago