(1951 - 2014)
Tom Leahy passed away on August 23, 2014, after a short but valiant struggle with cancer. During his long and illustrious legal career, Tom represented his clients with a unique combination of skill, passion and personality. At Leahy & Hoste, we continue to honor and represent these ideals that were established by our founder, co-worker and friend.
Mr. Leahy was a long time resident of the Chicagoland area. After attending the University of Notre Dame he studied law at Loyola University in Chicago, graduating in 1977. During law school, Mr. Leahy worked for the personal injury defense firm of Clausen, Miller, Gorman, Caffrey & Witous and the plaintiff personal injury firm of Philip H. Corboy & Associates. Mr. Leahy became an associate attorney at the Corboy firm after graduation and remained there until he left to start his own firm in 1980, The Law Office of Tom Leahy.
Intense preparation, selectivity of cases, and a powerful commitment to our clients — these are the trademarks of Leahy & Hoste.
Bar Association Service
During the 1980s Mr. Leahy became increasingly involved in the Illinois State Bar Association, the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. He served as the elected young lawyer delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates for 10 years, participating in the adoption of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Later, Mr. Leahy became interested in the field of legal education and organized the Illinois State Bar Association effort to modify the Standards for Legal Education to require law schools to better train law students for the practice of law. Leahy led the effort to mandate clinical education programs for all law schools, and through his efforts and the efforts of the Illinois State Bar Association all law schools were required to implement clinical programs, largely for the benefit those in the community who were unable to afford legal services.
In 1993, Mr. Leahy was elected President of the Illinois State Bar Association where he organized and led efforts to provide legal assistance to the flood ravaged communities of western Illinois during the great spring flood of 1994. Mr. Leahy organized and directed meetings in many hard hit locations where state bar attorneys assisted those who had lost homes and property make claims under the Federal Emergency Management Act.
Insisting that all state bar committees have at least one minority or female officer, Mr. Leahy actively promoted the bar effort to diversify bar leadership in Illinois. He was awarded the Glass Ceiling Buster Award by the DuPage Association of Women Lawyers for this and other achievements.
In 1995, Mr. Leahy became Chairman of the Illinois State Bar Association's Mutual Insurance Company, where he continued to serve as a member of the Board of Directors and Claims Committee.
Since he first started practicing law in 1977, Mr. Leahy established a proven track record of obtaining record setting settlements and verdicts throughout the state of Illinois. In 1986, Mr. Leahy obtained the first verdict in Lake County, Illinois of $1 million or more, in the case of Estate of R.R. v. Keller Trucking. This case was the first of many million dollar plus settlements and verdicts he has recovered for persons injured or killed by commercial vehicles and heavy trucks.
Eighteen years later, Leahy and his partner Peter Hoste obtained a $19.2 million verdict in another trucking case in which a 27 year-old husband and father of two young boys was killed after a multi-vehicle collision in McHenry County. That verdict was recognized by the National Law Journal as the 88th largest verdict in the United States during 2004. Estate of W.T. vs. Preferred Trucking.
Many of Mr. Leahy's other verdicts and settlements are listed in the RESULTS page of this website. Some of these are particularly noteworthy:
During the 35+ years that Mr. Leahy practiced law, he has remained active in both the legal and non-legal communities, and is an active participant and contributor to many political, civic and charitable organizations.
- Mr. Leahy obtained a $7 million settlement, the limit of the primary and excess insurance limits, from a trucking company in Est. of D.V. v. Ro-Mar Transportation. Mr. Leahy represented a widow who had a chronic mental illness. Her husband had provided her with critical personal care on a daily basis. The settlement included an annuity or stream of funds which will continue until her death. These funds are managed by a life care specialist, appointed at the request of Leahy & Hoste, who will monitor personal and medical care for the widow for the rest of her life.
- In 1994, while serving his term as President of the Illinois State Bar Association, Mr. Leahy obtained a verdict in excess of $6 million against Loyola University Medical Center for a millwright who was injured on the job and required spinal cord surgery. The surgery was unsuccessful even though the primary surgeon's operative summary reported no difficulties during surgery. A second operative report was discovered which differed significantly from the operative report filed by the primary surgeon. Mr. Leahy was able to use this second report to prove that the surgery did not go as smoothly as the primary surgeon testified. The injured millwright, who was never able to return to work, was able to support himself for the rest of his life with the recovery.
- Mr. Leahy and Mr. Hoste have represented a number of clients who have entered the hospital for heart surgery and lost a foot or leg. W.P. v. Christ Hospital, J.K. v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and T.A. vs. Rush Presbyterian Hospital, which resulted in the largest verdict ever entered against Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center ($22,500,000) according to the Chicago Tribune.
SERVICE TO PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Service to the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)
ISBA Mutual Insurance Company
1989-Present:* Board of Directors (Since ISBA/MIC Inception)
2004-Present: Claims Committee
1994-Present: Finance Committee
1995-2002:* Personnel Committee
1993-98:* Underwriting Committee
ISBA Board of Governors
1995-96: Member of Committee on Legislation
1994-95: Chair of Committee on Legislation / Board Liaison to Committee on Legal Education, Admission & Competence
1993-94: ISBA President
1992-93: ISBA President-Elect and Board of Governors / Chair: Committee on Personnel and the Committee on Budget & Audit
1991-92: ISBA 2nd Vice-President and Board of Governors / Member of these Committees: Budget & Audit, Personnel and Scope & Correlation / Board Liaison to: Committee on Illinois Bar Journal Editorial Board
1990-91: ISBA 3rd Vice-President and Board of Governors / Member of these Committees: Budget & Audit, Personnel, Scope & Correlation / Board Liaison to: Civil Practice & Procedure Section Council and Young Lawyers Division
1989-90: Board Liaison to: Committee on Membership & Bar Activities and the Civil Practice & Procedure Section Council
1988-89: Board Liaison to: Committee on Membership & Bar Activities and the Civil Practice & Procedure Section Council
1987-88: Board Liaison to: Committee on Membership & Bar Activities and the Civil Practice & Procedure Section Council
1986-87: Board Liaison to: Committee on Membership & Bar Activities and the Civil Practice & Procedure Section Council
1985-86: Board Liaison to: Commercial Banking & Bankruptcy and the Corporations & Securities Section Councils
ISBA Assembly Member:
Service to the Chicago Bar Assocation
1984-1992: Legislative Committee
1983-1986: Judicial Evaluation Investigative Hearing Division
1981-1983: Judicial Evaluation Investigator Division
1978-1979: Aviation Law Committee
* Dates for ISBA/MIC are approximate