Daley Mohan Groble news room - attorney activities

Sometimes Moving to a Small Firm Ends Up Being the Right Fit

Richard T. Sikes Jr. said Monday that he has expanded his trial practice after joining the Chicago law firm of Daley Mohan Groble P.C. from a larger firm.

When Sikes joined Freeborn & Peters LLP about 20 years ago, he was among about two dozen lawyers at the firm. Freeborn & Peters now comprises about 120 lawyers, while the Daley Mohan firm, in existence since 1995, stands at 17 lawyers. Sikes left Freeborn & Peters for the Daley Mohan firm about six months ago.

"Now that I'm back in this smaller atmosphere where I know everybody and everybody's doing the same thing I am, it's more fun to come to work," Sikes said Monday. "I feel like a part of everything that's going on."

Sikes, 55, has focused on representing railroads on matters relating to general liability, commercial litigation and defending against civil rights claims.

Sikes and Randall G. Vickery, a Freeborn & Peters partner, said Sikes left that firm on good terms.

"Rich is an outstanding trial lawyer, and we were sorry to see him go," said Vickery, the firm's managing partner, client relations. "He is very much a friend of the firm."

Sikes and co-counsel Kathryn C. Thomas and Patrick J. Woytek, who are Freeborn & Peters partners, are set to represent the Illinois Department in a trial set to begin during April in the Cook County Circuit Court.

Sikes said he missed out on opportunities while with the Freeborn & Peters firm to represent railroads and the City of Chicago in civil rights cases.

Freeborn & Peters, which concentrates on commercial litigation, "was not viewed as the go-to firm" for railroad and civil rights matters, Sikes said.

"What I want to do is try cases in the railroad, transportation and civil rights areas," Sikes said. "This is just a much better fit for what I want to do going forward."

Since he joined the Daley Mohan firm, the firm has received about 10 civil rights cases from the City of Chicago, Sikes said. Those matters include Sikes' defense of former Chicago police commander Jon Burge in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Alton Logan alleging civil rights violations. That case is Alton Logan v. Jon Burge, et al., No. 09 C 5471.

Sikes and Daniel J. Mohan, a principal of the Daley Mohan firm, have known one another for about 20 years. Mohan described the two men as "friendly competitors."

Nearly a year ago, Mohan said he asked Sikes if he was tired of working at a large Sikes if he was tired of working at a large sions that led Sikes joining the smaller firm.

"The clients love him," Mohan said. "The associates all like to work for him."

Mohan and Sikes now work together representing the BNFS Railway Co. and other clients.

Within about the last year, the Daley Mohan firm has added four associates, Mohan said.

Sikes' "coming on board definitely added to the need for more associates," Mohan said Monday.

"What we're finding... is that the quality of the associates that a small firm can attract now is much improved," Mohan said. "The associates we have been able to attract recently are absolutely the highest quality."

The four associates are Johner T. Wilson III, Alison L. Helin, Brian T. George and Andrew J. Foreman, Mohan said.

The Daley, Mohan firm expects to add another veteran lawyer and an associate within the next three to six months, Mohan said.

"We think with [Sikes] here and with the group we got together, we're in a position to expand some of our practice areas," Mohan said. "We have the critical mass now where we're able to handle almost any casualty or commercial litigation matter that we might face."

View the original article from The Law Bulletin (PDF)

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