Chicago Best Lawyers 2010-Robert A Clifford On Fighting For Plane Crash Victims

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Robert A Clifford is principal partner of Clifford Law Offices, nationally recognized personal injury law firm in  Chicago concentrating in product liability, aviation, medical malpractice, wrongful death, transportation, premises liability law and commercial fraud litigation.

As a recognized international leader in aviation litigation, Robert A. Clifford has consistently secured multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for those killed or injured in every major commercial airline crash in the United States for the past 20 years.

Clifford’s track record has earned him a reputation of being a tough opponent. But Clifford stresses that he doesn’t turn up the heat unless he has to.

“Litigation is not nuclear war. I approach things with a fairly even-tempered on the other side starts needlessly being aggressive or Lawyers who are practicing at the highest level can disagree, but don’t have to be disagreeable.”

Today, Clifford is representing 11 families in the Turkish Airlines who lost loved ones in the Buffalo plane crash. The most challenging part of his work is preparing the proper evidence to establish the future care needs of his clients.

“What drives a lot of the big verdicts and settlements is the cost of future healthcare. As a consequence the lawyers who, like me, who present those cases, must gather a group of formidable experts who can develop the evidence necessary to show the jury the level of care that someone will need to maintain their activities of daily living at the most optimal level that they can,” he says. “The other challenging component is gathering the right experts on liability.”

Clifford serves as liaison on all of the 9/11 litigations. When the attacks occurred, Clifford was the chair of the section of litigation of the American Bar Association. The president of the ABA appointed a task force on terrorism in the law with Clifford as chairperson.

Soon Clifford was retained to litigate in New York for the families and some of the uninsured losses that took place. The court appointed him liaison counsel. In May, he argued in New York the motion to approve the property damage settlements of the 9/11 victims.

“I’m proud to be serving in this role,” Clifford says. “It’s been a fascinating case to be part of. I got involved in that litigation from the beginning because in my role as that ABA chair, we helped the Justice Department and the Pentagon put together a lot of the rules that dealt with the victim compensation fund. We gave them the ABA perspective on the criminal issues of enemy combatants and military tribunals. Then I ended up heading the team that litigated much of the liability issues in the case against the airlines and checkpoint security companies.”

Clifford has positioned his firm to be regulated as one of the best in his practice area.

“It has served me well to have high expectations of the men and women who took for me in terms of their sense of obligation to the client and to the rule of law in the profession,” he says. “As a consequence of that vision, I have a firm that is compiled of hardworking men and women who can deliver a service to clients that I think is unparalleled.”

Clifford has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America multiple times, and was named one of the five most respected and feared plaintiffs’ attorneys in the country by Corporate Legal Times. He is a member of the International Society of Barristers, the Inner Circle of Advocates and the American Law Institute.

In 2008, Clifford was elected to a second term in 2008 as the Illinois State Delegate to the House of Delegates of the ABA. He was elected second vice president of the Chicago Bar Association in 2009 and will ascend to the presidency in 2011-12. He is past-President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and a past-President of the Chicago Inn of Court.

But Clifford’s most treasured triumphs are his family and character.

“I am most proud of being happily married to Joan Clifford for 37 years this summer and having two lovely daughters, Erin and Tracy,” he says. “I’m also proud to maintain a reputation for excellence. You know somebody may work as hard as I do, but they are certainly not going to work harder. And they are not going to be better prepared.”

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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