LANCE D. NORTHCUTT is a trial lawyer and partner at GWC Injury Lawyers who leads GWC’s Specialty Litigation Practice.
In his role within GWC’s Specialty Litigation Practice, Mr. Northcutt handles a broad range of high stakes matters, with particular emphasis on complex commercial/fraud claims, civil rights actions, white collar criminal defense and “bet the company” emergency litigation. His current representative matters span an array of subjects, including misappropriation of trade secrets, emergency injunctive relief, breach of fiduciary duty, Section 1983 litigation and spearheading responses to federal criminal and civil investigations. In addition, Mr. Northcutt handles catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases in support of GWC’s core focus.
A former Cook County prosecutor and law enforcement officer, Lance Northcutt is a passionate courtroom advocate who represents clients in cases through trial and on appeal. Lance has successfully handled numerous sensitive and complex matters on behalf of clients who faced imminent threats to their livelihood or liberty, often in high-profile cases.
At the state and federal level, Mr. Northcutt’s proven track record of achievement has involved taking on the most challenging cases that require the ability to navigate different areas of the law in order to deliver a winning litigation strategy. His work includes leading large-scale investigations and the representation of professionals who face great risk in civil litigation, criminal investigations and proceedings before regulatory bodies.
As a legal educator, Mr. Northcutt has more than a decade of experience teaching trial advocacy, evidence and advocacy-related legal ethics in the United States and Ireland. An Adjunct Professor of Law since 2005, Mr. Northcutt served as the Assistant Director of Advocacy at The John Marshall Law School and now teaches at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law where he leads Kent’s International Comparative Advocacy Program in Dublin, Ireland in cooperation with The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, the Bar Council of Ireland and the Irish Supreme Court. In 2013, he was named both Adjunct Professor of the Year and Outstanding Trial Team Coach at Chicago-Kent.
As a faculty member of the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Mr. Northcutt has taught courses to newly admitted lawyers on procedural and substantive law. He has been a moderator, panelist and featured speaker in multiple seminars before the bench and bar and is frequently called upon by national media outlets to comment on noteworthy cases.
Mr. Northcutt is a prolific writer with multiple published works to his credit, including an editorial that earned him a national award from the American Bar Association and others which have appeared in the Chicago Bar Association Journal and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. His most recent articles, “First, Do No Harm” and “Illinois Evidence: A Code at Long Last,” were featured in the Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Journal.
Lance is a Chicago native who graduated from The John Marshall Law School where he was a member of The John Marshall Law Review, a Morrissey Scholar, Editor-in-Chief of two publications and winner of the Hertzog Academic Scholarship and the Kissane Award for Public Service. He is an active member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Association and the Illinois Bar Association. In 2015, Mr. Northcutt was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve as a Commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.
In addition to his work at GWC and in academia, Mr. Northcutt serves on the Board of Directors for the International Institute for Animal Law and volunteers for FSMA (Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy).
Mr. Northcutt is licensed to practice law before the Illinois Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
- Successfully prosecuted two high-profile police shooting cases in 2016, securing favorable outcomes in civil rights claims with highly disputed liability and underlying criminal charges which preceded the civil lawsuits.
- Obtained a rarely granted supervisory order from the Illinois Supreme Court in a wrongful death case the Illinois Court of Appeals once called “a unique case of first impression.” In later proceedings, successfully defended a 2.5 million dollar sanctions motion before the trial court.
- Successfully defended the fleet captain of a major transportation company against federal criminal charges and civil penalties in a case where the U.S. Attorney’s Office had formally notified the client of their intent to issue a criminal indictment. After taking a lead role in the underlying internal investigation and negotiations with federal prosecutors, no charges of any kind were filed and no fine against the company was assessed at the conclusion of the case.
- After years of hard-fought litigation, Northcutt secured a favorable settlement in 2016 in a novel wrongful death case alleging violations of the Illinois Drug Dealer Liability Act and negligence on the part of a homeowner where the death occurred.
- Successfully defended a former Chicago Police Officer in a federal action alleging civil and criminal violations of the Illinois Eavesdropping Act and federal eavesdropping laws.
- Successfully prosecuted an appeal against the Department of Children and Family Services to reverse an erroneous finding that an active duty Navy service member and his wife were negligent in the accidental death of their toddler.
- Successfully prosecuted a civil lawsuit alleging fraud and violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act against a hazardous waste disposal company. In that case, the defendant settled after the trial had begun and Mr. Northcutt delivered his opening statement outlining the Plaintiff’s case.
- After securing an acquittal before a jury in the criminal trial of a client falsely accused of resisting arrest, Northcutt successfully prosecuted a federal civil rights lawsuit against police officers who beat his client during the underlying arrest.
- Defeated an emergency temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on behalf of a media company client whose competitor alleged misappropriation of trade secrets and breaches of fiduciary duty.
- Successfully defended a suburban family against false charges of neglect brought by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in relation to the tragic accidental death of their small child.
- Successfully prosecuted a claim against an insurance carrier in a declaratory judgment action in which the carrier attempted to deny coverage to the insured client in a structural collapse.
- Successfully defended a title insurance company at the trial court and appellate levels from false allegations of forgery and conversion, securing for the client a dismissal of the case with prejudice and an award of attorney’s fees as a sanction under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137. The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the dismissal and sanction award of the trial court, despite it being a case of first impression on the issue.
- Successfully prosecuted and defended defamation actions on behalf of private citizens and public figures.
- Tried to verdict hundreds of cases before judge and juries.
Selected Media Citations:
- CNN: Lance Northcutt, one of the lead GWC attorneys for the family of a 7th grade boy attacked by a classmate as school, was interviewed live by Ashleigh Banfield of CNN’s Headline News, February 23, 2017. See related coverage: ABC, CBS, NBC, WGN, FOX32, Daily Mail, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, New York Daily News, February 10-24, 2017.
- Chicago Tribune. “Third of Police Shootings Started With Foot Chase.” September 7, 2016.
- Chicago Tribune. Attorney Lance Northcutt files defamation lawsuit on behalf of respected surgeon. July 25, 2014.
- Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: “A Loss for the U.S. and Ireland: Judge Adrian Hardiman.” Attorney Lance Northcutt reflects on the untimely death of Irish Supreme Court Justice Adrian Hardiman. May 19, 2016.
- CBS News Chicago. Attorney Lance Northcutt interviewed on lawsuit alleging excessive force in police shooting of Chicago teen. January 22, 2016.
- Chicago Tribune. “Long Inquiry Before Charges in Laquan McDonald Shooting Prompts Scrutiny.” Attorney Lance Northcutt comments on police shooting case. November 25, 2015.
- Chicago Tribune. “Judge orders release of suburban officer charged in death of man, 95” November 25, 2014.
- Chicago Tribune. “Judge OK’s Special Prosecutor in Kochman Case,” April 7, 2012.
- Reuters: Attorney Lance Northcutt comments on the Sandusky/Penn State case. “Sandusky’s Risky Legal Playbook Seen as ‘Mind-Boggling,’” Reuters, November 15, 2011.
- Time Magazine: Adjunct Professor Lance Northcutt interviewed on the Blagojevich corruption trial by Time. August 14, 2010.
- ABC News Chicago “When Will Illinois Supreme Court Rule on Rahm,” interview, January 25, 2011.
- NPR (National Public Radio): Professor Lance Northcutt interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered, June 3, 2011.
- Time Magazine. “Blagojevich Argues With Prosecutors, Imperils his Defense,” June 3, 2011. Adjunct Professor Lance Northcutt interviewed on developments in the Blagojevich case.
- Chicago Sun-Times. “White Collar Cons Often Get Months to Report to Prison,” December 8, 2011. Lance Northcutt comments on sentencing in white collar cases.
- Fox News: “Appeal is Last Hope to Cut Sentence.” December 8, 2011.
- NPR (National Public Radio): “Appeal is Blagojevich’s Last Hope,” National Public Radio (interview for “All Things Considered”), December 9, 2011.
- WBBM Radio Chicago “John Marshall Law School Program Acquaints Irish Attorneys to American Law,” (interview with John Cody), August 14, 2010.
- Time Magazine. “Blagojevich Spent All His Campaign Funds on Legal Fees,” August 14, 2010.
- New York Times. “Blagojevich Team Scrambles After a Quick Prosecution,” July 15, 2010.