Thomas P. McGarry is a veteran trial lawyer. His civil litigation practice emphasizes the defense of professionals in federal and state courts and disciplinary agencies. For more than 30 years, Mr. McGarry has focused on representing lawyers and lawyers’ professional liability insurers.
During that period he has represented and counseled hundreds of lawyers and law firms in actions for civil liability, in professional ethics and responsibility, and in risk management. He has also counseled professional liability carriers on lawyers’ malpractice insurance coverage and has acted as national claims counsel overseeing defense activities nationwide.
His extensive experience as a trial lawyer combined with his concentration in the law governing the liabilities and responsibilities of lawyers has enabled him to both counsel and protect his lawyer clients in the challenging environment of legal practice.
Mr. McGarry was a drafter of the Illinois attorney malpractice statute of limitations. He is active in organizations focusing on the law governing lawyers and professional liability and responsibility. He is an associate member of the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability and an active sponsor of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society.
Mr. McGarry is the leader of the firm’s Professional Responsibility, Professional Liability and Risk Management Practice Group. He also serves as a member of the firm’s Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee.
Previously, he served as co-chair of the firm’s national Lawyers Professional Liability Practice Group, including its Lawyers for the Profession® practice, and has been a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Mr. McGarry joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in August 1983.
In the Fall of 2005, Mr. McGarry completed intensive training in mediation from the faculty of Pepperdine University School of Law’s top-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. He is a certified mediator in the Cook County Court-Annexed Mediation Program.
Representative Matters : Mr. McGarry has shaped the law governing legal malpractice liability. As lead trial counsel and as appellate counsel, he has formulated and argued creative interpretations of the law governing lawyers, which have resulted in legal precedent limiting the scope of a lawyer’s civil liability. Many of these cases have been of national importance. These include :
- Premier Networks, Inc. v. Stadheim and Grear, Ltd., 395 Ill. App. 3d 629, 918 N.E.2d 1117 (1st Dist. 2009). Mr. McGarry defended patent infringement plaintiff’s counsel in the first Illinois case to apply the Federal Circuit’s Air Measurement and Immunocept Concepts holdings to affirm dismissal of state legal malpractice claims grounded on exclusive federal jurisdiction due to substantial questions of patent law in the underlying case.
- Doe v. Roe, 958 F.2d 763 (7th Cir. 1992). This U.S. Federal Court of Appeals decision considered a situation similar to Suppressed v. Suppressed and it concluded that federal RICO liability could not arise from the malpractice or sexual misconduct of a matrimonial attorney.
- Suppressed v. Suppressed, 206 Ill. App. 3d 918, 565 N.E.2d 101 (1990). This case was the first to establish the rule that a matrimonial lawyer is not liable to his client for engaging in a sexual relationship unless sex was a quid pro quo for the legal services or unless it harmed the representation. This case established a practical limitation to the fiduciary obligations that lawyers owe to clients.
- Renovitch v. Stewardship Concepts, 905 F.2d 1040 (7th Cir.1990). This Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decision limited an issuer’s attorney’s liability to third persons for securities fraud and RICO.
- Roberts v. Heilgiest, 124 Ill. App. 3d 1082, 465 N.E.2d 658 (1984). This was the first Illinois case to discuss the public policy which prohibited an attorney representing a client to be made a third party defendant in the client’s case. This opinion gave the attorney-client relationship precedence over a lawyer’s potential liability.
- In Re Rinella, 175 Ill. 2d 504, 677 N.E.2d 909 (1997). This was the first Illinois case to decide the ethical responsibility of a divorce lawyer to avoid sexual relationships with clients during the course of representation.
- J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1980
- B.A., Marquette University, 1973
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
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