Richard Schroeder doesn’t shy away from what others would consider an unwinnable case. Consider a wrongful death case from earlier in the career of this young personal injury and medical malpractice specialist with the Chicago law firm of Tarpey, Jones & Schroeder, LLC.
Schroeder represented four children whose father tragically had died in a heavily disputed motorcycle collision on a rural road in the middle of the night. An independent accident- reconstruction specialist with the Illinois State Police investigated the collision and concluded that the collision was caused by the negligent driving of the children’s father, with the ISP trooper testifying that the man passed improperly at an intersection and failed to reduce his speed to avoid the fatal collision.
Schroeder, though, continued to work. Through his cross examination, motion practice and argument, Schroeder was able to have the trooper’s reconstruction opinions barred from the proceedings. He eventually obtained an arbitration award on behalf of the family for the full insurance-policy limits. He earned this result even though the defendant insurance company never offered a penny based on the trooper’s unfavorable opinions and the physical evidence found at the scene.
This result is not atypical for Schroeder. “He is very aggressive and does not shy away from a trial or arbitration,” said Peter Flowers, with Chicago law firm Meyers & Flowers. “Unlike so many younger lawyers, Rick actually would prefer trial over settlement.”
There’s a reason why Schroeder so often brings cases to trial: He’s successful in the courtroom. “Rick has an extraordinary amount of talent and ability as a trial lawyer and strategist,” said Patricia Bobb of Patricia C. Bobb & Associates, who has worked with Schroeder on several big medical malpractice cases.
Schroeder, for instance, once earned a settlement of $6 million on the third day of trial in an obstetrical negligence case resulting in a significant brain injury to a child. He earned a settlement of $7.5 million at mediation in a wrongful death trucking case and a $2 million settlement at mediation on behalf of a man who was struck by a truck in a parking lot.
Schroeder also earned a confidential but substantial settlement on the second day of trial in a complex wrongful death case against a cruise ship that arose out of an injury sustained in the Mediterranean Sea.This case was far from simple as it involved issues of maritime law, international law, medical negligence and premises liability.
“Unlike many of his peers his age, not only has Rick tried several cases, he has first-chaired many criminal and civil jury trials,” said Michael Mullen, a judge with the Chancery Division of the Cook County Circuit Court. “As importantly, he practices law the right way. He is civil, compassionate and treats both his clients and peers with the utmost respect. Everyone who comes into contact with Rick has nothing but positive things to say about him both professionally and personally.”
Despite his busy workload, Schroeder also finds time to donate to his profession and is a founding member of the Chicago real estate firm, Midtown Realty Group, LLC. He is active in several bar associations and returns to Chicago-Kent College of Law to help coach and teach the school’s trial-advocacy law students.
Justice David Erickson, director of the Trial Advocacy and Criminal Litigation programs at Chicago-Kent College of Law, was a Cook County judge in the Juvenile Justice Bureau when Schroeder worked for the State’s Attorney’s Office. He was impressed then and remains so today. “Every day I watched as Rick grew as a trial attorney,” Erickson said. “He possessed great trial skills, had a firm grasp of the law and evidence, and was a talented legal writer. More importantly, Rick was very compassionate to the children he fought for and protected.”