JVR Trial Excellence Awards 2022

There are very few laudatory comments left unsaid about Joe Power. He truly is a legendary figure who consistently has been a giant of the plaintiffs’ trial bar for more than forty years. However, I can add, from a defense lawyer’s perspective, my feelings about Joe, based on closely inter- acting with him as a long-time adversary. Joe is a straight-shooter; he means what he says. When things get tough, he is will- ing to step up and swing, demonstrating a lot of power for a man his size (pun intended!). I have litigated and mediated with Joe and his colleagues for a long time. I used to joke that we were friends because I and our firm probably had paid him more money in the last 30 years than anyone else in town. If I had to pick one word to describe Joe, I would say indefatigable but Joe would laugh and tell me that neither he nor I had any business using a word like that. But it is true. He has been a tireless worker and advocate for innumerable victims of in- justice, both legal and social. I had a front row seat to his handling of the Willis trag- edy, which resulted not only in a sizeable award to the family but also the demise of a governor. While it is obvious that one does not want to get on Joe’s wrong side, if you are straight with him, he will treat you the same way, without compromising his or his client’s position in any way. While I have slowed down with age, Joe presses on — still taking critical deposi- tions and proceeding to trial when forced to do so. He has built a powerhouse firm but never lost his integrity and humanity. For multiple reasons, I am humbled to be receiving this recognition, not the least of which is that I have no business being mentioned in the same breath as a true legal giant, my friend Joe Power.“ Richard H. Donohue, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

Sun Times article about Joe Power following the Willis trial.

ever seen. That’s a big statement considering how many years I’ve been in law.” But what motivates Power? It’s not headlines or fame. He has a lofty goal: He wants to leave the world a better place. “If a case I work on results in changes that can prevent ter- rible injuries and deaths, that feels good,” Power said. “I want to make sure a person’s serious injuries are not in vain, to make their lives more bearable by helping them obtain the money they need to get medical care. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives.” While many of Power’s cases have made headlines, he points to one lesser-known decision as an example of a case that he says made a positive difference in a client’s life. In this case, Power represented the husband of a woman who had died from an aneurism. Before she died, she and her hus- band tried to convince her doctor to take her warning symp- toms more seriously. The doctor disregarded them. Power took the case to trial. The medical group on the defense side didn’t offer a settlement. That didn’t deter Power. In the end, Power’s client won a verdict of $10 million. At the time,

Joe Power accepting the Plaintiff Attorney Lifetime Achievement Award


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