About Rich Kolodziej

Why I Became a Litigator.

I have never been good with seeing people wronged.

That is the easiest answer to “why I became a litigator.”  A litigator goes into court, and fights for what is right for their client.  They need to be unafraid, knowledgeable of the law, and they must possess the ability to apply what they know in a rapid fashion.  Being able to “think on your feet” isn’t just a good quality in a litigator, often it is the most important trait they can have.

I learned quickly that litigation is often ruled by a complex set of variables that are unpredictable and not just about “what the letter of the law says.”  It is often ruled by the personalities and experiences of the judge, the jury and the opposing attorney.   Hence, I approach litigation with a degree of creativity and often ask “what is the best way to present my client’s case?”  Is it in pictures?  Words?  What is the right sequence for my argument?  There are a never-ending set of scenarios that I enjoy working through.

But ultimately, I became a litigator because I am very often placed in the situation of fighting for and on behalf of good people.   I am often the last protection against someone being wronged, and I have a passion for making sure my client is protected.

What Makes Me Different?

With over 100 jury verdicts under my belt, I have gained the knowledge and experience to know how to navigate complicated litigation issues.  If you were my client, I would present my clients with budgets, and do my best to maintain an open-door policy with them.  Litigation can be scary to an individual, and it is important for me to make sure that all of your questions are answered and that you can feel free to call me and ask me whatever question is on your mind.  My clients do not sit in wonder and what will happen next.  I pride myself on making sure there are no surprises, and that my clients always know what we will need to budget as we go through the varying steps of litigation.  By providing my clients with a budget, it allows them to make informed and business savvy decisions.  We discuss what the next step is, what we hope to gain, the likelihood for that to occur, and what the cost will be.   Having this open policy with my clients allows them to make real world decisions that ultimately result in better solutions.

My Experience

While I was still in law school, I secured a job as a law clerk with a practice focused on protecting injured people, and the same firm eventually hired me right out of law school.  The day I was sworn into the Illinois Bar, I arbitrated three cases in Cook County.  Within the first month, I was sitting second chair in a medical malpractice case, and picking a jury that would ultimately be asking to award our client hundreds of thousands of dollars.   A week after that trial, I prosecuted my very first, first chair jury trial.

After working at that firm for eight years, I was hired on by a national law firm.  I was brought in because of my extensive jury trial experience, having first chaired seventy-five jury cases in my first eight years of my career.  When I began at that office, my focus was defending professionals in malpractice claims.  After some time, I was named a partner at that firm, and my practice began to swing more towards representing businesses and other entities in commercial, contract and employment litigation.  However, during that time, I began to become disillusioned with the large law firm setting.  It often felt that the only metric you were measured on was the number of hours you billed, which often felt like it could put an attorney in conflict with their client.  A client should not be seen as an ATM.

Therefore, I left that firm and joined the firm of Hecht Schondorf, LLC.  This gave me an opportunity to run my practice the way I wanted to run my practice.  I pride myself on being a top-notch trial attorney and litigator, but also being very sensitive to the needs of my client.  Therefore, I am always very conscious of the costs associated and making sure my client is well informed and making the best decisions at every step during in the process.   I pride myself on word of mouth referrals.  There is nothing better than to hear a former client talk highly about the service, care and attention they received.

Who Am I?

I was born and raised in the Hoffman Estates, Illinois area.  In 1989, I left home to attend Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude.  In 1993, I began at DePaul University, College of Law.  While I was there, I met the love of my life and future wife, Julie.   We graduated from DePaul in May of 1996, and we were both sworn in November of that year.  I have two kids, a girl and a boy.  My daughter is in college studying physics, and my son is going into his senior year of high school.

Besides my practice and my family, I have one other passion in my life.  I am a songwriter and lead guitar in a local all original rock band called One Ping Only.  You might find us playing a local dive bar, and if you look hard enough you may even find one of our songs on Spotify.   Music has always been a big part of my life, and I bring the same passion, preparation and creativity to my music, that I bring to my practice.

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