As Swanson, Martin & Bell LLP’s Appellate and Critical Motions Practice Chair, Catherine Basque Weiler is the public face of the firm’s appellate practice with an impressive resume of results before appellate tribunals throughout the country. Catherine’s practice includes regular appearances before state and federal trial and appellate courts. She has briefed more than 150 appeals, resulting in more than 40 precedential appellate opinions. Catherine also has extensive experience with oral arguments, and argues regularly before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Illinois Appellate Court, and circuit courts throughout Illinois.
In addition, Catherine represents clients in state and federal trial courts through all phases of litigation, from case inception through trial, primarily defending malpractice, commercial, product and premises liability claims. Her knowledge of procedure gives her a unique perspective on case strategy, and her colleagues regularly seek her perspective when cases present unique or unexpected challenges. Catherine also works frequently with trial counsel starting at the earliest phases of litigation, developing arguments, preserving issues, and creating an appropriate record, all with an eye toward litigating those issues on appeal. Among her favorite examples of that collaborative process are apparent agency arguments, one of which – a unique issue concerning whether hospital staff privileges could satisfy agency requirements – worked its way to the Illinois Supreme Court, which ultimately agreed with her argument. Other recent examples involve unusual arguments about the scope of the Illinois Medical Studies Act; atypical jury trial- related issues; and emergency orders and proclamations issued during the COVID-19 crisis.
Catherine is enormously grateful for the many mentors who have, over the years, selflessly shared with her their time, experience, and wisdom. Prior to joining the firm, Catherine acted as an assistant Illinois attorney general in the Environmental and Civil Appeals divisions, where she had the privilege of representing state agencies and the people of Illinois. She also considers it a privilege to give back to the legal community. This June she will become an officer of the Appellate Lawyers Association, beginning as treasurer and eventually progressing to president in a few years. She has also held leadership roles in, and been a longtime member of, the Women’s Bar Foundation; she is a member of the Chicago Inn of Court, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association; and she was honored to be named one of Crain’s Chicago Business Notable Gen X Leaders In Law in 2019.
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Catherine is a proud alumna of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, the University of Notre Dame, and Omaha Mercy High School. Her husband, Adam Weiler, is an executive vice president with Spark Foundry; and her favorite job title is mom – to son Henry and daughter Jane.