Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell - November 2017

NOVEMBER 2017 815-726-9999 | THE BKMS BULLETIN

Small Town Firm, Big City Results Standing Against the Test of Time

“Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell” can sound like quite a mouthful, but if the firm kept the names of all partners, past and present, it would certainly be a lot longer. Today, I’m the firm’s senior partner, but I’ll let you in on a secret: I wasn’t here when the doors first opened. Now, to be fair, when the firm started in 1951, I was 4 years old. I had yet to master the alphabet, let alone the law of the land. But law was certainly in my future. courtroom shows like “Perry Mason” and, later, “Judd, for the Defense” made being a lawyer look exciting, but even without the fictional dramatization, I felt drawn to law. Plus, my older brother, Winston, had gone to law school before me, and his experiences helped influence my decision to pursue the career. When I graduated law school in 1970, I was the youngest lawyer in the state of Illinois at 22, and I was ready to dive right in. The original founders of this firm later left and became judges. A law school classmate of mine had joined another local firm, and at his recommendation, Back then, law was gaining popularity as a challenging career choice. On television,

I joined a local firm, as well. Until that point, the firm’s primary focus had been on municipal work and family law. Recognizing a need in the community,

to win a jury case by proving a client’s immunodeficiency had been chemically induced. We were one of the first law firms to introduce PET scans as evidence in a brain damage case, something that is now standard practice in such cases. We have handled leading workers’ comp cases dealing with electrocution, brain damage, and off-the-clock injuries; and we’ve even changed the law on how disability for shoulder injuries is awarded to benefit the injured worker. Finally, we have obtained multimillion dollar results for clients on a number of occasions. “RECOGNIZING A NEED IN THE COMMUNITY, I DEDICATED MYSELF TO DEVELOPING THE PERSONAL INJURY We’ve been here for almost seven decades, proudly advancing the field of law through complex, challenging cases for the sake of our clients. Our purpose is to be here when our clients need us — today and any day in the future. AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PART OF THE FIRM. ”

I dedicated myself to developing the personal injury and workers’ compensation part of the firm.

Between 1971 and 1976, other partners would join the firm, including my brother, Winston, but the next partner of the current era wouldn’t join our ranks until 1993. When we heard about how Elizabeth Klukas handled a complex asbestos litigation for a downstate law firm, we knew we needed her to join our team. In 2001, we experienced one of our most dramatic changes as our ever-growing firm reorganized. We broke off to focus exclusively on injury law and workers’ comp. Two years later, Thomas Manzella joined the firm, focusing on workers’ comp and injury law. In that time, Tom tried several complex cases and jury trials with fantastic results. It wasn’t long before he was named a partner in 2007, and he now focuses almost exclusively on injury law. When Bryan Shell joined the firm in 2009, he focused on workers’ comp cases. He, too, proved to be a hardworking attorney who obtained great results for his clients. It wasn’t long until he was named partner, and we entered a new chapter as Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell, P.C. in 2014. Over the course of our long history, we’ve done more than change our name and buy new signs — we’ve participated in a number of landmark cases. We were the first firm in the United States

–Micha el Block

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