Joseph T. Murphy, partner at Clifford Law Offices, comes with a great deal of experience in the law since he was sworn in Illinois in 2012. He formerly was a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney and served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he prosecuted misdemeanor and felony offenses in federal court. He also previously served as chief of federal litigation for the 101st Airborne Division while serving as an attorney and Captain in the U.S. Army.
Joe is one of the Chicago aviation lawyers at Clifford Law Offices working on the 2019 crash of a Boeing jet. The firm represents 72 families who lost loved ones in the tragic crash in Ethiopia of a Boeing 737 MAX jet that led to its grounding for nearly two years. Robert A. Clifford serves as Lead Counsel in the litigation pending in federal district court in Chicago. The complex litigation involves families from 35 countries against the aircraft manufacturer.
Joe was part of the team that obtained a $27 million settlement for a girl (Twin A), now 8-years-old, who suffered serious, permanent injuries during delivery at a Chicago area hospital. In November of 2013, an emergency C-section was performed due to significant heart rate decelerations on Twin B’s fetal monitor strips. The attending obstetrician, an obstetrical resident, and a surgical assistant performed the emergency C-section delivery. Twin A was in the headfirst position, and Twin B was in the buttocks first position. Twin A had to be delivered first to be able to deliver Twin B. Twin A came out severely depressed and required extensive resuscitation. She was diagnosed with a skull fracture and bleeding in multiple areas of her brain. Twin A was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has permanent neurological injuries affecting her mobility and cognition. Twin B did not survive.
In October 2023, Joe worked alongside partner Richard F. Burke, Jr to obtain an $11 million settlement on behalf of a child who was killed and two other occupants, who were seriously injured, when the car they were all riding in was rear-ended by another vehicle. Also in October of 2023 Joe and partners Keith A. Hebeisen and Sarah F. King, obtained a verdict of $10.2 million on behalf of a 49-year-old man whose right leg was amputated in September 2017 as a result of medical malpractice at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, IL.
Joe became a lawyer, first and foremost, to help people. He learned this from a long family line of lawyers and judges. Both of his parents are lawyers, including both serving as legal aid lawyers for several years. His father, Patrick T. Murphy, is a Cook County Circuit Court judge and formerly served as Cook County Public Guardian for 25 years. His mother, Susan Murphy, served for several years as an attorney at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS). His uncle, Michael Murphy, was a Cook County Appellate Court judge before he passed away in 2012, sadly on the same day that Joe passed the Illinois bar examination. Another uncle, Dave Donnersberger, was also a Cook County Circuit Court judge. In total, the family enjoys 19 lawyers, including Joe, at holiday parties.
Joe also serves as a U.S. Army Reserve Officer. His mentor is his grandfather, Tom Sitter, a 99-year-old highly decorated World War II veteran, who pinned on his grandson’s rank of Captain at his promotion ceremony in 2018. His grandfather spent the majority of his life serving in a homeless shelter after the war. He is a tremendous inspiration for Joe and a large part of the reason he first became a public service lawyer, an Army officer, and now a personal injury lawyer. His goal of helping others above all else runs through his veins.
Joe enjoys being active in the legal community. He has served as an investigator on the judicial evaluation committee for the Chicago Bar Association since 2019.
In 2022, Joe was selected as a recipient of the Rising Stars of the Plaintiffs Bar award, which is a recognition given by The National Law Journal. This honor goes to a select group of attorneys who are under the age of 40 and who are up-and-comers in the plaintiff’s bar.
Joe is a decorated Army Captain having received the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service as well as the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
He received his law degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Illinois Wesleyan University.
- 40 Under 40, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2022
- Best Lawyers® in America, 2022
- Rising Stars of the Plaintiffs Bar, National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers, 2022
- Chicago Bar Association, Investigator on the Judicial Evaluation Committee, 2019 – Present