Kevin G. Burke, a founding member of Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, has come out of retirement to join the Oak Park firm, Coplan & Crane Ltd., as of counsel.
“When I made the decision to retire, I was absolutely confident it was the right decision. In short, I was wrong,” Burke said of his choice to return to private practice just over a year after retiring.
“I realized over the course of the last year that I was too young, had too much energy and I also felt that I had something to offer that would be of value to clients if I returned to practice,” he said.
Burke, 63, retired as a partner at Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny on Dec. 31, 2016. He decided against returning to the firm he founded, though.
“I really felt like they moved on and it was time for me to move on,” Burke said.
His old firm has since dropped Burke’s name, becoming Wise Morrissey & Kaveny.
He said he wanted to try a new challenge, and work with lawyers who are relatively new to the profession.
“It’s exciting to be around people like that. They do have a great deal of energy and they do want to build up a reputable, quality practice,” he said.
Benjamin A. Crane, co-founder of Coplan & Crane, said in a statement that the firm is very fortunate to have Burke join their team.
“His insight, experience and legal knowledge will be tremendous assets to our law firm,” Crane said in the statement.
Burke said teaching a course at the Notre Dame Law School during the fall of 2017 contributed to his decision to return.
“The students’ attitudes, their thirst for information and knowledge, their excitement about practicing law — kind of re-energized everything I thought about it as well,” Burke said. “By the end of the semester, I was very comfortable with the decision to go back.”
After graduating from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1979, Burke began his career as a law clerk to the late Francis Lorenz, who served as a Illinois Appellate Court judge.
He then became an associate at Peterson, Ross, Schloerb & Seidel, where he represented insurers, and moved to Cassiday, Schade & Gloor in 1982, defending doctors and hospitals in medical-malpractice cases and companies in product-liability claims. He was made a partner in the firm in 1987.
He joined Corboy & Demetrio in 1990, and became a partner six years later, with his practice concentrating primarily on medical-malpractice cases. He co-founded Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny in 2002 and remained there until his brief retirement.
Burke said he will continue representing plaintiffs in a wide scope of personal injury and medical malpractice cases at Coplan & Crane, as well as taking on other complex cases that involve, for example, insurance bad faith, toxic tort exposure and product liability.
“It’s a little broader than what it was before but that’s also the challenge of something new,” he said. “I look at it as a wonderful opportunity for both the firm and myself.
“I do feel that being part of something that is being built is important for me. It’s an important challenge. It’s an important opportunity and I hope to take advantage of it.”