About Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis Articles written 13

Articles written by Kevin Davis

An Effective Voice

Appellate lawyer Linda Coberly fights for immigrants’ rights

How do you fix a law that feels less than just? Try, try again. Shortly after Linda Coberly joined Winston & Strawn as an appellate lawyer in 2004, she took a pro bono case on behalf of a Mexican immigrant who was facing deportation over a drug conviction. At issue was the severity of the crime. The man, a legal permanent resident, was convicted in Texas of possessing less than a gram of cocaine, which was a felony in that state. Coberly argued that the same crime would not be a felony in …

The Most Respected Adversary

How Paula Litt’s sleuthing skills ignited the business litigator’s career

The case sounded boring. Paula Litt was a second-year associate when her legal career took off—after she reluctantly agreed to work on a case that at first seemed rather dull. At the now-defunct Chicago firm Reuben & Proctor, Litt was put on a complex case involving gas cylinders missing from a downstate distributor. She would have to pore over stacks of invoices, receipts and mounds of paperwork. “It was not so interesting,” she says. “We had to take a mass of documents and make a …

Supremely Unflappable

How Kevin M. Forde cleared the way for Rahm Emanuel’s mayoral aspirations

The week before he was to argue his first case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Chicago lawyer Kevin M. Forde couldn’t sleep. “I was up all night, night after night after night,” he recalls. “This was something that occupied my every thought.” It’s not every day that an attorney from a five-lawyer boutique firm appears before the nation’s highest court. So the business litigator brought along his wife and two young kids, one of whom was Michael, then 8 years old and now a …

Flying Colors

Aviation defense lawyer Bill Katt avoids the cockpit but goes full throttle in the courtroom

As one of the busiest aviation defense lawyers in the country, Bill J. Katt thought it might be smart, not to mention fun, to take flying lessons. But just before earning his pilot’s license he changed his mind—troubled by a case involving the death of a pilot in a small aircraft in Minnesota. “The guy was about my age,” says Katt, a founding partner at Leib & Katt. “He and his buddy were going to try and go down to their kids’ hockey game. They flew out at 6 in the morning in …

The Global View of H. Michael Hartmann

The IP attorney crosses borders to protect inventions

As a young lawyer, H. Michael Hartmann helped his boss on two major patent cases that would draw international attention. They pitted an aging, white-haired scientist from Czechoslovakia against U.S. companies hoping to profit from his revolutionary invention: the soft contact lens. Hartmann, then an associate with his firm, Leydig, Voit & Mayer in Chicago, worked alongside C. Frederick Leydig on behalf of inventor Otto Wichterle, the government-owned academy where Wichterle worked, and a …

The Book of Daniels

Real estate lawyer John Daniels uses business instincts and people skills to help shape Milwaukee

During luncheons and dinner events, John W. Daniels Jr., the chairman of Quarles & Brady, is notorious for excusing himself from his table, making his way around the room, and networking and catching up with old friends. He rarely returns to his seat. His food usually goes cold. “We always have a joke about whether we should even have a seat for John at our table,” says Ann Murphy, member of Quarles & Brady’s executive committee and managing partner of its Milwaukee firm. …

True Blue

Roger Wilson helps revitalize the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand

One morning last spring, Roger Wilson walked into his Chicago office to find an oversized three-ring binder on his desk. Enclosed was a copy of the 2,000-page health care reform bill, recently signed into law by President Barack Obama. “This is a good sign for lawyers,” he says from the Michigan Avenue high rise. “This is going to keep lawyers busy for a long time.”  As senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), …

The Don of Divorce

Donald Schiller is a gentleman in a volatile practice area

Here’s a tale of two divorces. The first occurred in the late 1960s. Donald Schiller was a wanna-be PI plaintiff lawyer in his mid-20s working with his father in a shared office space at 188 West Randolph Street, when, as Schiller recalls, “A young woman came into my office and she was tearful. Her husband had been abusive to her emotionally and physically and stopped supporting her. She had a baby.” Schiller had never handled a divorce case, not one, and the woman was poor and couldn’t …


Philip J. Halley could tell you about his practice; but then he wouldn’t be a trusts and estates lawyer

He may not look like it, but Philip J. Halley, a trusts and estates attorney for Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek in Milwaukee, is trouble. From a journalistic perspective. “I don’t talk about who my clients are,” he says politely. “My clients expect me to keep confidences. I’m not going to trade off of someone’s name. It’s different with other types of law and litigators, and with cases in court that are public.” Well, what about his cases? “A lot of what we do doesn’t get into the …

In Good Hands

Michele Coleman Mayes leads Allstate's legal team

It's hard to believe that Michele Coleman Mayes, now a fearless and outspoken leader, was once so painfully shy that her mother sought professional help. "She put me in a public-speaking class," Mayes recalls with a laugh. "I thought she had lost her mind." Turns out her mother's instincts were right. The class transformed the young Mayes, giving her confidence to last a lifetime. "I learned how to overcome being fearful of being on my feet and talking to people," she says. "If you think about …

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