Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reader readings on Philip Corboy

Posted By on 06.12.12 at 11:20 AM

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Philip Corboy, the charismatic personal-injury lawyer and the former president of the Chicago Bar, is dead at 87. Over the years the Reader’s run a couple long pieces on Corboy, including a 1989 excerpt of John A. Jenkins’s book The Litigators on Karsten v. McCray, a medical malpractice suit that Corboy lost. The piece details his history with similar malpractice litigation, and follows him through his preparations for trial:

When a trial is a certainty . . . Corboy becomes the firm's designated hitter. Alone or with the associate who has been preparing the case in the years since it came to the firm, he sits at the Louis XIV campaign desk in his living room, reading the entire file of depositions and motions and investigative reports until he's totally immersed. Messengers ferry files to and from his office nearby . . . Corboy likens the whole process to "taking a tremendously satisfying bath. You become an expert in many details, in a small portion of a large discipline. And when it's over, the bathtub is emptied."

In 2008 James L. Merriner wrote about Corboy & Demetrius Demetrio finding itself on the receiving end of a legal malpractice suit.

And in 1996 Bonnie McGrath stopped into a party that Corboy threw in his Water Tower apartment in honor of Johnnie Cochran, then hot off his victory in the O.J. Simpson case. It starts,

Lawyers Johnnie Cochran Jr. and Philip Corboy Sr. were standing in Corboy's massive walk-in closet. They were surrounded by at least 15 feet of gorgeously rich wood shelves and drawers and racks. And all of Corboy's clothes and shoes. Bears defensive end Alonzo Spellman stood just outside the closet chatting with a couple of women at the foot of Corboy's bed.

Cochran told Corboy how neat he was. Corboy said he was a type A personality, needing to have things orderly. Cochran said when he grew up he hoped to have as many clothes as Corboy, who was wearing a suit coat in as bright a blue as anything Cochran wore during the Simpson trial . . .

Read the whole thing here.

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