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Clausen Miller P.C.
For nearly 80 years, Clausen Miller P.C. has been serving the needs of American companies and financial institutions with a broad range of legal expertise. The law firm was founded in 1936 as a small group of trial attorneys primarily serving the insurance industry from an office in Chicago, where the company now has its U.S. headquarters. Clausen Miller’s footprint has extended throughout various specializations and geographic regions, and the business is a founding member of Clausen Miller International, a group of affiliated law firms located throughout Europe.
Clausen Miller has additional offices in New York, New Jersey and Southern California. The firm is led by Dennis Fitzpatrick, president, whose expertise includes first-party property insurance, cyber risk coverage, environmental litigation, professional liability defense, construction litigation and subrogation matters.
With a long history in the Windy City, Clausen Miller is part of the fabric of Chicago. The firm is one of the more established in the metropolis and Fitzpatrick says it is considered midsized. Community involvement has long been a tenet of the organization, and Clausen Miller consistently volunteers its time and services to helping various charitable and service organizations, such as the annual Chicago Volunteer Legal Services’ Race Judicata. Many Clausen attorneys and staff also participate in volunteer work. For example, Fitzpatrick has served on the board of directors for the American Cancer Society of Greater Chicago.
Quality in theory — and practice
Clausen Miller now employs around 100 lawyers in the U.S. The team covers a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from property/casualty and liability defense to maritime law. The company orients its services to best serve clients, prioritizing innovative thinking and integrity to resolve unusual and challenging legal issues.
“I think one of the qualities we have that really sets us apart is that we are problem solvers,” says Fitzpatrick. “We look for ways to partner with our clients to get matters resolved promptly and efficiently. We have a tremendous group of trial lawyers who do all they can to resolve matters up front.”
Since the firm started, Clausen Miller’s primary service area has been the insurance industry. “We represent individuals and corporations,” Fitzpatrick elaborates. “In some instances they carry insurance; for example, we do professional liability defense of architects, engineers, lawyers, accountants and other professionals. When they are sued in a professional capacity and they have professional liability insurance, we represent them directly to protect their interests.”
As with the firm’s strategic growth plan, Clausen Miller adapts to the needs of clients via practice as well. “We have a practice group that is on the leading edge of a hot topic — cyber data breach,” Fitzpatrick says. “The formation of our cyber group at Clausen Miller started by reaching out to various attorneys in the firm who have experience in one of the many areas of cyber law and taking that combined expertise to the marketplace.”
With a long history of practice in the U.S., Clausen Miller has managed to remain steady, despite the economic ups and downs the country has faced over the years. “During the recession, law firms that relied solely on corporate or real estate transactions were most impacted,” Fitzpatrick explains. “We were not directly impacted by the recession, but as time has progressed, we have seen a substantial decrease in litigation, for example.”
He adds that the secret to the firm’s longevity is conservative operation. All growth has been strategic and the firm has expanded only to better serve the needs of clients. “There are some states under consideration due to clients’ demands for our main areas of practice.” Fitzpatrick notes. “We have entered an exploratory phase and we would consider opening additional offices in the coming years to meet our clients’ legal needs.”
Long-term personnel continue to play an important role in the company’s success. Fitzpatrick and many of his colleagues have been with the firm their entire careers. “Two other members of our board of directors were in my graduating class,” he explains. “The three us of started at Clausen Miller together in 1989.”
“We have a unique and diverse group of lawyers here who really enjoy what they’re doing,” Fitzpatrick continues. “You often hear that lawyers are unhappy with their careers, and I believe those at Clausen Miller would tell you differently. We have a lot of young, up-and-coming partners, who have the same opportunities provided to my class to lead this firm to great places in the future.”
In 2016, Clausen Miller P.C. will celebrate 80 years of practice, and with a strong team and a growing network of lasting relationships, the firm shows no sign of slowing down.