Samantha N. LaFata
Smith Blake Hill LLC
Medical-malpractice defense
40 Under Class – 2018

Samantha LaFata is a partner and one of the founding members of the Chicago law firm of Smith Blake Hill LLC. That’s already an impressive accomplishment. But those who have worked against and alongside LaFata say that it’s not a surprising one for this young attorney: She has already earned a reputation as one of the most talented medical malpractice defense attorneys in Chicago.

Lawyers and Judges have taken notice.

A Judge in Cook County who nominated LaFata is far from shocked by LaFata’s rapid ascension to her role at Smith Blake Hill.

“I was impressed with her diligence, confidence, and superior trial skills,” this judge said. “I’ve come to know more about Samantha, and it is clear she showed the promise of being an outstanding trial lawyer long before her appearance in my courtroom. She exhibits a steadiness, authority and capability beyond her years in practice.”

LaFata has been lead counsel on or has participated in the defense of 16 medical malpractice trials during her career, several of which have had multi-million-dollar exposure.

Opposing counsel have taken notice of LaFata. A prominent plaintiff’s lawyer has opposed LaFata on numerous cases during the past 10 years. She has nothing but praise for LaFata’s work.

“She is extremely knowledgeable in the law and does a stellar job in representing her clients,” the lawyer said. “Most significantly, she always demonstrates the highest level of professionalism in all of her encounters with witnesses and opposing counsel.”

Another nominator pointed to LaFata’s commitment to her clients. LaFata is a passionate defender of her clients’ rights, this nominator said.

“In my work with Sam I have found her honest, forthright, responsive, committed and collaborative, everything that one looks for in an attorney,” the nominator said. “She has a strong work ethic and does whatever it takes to get the job done. In short, it is truly a pleasure to work with her.”

Not only is LaFata a leader in the courtroom, she takes time to educate her peers. At her current and past firms, she has hosted house seminars on medical and legal issues. In addition, she has embraced being a mentor to younger lawyers everywhere she has practiced.

And even with her busy practice, LaFata finds time to give back to the community. She is a frequent speaker at hospitals in the Chicagoland area and other professional organizations on medical legal issues. She has coached Loyola University Law School’s Phil Corboy Trial Team. In addition, she volunteered with PAWS and fosters dogs through the organization.