Jim Costello started the firm in June, 1983 as a solo practice. He now serves as its managing partner, overseeing all of the firm’s cases. His work is focused primarily on appeals, product liability cases and cases involving either neurological / neuropsychological injuries or Wrongful Death. Jim also acts as personal counsel for physicians and others who are being sued where their insurers are not acting in good faith. Jim graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1975 with a major in political science and minors in biology and chemistry. He personally paid for his entire undergraduate education by way of unskilled labor jobs, including work as a janitor, busboy, grocery store clerk, doorman (through the SEIU), freight handler, dockworker, house painter and security guard. Jim then obtained his law degree from DePaul University in 1978, attending school first as a day student and then as an evening student. He personally paid for his entire legal education by working as a writer and then later as an editor for a public interest group which had a pro-law enforcement, pro-victims of crime mission. After graduating from law school in 1978, Jim worked for Attorney Jim Demos, a highly respected trial lawyer.
In June, 1983, Costello left the Demos office and started this firm. Jim has tried a number of cases in Cook County, as well as in Tennessee, Texas and Iowa. Among his verdicts is a case which set the record as the largest police pursuit verdict, ever, in the State of Illinois. Last year Jim litigated in Wisconsin and then tried in Illinois a Wrongful Death case on behalf of a member of the Executive Council from Local 399. Jim also successfully handled the appeal in the case of Lopez v. _____ Law Offices, a legal malpractice case against another Chicago law firm. The defendant firm had provided incorrect advice to one of our clients. That advice resulted in the dismissal of a case the client brought on behalf of his mentally challenged daughter, who drowned in a swimming pool. Jim lives with his wife, Kate, and their four sons in Arlington Heights.
For over twenty years, Jim has represented one client per year, without fee, in cases which usually involve both medical and legal issues. In the early years, most of these cases involved people who had been denied coverage by their insurance carriers for bone marrow transplants or related issues. This year’s case was on behalf of the widow and two young children of a firefighter. The firefighter died of a heart attack about an hour after returning home from fighting a fire. Prior to our firm’s involvement, the Attorney General’s Office had denied the claim, telling our client that her husband’s death was unrelated to his work. After the widow’s claim was denied, we undertook the representation of the firefighter’s family. Our research, both in the medical and in the occupational safety literature, disclosed that firefighters were subject to an enormous amount of physical stress during firefights. It is not unusual for a firefighter to sustain a heartbeat problem which can continue on to cause death for a significant period of time after the firefighter’s work at the scene of a fire was completed. After a preliminary hearing and the scheduling of discovery, the Attorney General’s office agreed to reconsider its initial analysis of the case. To the credit of that office, rather than engage in a protracted and costly fight in court, they withdrew their recommendation that the claim be denied and agreed to pay the family the benefits due under the Illinois Line of Duty Compensation Act.
Jim has also been involved with St. Sabina’s Law Ministry and has served on the Finance Committee at St. Viator High School.
Since 1979, Jim has written or contributed to many appellate briefs in the Illinois Supreme Court as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”). His most recent effort was filed on behalf of the membership of the Chicago Federal of Labor.