Robert A. Clifford, Founder and Senior Partner, Clifford Law Offices
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Moderator
Robert A. Clifford is the founder of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, an internationally-recognized trial firm that concentrates in aviation, transportation, personal injury, medical negligence, product liability law, mass torts and class actions. The firm also has developed a reputation in class action litigation and whistleblower cases as well as commercial litigation cases.
Clifford has received many accolades in his 40-year career as a lawyer. He has been named in the Top 10 Super Lawyers list every year since its inception in 2005. In 2019, the Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Association honored Mr. Clifford with the Leonard Ring Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also among those honored in 2019 by Public Justice’s prestigious Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. He also was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by America’s Top 100 Lawyers in 2017 and that same year, also received the Unity Award by Diversity Scholarship Foundation, the Justice John Paul Stevens Award by the Chicago Bar Association and the L. Sanford Blustin Award by the North Suburban Bar Association. For five consecutive years, Bob was named in Who’s Who in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business. The National Trial Lawyers named Bob Clifford the Class Action Trial Lawyer of 2018. He was named by Best Lawyers/U.S. News & World Report as the Lawyer of the Year in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions in 2015 and again in 2019 in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Clifford was named by Chicago Magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful Chicagoans and was named the 2012 Chicago Lawyer Person of the Year by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company, based upon his trial accomplishments and his contributions to the legal community and to the Chicago area. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals gave him its Professionalism Award in 2014. The National Law Journal named Clifford Law Offices one of the Top 10 Litigation Boutiques in the country for 2012 and awarded Mr. Clifford the Elite Trial Lawyers’ Award in 2014.
Mr. Clifford has represented those injured or killed in every major commercial airline crash in the U.S. in the last three decades. This includes the American Airlines crash at O’Hare in 1979; the United Airlines DC-10 crash in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1989; the Comair runway crash in Lexington, Kentucky of 2006; the Continental Colgan crash of 2009; and, internationally, the Turkish Airlines crash in Amsterdam of 2009 as well as the tragic Boeing crash of a 737 MAX-8 in Ethiopia in 2019. Mr. Clifford served as the liaison counsel for the subrogation and business property damage claims that resulted from our nation’s tragedy on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York. He served as lead counsel in the negotiation and settlement of those claims that settled for $1.2 billion. In a 2018 case involving a client who suffered permanent injuries after being dragged by a semi, the jury returned a record $35 million verdict for the young woman he represented. In 2019, Clifford was named Lead Counsel in the U.S. federal district court litigation involving the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302’s Boeing 737 Max8 jet on March 10th, in Ethiopia.
Bob regularly handles complex damage cases and routinely receives multi-million dollar verdicts and for Rachel Barton, an internationally acclaimed violinist who was severely injured by a Metra train. In 2014, Bob was the lead negotiator in the $1.2 billion settlement of numerous 9/11 property damage claims following the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. In March 2015, Bob Clifford was lead counsel in a trial against Yellow Cab that resulted in a $25.9 million verdict on behalf of a lawyer who was severely injured in the back seat when the taxi crashed into a concrete barrier.
Clifford was appointed to serve as co-lead counsel in a case for which a team of attorneys secured a $250 million settlement against State Farm Insurance company. Bob also serves as co-lead counsel in a data breach case filed in state court against Advocate Medical Group, Illinois’ largest healthcare system, involving more than four million patients and reportedly is the largest healthcare data breach in the nation’s history. In addition, Bob served as co-lead counsel in a class action filed against Pella Windows Corporation, a nationwide window manufacturer. U.S. District Court Judge James B. Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois appointed Clifford “as class counsel for his demonstrated skills in the field.” Presently, Bob works with a team of attorneys in representing numerous hospitals across the country in a fight against the manufacturers and distributors of opioid drugs.
In addition to practicing law, Mr. Clifford is dedicated to the furtherance of the legal profession and has been actively involved in and held leadership roles with the American Bar Association (Chair of the Section of Litigation and Chair of the ABA’s charitable arm, the Fund for Justice and Education), Chicago Bar Association (President), Chicago Inn of Court (President), American College of Trial Lawyers and Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (President). He is also a member of the American Law Institute, the Inner Circle of Advocates and serves on the Board of Directors for the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. For more than 25 years, he has sponsored the Annual Clifford Tort Symposium on Tort Law and Civil Justice at DePaul University College of Law. Mr. Clifford also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Naples Children & Education Foundation, a charitable organization and host of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, which benefits over 200,000 at-risk and underprivileged children in Southwest Florida.