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Robert M. Burke

Shareholder / President
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+1 312-984-0248
+1 312-372-9818
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Jennifer Saccuci
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Robert M. Burke is president of Johnson & Bell, Ltd. He also serves as co-chair of our Transportation group.  Mr. Burke works extensively in transportation litigation, including trucking and railroad. Mr. Burke also focuses on products liability, general negligence, premises liability and retail liability. Successful verdicts include premises liability, motor vehicle, product liability and traffic design lawsuits. He has argued and prevailed on appeals involving tort, constitutional and commercial issues before the Illinois and Indiana Appellate and Supreme Courts.

A frequent lecturer, Mr. Burke has spoken throughout the United States and Canada about a variety of legal issues, including trucking and transportation matters. Mr. Burke has been recognized in the inaugural Best of the Best Attorney's Top 10 Personal Injury Law Attorney for Illinois in 2020, a distinction given to less than 0.05% of attorneys in the United States. Recognizing his success as a litigator, his peers have nominated him with an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Burke has also been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2019.

Mr. Burke is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, and the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel. He is also an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration System.

Mr. Burke received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. He is licensed to practice in Illinois as well as Indiana.

Admissions & Education


Illinois Supreme Court
U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Federal Trial Bar
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana


University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1984
University of Illinois, B.S. (cum laude) (Phi Beta Kappa), 1981


American Arbitration Association, Arbitrator
Chicago Bar Association
Cook County Mandatory Arbitration System, Arbitrator
Illinois State Bar Association


AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell
Illinois Super Lawyers, 2012-2024
Bullseye Barrister for Target Corporation, 2015, 2021
Leading Lawyers, 2004-2022
Best Lawyers in America, 2019-2024
Best of the Best Attorney's Top 10 Personal Injury Law Attorney in Illinois 2020

Presentations & Publications


Presented, Spoliation, Admissibility of Medical Bills, and Indemnity Agreements in Trucking Contracts, at Cottingham & Butler, June 26, 2017

Presented, Innkeeper Issues in Illinois, to the Marriott Claims Department, September 30, 2016

Participated in demonstration of cross examination of a safety director at ALFA Regional Seminar in St. Louis on Feb. 19, 2016.

Presented demonstration of cross examination of a safety director at Cottingham & Butler on Oct. 23, 2015.

Presentation for Swiss Re on Dram Shop and Social Host Liability on Sept. 5, 2012. Presentation focused on the Illinois Liquor Control Act, the Drug or Alcohol Minor Impairment Act, and recent developments in social host liability.

Presentation for ALFA International, Inc. Trucking Seminar, May 5, 2011; conducted mock cross examinations of a trucking company's safety director to illustrate proper witness preparation and how to respond to the "Rules of the Road" approach by the plaintiffs' attorneys to trucking litigation.

Presentation for Marriott Regional Claims Department, Jan. 20, 2011; “Innkeeper Liability Issues: Spoliation of Evidence and Piercing the Corporate Veil.”

Presentation for Travelers Insurance Company, Hartford, CT, June 5, 2008; “Everything You Wanted to Know About Suing a Foreign Manufacturer but Were Afraid to Ask.”

Presentation for ALFA International, Inc., May 2, 2008; “Defending Independent Theories of Liability & Damages Against the Company.”

Presentation for Markel Insurance Company, Toronto, Ontario, Sept. 27, 2007; “Markel's "Let's Talk" about Trucking Issues.

Presentation for Markel Insurance Company, Toronto, Ontario, June 12, 2007; “Investigating & Defending Significant Trucking Accidents.”


Co-Author, "In Wake of Seventh Circuit Ruling, Freight Brokers Sleep Easier." Client Advisory, July 24, 2023

Co-Author and Editor, "2016 ALFA Transportation Compendium for Illinois."

Co-Author, "Illinois Spoliation of Evidence Law," ALFA Hospitality Fall Seminar's Compendium, 2012.

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