(312) 759-7250
Michael L. Shakman

Mr. Shakman serves as lead counsel in a wide range of litigation including corporate, contractual, commercial and partnership disputes, professional liability matters, construction disputes and arbitrations, antitrust, trade regulation and product liability litigation. He has also served as lead counsel for public bodies and private citizens in litigation involving governmental actions across a wide range of subjects.
     Mr. Shakman frequently represents attorneys, law firms and other professionals in partnership and professional responsibility matters. He may be best known for the federal court Shakman Decrees, which have enjoined patronage hiring and firing of public employees in Chicago and Illinois.

Selected Engagements

Defended law firms against allegations of transactional and litigation legal malpractice. These matters have involved lawsuits, arbitrations and mediations.

Represented lawyers and law firms in matters involving legal ethics, disciplinary proceedings, professional responsibility and lawyer mobility.

Defended parties in antitrust litigation involving price fixing, territorial allocations and related claims in direct and class action litigation.

Represented directors and special litigation committees of corporate boards in responding to shareholder litigation.

Represented international energy industry contractor in state and federal court litigation involving power plant construction, ownership disputes and environmental remediation work.

Represented bankruptcy trustee in bankruptcy court proceedings and related matters removed to the District Court.

Represented investors in broadcasting industry disputes involving accounting issues, RICO and allegations of fraud.

Represented purchasers and sellers of business entities in a wide range of disputes.

Served as Special Assistant Illinois Attorney General in representing state governmental agencies in disputes over land use and operations, including representation of the State of Illinois in disputes with the City of Chicago over the closure of Chicago’s Meigs Field airport.


B.A., University of Chicago, 1962
Graduated with honors

M.A., University of Chicago, 1963

J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1966
Graduated cum laude
Order of the Coif
Managing Editor and Articles Editor, University of Chicago Law Review


Admitted to the Illinois Bar, 1966

Law clerk to the Hon. Walter V. Schaefer, Justice, Illinois Supreme Court, 1966-1967

Associate with this firm, 1967-1972; became a partner in 1972. Chair, Professional Responsibility Committee, Chicago Bar Association, 2007-2008

Chair, Professional Responsibility Opinion Subcommittee, Chicago Bar Association, 2006-2007

Member, Advisory Committee for the Law Governing Lawyers, American Law Institute


American Bar Association

Illinois State Bar Association

Chicago Bar Association

Former Board member, Chicago Council of Lawyers

American Law Institute

Former board member and former chair, Institute for Psychoanalysis

Former Assistant Editor, American Bar Association, Litigation Journal

Selected Publications

“"De Facto Amendment of a FAA Regulation by Non-Regulatory Interpretation: Unintended Consequences of FAA Suggestions on How to Comply With the Flight Review Requirement,"” Summer 2017 Journal of Air Law and Commerce.

“Why Do Environmental Lawyers Get Sued For Malpractice? What Can They Do To Avoid A Malpractice Claim?” Bloomberg BNA, 2013. Written with Diane F. Klotnia and Edward W. Feldman.

“A Primer on Legal Malpractice for Patent Lawyers,” Bloomberg BNA – Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, November 2012. Written with Diane F. Klotnia and Edward W. Feldman.

“Why Claims Against Lawyers For Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Are Becoming Extinct,” Chicago Bar Association Record, January 2012. Written with Daniel M. Feeney and Alexandra K. Block.

“How to Respond to an ARDC Complaint,” Illinois Bar Journal, Vol. 92 #10, October 2004. Written with Arthur W. Friedman.

“There But for the Grace of God Go I; A Look at the Modern Transactional Legal Malpractice Case…,” Chicago Bar Association Record, April 2004. Written with Stephen J. Bisgeier and Edward W. Feldman.

“Reporting Your Partners and Associates to the ARDC,” Illinois Bar Journal, Volume 90, March 2002. Written with Arthur W. Friedman and Thomas M. Staunton.

“Can Lawyers Protect, and Sell at Premium, a Secret and Valuable Idea?” Chicago Bar Association Record, June/July 2001. Written with Marc O. Beem.

“Trust Us: How Rules on Referral Fees Influence the MDP Debate,” Chicago Bar Association Record, September 2000. Written with Diane F. Klotnia.

“Ethical Duties Remain Unclear In Online Realm: Rules of Law,” Chicago Bar Association Record, September 2000.

“Primer on Acting Rationally When Lawyers Relocate,” Chicago Bar Association Record, February/March 2000. Written with Geraldine Soat Brown and Barry A. Miller.

“Mediation Of Business Disputes,” Alternative Dispute Resolution, Illinois Institute for CLE, 2001. Written with Diane F. Klotnia and Edward W. Feldman.

“The New Pendent Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts,” 20 Stan. L. Rev. 262 (1968).