At 3:30 am on June 12, 2012, Philip Corboy passed away at his Chicago residence, with his wife by his side. He was 87 years old.
I knew of him as a legend in personal injury law, even before I attended law school. I tried to read anything that he would write or was written about him, because he was known as one of the great trial lawyers.
In Illinois, he successfully worked to get laws passed that banned smoking in elevators. Nationally, he had impact when he caused the drug industry to adopt tamper-resistant packaging; as a result of his representation of families relating to the Tylenol poisoning cases in 1982.
On a personal level to lawyers, I remember that he wrote that he would never hire a lawyer who wore a toupee, because he believed that juries would consciously or unconsciously believe that the lawyer was hiding something.
In a “Super Lawyer” publication article, a former associate at his firm said that he required all lawyers at the Firm to clear their desks at the end of the day. He believed that it kept them more organized. Many former associates indicate that they have maintained that practice through the years.
The ABA Journal has quoted Illinois Appellate Judge Terrance Levin, former Corboy clerk in the 80′s, as calling Corboy the “Jack Nicklaus of lawyers”.
If you google his name, you will see many accomplishments. Loyola University named its Law Building after him. In 2002, Chicago Magazine compiled a “Tough Lawyer” list and attributed that quality to him. They said that he was the “type of lawyer that you did not want to see in the Courtroom… unless he was on your side”.
His Legacy is one of great influence. The Firm website lists many of his accomplishments. It also adds that:
When asked about his legacy, Phil said “personal injury trial lawyers are in the rare position of being able to level the playing field to help people in the war against organized money: insurance companies, corporations, healthcare providers, common carriers, manufacturers, cities, states and government.”
For pic o’ day, I felt it worthwhile to post a picture that makes me smile, but one that also ties in to the toughness attributed to this great lawyer.
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