Paul Motz is a trial lawyer. He is at his best in a courtroom, in front of a judge or jury, where he delivers stellar results for his clients. A shareholder in the firm’s Chicago office, he focuses on complex commercial and tort litigation disputes, regularly winning large-scale matters involving product liability, catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, pharmaceutical negligence, professional negligence, transportation and construction defect.
His wide depth of experience includes multi-district litigation (MDL) cases, labor & employment matters, insurance coverage & bad faith claims, patent disputes, breach of contract and other financial matters. This experience includes often being retained on the eve of trial, even as little as 48 hours before jury selection, to try the case to verdict.
Paul aggressively litigates cases across the country, beginning each matter by developing the story that will be told to the jury. Through this process, he determines how a case will be tried, its strengths and weaknesses and how to exploit or defend each. He backs this strategy with an intense focus on witness preparation, which is where he believes cases are won or lost.
This hard-hitting, trial-centered litigation approach allows his clients to resolve matters favorably. Whether or not a case goes all the way to the courtroom, Paul’s clients know the team is completely prepared to argue both liability and damages in front of a judge or jury.
Because of his exceptional record in the courtroom, clients facing exposure of more than $10 million regularly select him to play the role of the opposing party in mock trials to test and improve the arguments that will be presented at trial. He is also a frequent speaker on trial strategy, nuclear verdicts and litigation tactics.
Prior to joining Segal McCambridge, Paul was managing partner at a Midwest litigation defense firm where he successfully tried many high-exposure cases for clients across the country. He also served as an associate at a firm where he practiced civil litigation defense.
Paul earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law. He holds a B.A. in political science and communication from DePaul University.
Outside of his work in the legal arena, he spends time with his son as well as golfing, reading, traveling and supporting Chicago sports teams.
- Selected to Illinois Leading Lawyer, 2022
- Listed in Chicago Lawyer magazine “40 Under 40,” 2021
- Selected to Illinois Leading Lawyers Emerging Lawyers, 2016 – present
- Selected to Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2016 – present
Professional & Civic Involvement
- Professional Liability Underwriters Society (PLUS)
- Chicago Bar Association
- Secured a successful zero settlement payment for a client involved in a catastrophic construction injury case in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
- Served as first chair in a Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois medical malpractice and long-term care wrongful-death case. The plaintiff refused to reduce their policy limits demand and requested in excess of $5 million from the jury, however the jury awarded only $380,000.
- Served as first chair in a Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, matter in which the plaintiff was run over by the defendant’s bus as it was making a right turn. The jury returned a defense verdict in less than 20 minutes.
- Served as second chair in a premises liability matter leading to spastic quadriplegia, resulting in a defense verdict that was upheld on appeal.
- Served as second chair in a Circuit Court of Garfield County, Colorado, construction defect matter regarding a multi-home subdivision with more than 40 plaintiffs. Our team took the file 10 weeks before trial, with primary counsel indicating settlement should be made in excess of $20 million. Although the plaintiff’s verdict was $6.6 million, we settled outstanding plaintiff claims post-verdict for less than seven figures.
- Served as second chair in a Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, products liability matter resulting in quadriplegia. We secured a defense verdict; however, the trial judge granted the plaintiff’s post-trial motion for a new trial. The First District reversed and reinstated the defense verdict, and we subsequently negotiated an appellate high-low settlement agreement that resulted in file closure and let stand the defense-friendly law on the issue of proximate cause.
- Settled a products liability matter resulting in paraplegia during pre-trial motions in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Ultimately the client was liable only for defense costs.
- Settled an alleged medical malpractice claim resulting in quadriplegia that was filed in the Circuit Court of Clark County, Nevada. The case settled during jury selection after the plaintiff buckled due to aggressive pre-trial motion practice and client preparation.
- Settled an alleged medical malpractice claim regarding a quadruple amputee that was filed in the Circuit Court of Hennepin County, Minnesota. The case settled favorably at mediation for a low amount due to extensive pre-trial research proving the lack of fault by our client.
- Secured a favorable settlement following opening statements for a construction worksite accident with liability defenses that was taken over by our team in the weeks leading up to trial.
- Secured a settlement during pre-trial motions in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, for a residential porch collapse matter resulting in several spinal and leg injuries.
- Negotiated a favorable settlement prior to the commencement of approximately 75 plaintiff and expert depositions on a multiunit condominium building case claiming multiple and severe construction defects filed in the Circuit Court of Los Angeles County.
- Negotiated a settlement at mediation of a transportation accident claim resulting in admitted liability that was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. We took over the matter weeks before trial, without a defense to subsequent medical malpractice resulting in a perforated trachea. The plaintiff was faced with two options for future treatment (1) have a permanent stoma in her neck and not be able to eat or drink normal food for the rest of her life or (2) have reconstruction surgery to fix the damage to her trachea but lose her ability to speak. We negotiated in concert with the adjuster to reach settlement at mediation, avoiding a potential runaway verdict.
- Secured a favorable settlement for a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in which a transportation accident resulted in admitted liability for a wrongful death claim and a traumatic brain injury. We settled favorably after defense expert discovery substantially undermined the surviving plaintiff’s damage claim.
News & Events
- “Reverse Reptile Theory – Beating Plaintiffs at their Own Game,” 2022 OACTA Annual Meeting, 2022
- “Using Video at Trial,” Webinar, DePage County Bar Association Civil Law Remote MCLE Program, 2022
- “Trial Practice Issues,” Segal McCambridge CLE, 2021
- Invited Speaker, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, 2018
- “The Reverse Reptile: Turning the Tables on Plaintiff’s Counsel,” DRI, 2019
- “Preventing Amygdala Hijack at Deposition in the Reptilian Era,” DRI, 2020
- “Trends in Settlement and Verdict Value,” Perrin Conferences, 2020
Publications – Author
- The Reverse Reptile: Turning the Tables on Plaintiff’s Counsel, co-author, For the Defense, 2018