Kevin M. Forde

2018 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Seventh Circuit

Kevin M. Forde has been selected to receive the prestigious 2018 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Seventh Circuit. He will be presented with the award by the Chief Judge Diane P. Wood at the Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference in Chicago in late April.

Forde is an attorney in private practice in Chicago, where he concentrates on commercial litigation, including both trials and appeals. He has acted as counsel in a number of important cases involving constitutional law, class action and shareholder derivative claims, breach of contract claims, legal malpractice defense, and product liability claims. He was the principal drafter and proponent of Illinois’ first class-action statute. He is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago Law School.

Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel retained Forde as trial counsel and appellate counsel in his quest to establish that he had met the city’s one-year residency requirement to run for the office. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which unanimously reversed the Appellate Court and permitted Emanuel to pursue his ultimately successful campaign.

Forde is a Master of the Bench of the Chicago American Inn of Court. He has served as president of the Chicago Bar Association and of the Seventh Circuit Federal Defenders’ Program. In 2014, he received the CBA’s Justice John Paul Stevens Award, which is given to lawyers who best exemplify the qualities of integrity and character. From 1984 to 2009, he served as chair of the Compensation Review Board for the State of Illinois, which sets proposed salary levels for Illinois constitutional officers, legislators, judges, and agency heads. Under his leadership, the salaries of Illinois judges rose from among the lowest in the United States to the highest. In 2014, he received a certificate of appreciation from the Federal Judges Association.