Jill Felkins is an accomplished civil defense litigator known for her successful track record defending clients in areas such as toxic tort, transportation, class action and premises liability cases in Illinois, Indiana and beyond. But she also exhibits a degree of versatility and passion for the law that allows her to take on new and unexpected challenges.
Just ask John Leovy, who first met Felkins in 2010 when he was a senior counsel and supervisor of the City of Chicago Law Department’s Torts Division. He took over the defense of a high-profile case involving the death of a 4-year-old girl in a hit-and-run accident in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Felkins, an attorney with Chicago’s Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, was one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, the girl’s parents and brother.
The case presented complex legal and factual problems for both sides, Leovy said. At first glance, it seemed that Leovy’s client, the City of Chicago, had little to do with causing the accident. But Felkins was tireless in advancing her clients’ case in discovery and in opposing Leovy’s attempts to dismiss the case or limit the evidence.
In the end? Felkins and the rest of the legal team representing the plaintiffs developed a persuasive theory of liability that led to a seven-figure settlement for their clients.
“That never would have happened if they had not been smart enough to put Jill Felkins on the case,” said Leovy, who now works with the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland.
Since that case, Felkins’ career has continued to blossom. She was recently promoted to equity partner at Segal McCambridge, and now represents a co-defendant of the City of Chicago in premises liability cases connected to Maggie Daley Park.
Felkins’ long string of successes, though, started early in her career. She secured the first of three published opinions, for instance, in only her second year of practice. And while Felkins is based in Illinois, her successes have spanned the Midwest, including significant appellate victories in Indiana.
Outside of the courtroom, Felkins gives back to her profession by serving on Segal McCambridge’s Strategic Planning and Diversity & Inclusion Committees. She also runs the firm’s IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law externship program, giving local law students exposure to a law firm setting prior to graduation.
Felkins’ peers also tout her volunteer work beyond the legal field.
“While many litigators who are so immersed, and successful, in their careers lose sight of life outside of the law, Jill extends herself beyond the legal community,” said Catherine Goldhaber, partner-in-charge, Chicago, with Hawkins Parnell.
Felkins, for instance, is an active volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association. She co-captains the Segal McCambridge team for the annual Chicago Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which has raised over $20,000 the past two years. She is also a Steering Committee Member of Illinois Women Conquer Alz and serves as co-chair of the communications committee for that group.
Brian Eldridge, with Chicago’s Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge, said that Felkins possesses all the traits necessary to be an outstanding attorney. He credited Felkins as the best writer with whom he has worked. He also pointed to the preparation that Felkins puts into every case and her knowledge of the law.
Her courtroom skills are stellar, Eldridge added. And her commitment to her clients? Unparalleled.
“Jill is fearless but balanced,” Eldridge said. “She is at all times extremely poised and professional. And while she is a fierce advocate, she maintains positive relationships with her opponents. Jill is passionate, not only about winning, but about winning the right way. She is a lawyer with tremendous ethics, strong principles, boundless energy and a drive to succeed.”