These are just some of the words that colleagues use to describe Collin Dunn, a hardworking, no-nonsense associate at Clifford Law Offices.
It's why he received the Illinois Trial Lawyers Amicus Volunteer Award for 2010, recognizing him for his outstanding professional volunteer efforts in writing briefs as a friend of the court on issues of concern to victims of personal injury and wrongful death appeals.
It is why he is an adjunct professor teaching Appellate Advocacy at Loyola College of Law.
It is why he writes a monthly column for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin that includes useful advice and practice pointers for the thousands of lawyers who read the publication.
It's why he is a nominee for the Law Bulletin Publishing Company's 2010 Top 40 Attorneys Under 40 Years Old.
And it's why he's assigned some of the most complicated and high-profile cases in the office. The families of those who lost loved ones in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington, Kentucky, could count on Colin on their team of lawyers. He worked hard to represent the Beemsterboer family after James Beemsterboer, a husband and father of three, was killed in a partial building collapse on the City's southside.
But his most memorable case was the litigation stemming from the 2003 fire at the Cook County Administration Building that resulted in a $100 million settlement. "It was an honor and a humbling experience to help those families achieve justice," Colin said as he reflected on his contribution to the Clifford Law Offices' team. "It was particularly rewarding because of the important changes made to the City's emergency response system that makes Chicago a safer place. It makes one proud to be a lawyer when you can help people like those brave families as they struggle through the worst times of their lives."
Colin's dedication to helping people carries through his personal life as well. As a student at Miami University in Ohio, he spent his spring and winter breaks traveling across the country to build homes for Habitat for Humanity.
"It is so heartwarming to see the look of gratitude in the eyes of those who need this help and just don't know where to turn," Colin says. "It is especially touching when you help put a roof over a family."
Colin, a relatively recent dad himself with a twoyearold son and another child on the way any minute as of this writing, takes pride in his fatherly duties. Colin spends as much time as possible with Patrick, a "chip off the ol' block," before the arrival of his second child. And although Colin has but little time to spend on the golf course - despite his having a four handicap - he says he will enjoy teaching his kids the finer points of his favorite sport.
"These years are so precious and I want to set a good example for my son," Colin says at his desk, a credenza behind him adorned with family photos.
Down the road? Aside from his growing family, he hopes for a partner's position at Clifford Law Offices.
"I'd like to run the complex litigation on which I work," Colin says with a sheepish smile. "I think I can make a greater contribution to the firm one day as I work toward being a partner."
But, for now, Colin is happy with his work, happy with his example to the profession, happy with his lovely family and happy with life.
To view Colin's attorney profile, click here.