It hasn't taken Carlos Vera long to make an impact in the Chicago legal scene. Despite his young age, this insurance defense and legal malpractice defense attorney with Johnson & Bell has tried more than 200 bench trials and has taken seven jury trials to verdict.
Those are good numbers for any lawyer. For a lawyer who is only 35? They are especially impressive.
"His record as a trial lawyer would be impressive for a lawyer ready to retire," said Shawn Kasserman with Tomasik Kotin Kasserman. "Yet Carlos is just getting started. His poise, intellect and personality make him almost unbeatable in front of a judge or jury."
Vera earned many of these results when working at the Cook County State's Attorney's office. There, he prosecuted trials involving fatal auto accidents, driving under the influence, and hit-and-run. This public-sector training sharpened Vera's abilities in the courtroom.
As an attorney in private practice, Vera has already achieved notable success. For example, he secured a dismissal with prejudice in a legal malpractice case involving his client's alleged failure to timely appeal an adverse judgment in an underlying federal qui tam action brought under the False Claims Act.
"This is an unusual action and an exceptional result," said Chicago attorney John Norris. "Carlos possesses wit, charm and a youthful professional demeanor that many younger lawyers lack. He is an ultimate gentleman, respectful of judges and litigants."
Vera has earned so much respect from his fellow attorneys that his peers call on him when they need legal representation. Vera, for instance, has been representing Claire McKenzie and the law firm she serves as senior partner, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, for more than a year in a variety of legal matters..
McKenzie said that Vera has provided outstanding representation. Recently, he persuaded the Domestic Relations Division to grant his motion to quash a former client's subpoena for discovery depositions of both McKenzie and her partner and for documents.
McKenzie said that this was an exceptional result as the court had substantial discretion in what it could order. The court's rule was the best possible result, she said.
"Carlos is a great listener and attempts to efficiently and effectively represent us," McKenzie said. "He is very creative and a great advocate, which we have benefitted from many times.
Mark Murnane with O'Connor & Nakos said that Vera is never an easy opponent. This young attorney is too hard-working, knowledgeable and dedicated to his clients.
"Carlos has great civility, but he is a tremendous advocate for his clients," Murnane said. "I know that when he is on the other side of a case that I am in for a battle. However, it's a battle based on mutual respect. He is smart and will identify any weaknesses in the plaintiff's case."
When not representing his clients, Vera finds time to support his profession. He is active in the ISBA where he serves on the Civil Practice & Procedure Section Counsel. He is also a busy member of the Justinian Society, active in CLE and annual social events.