Ed Murnane, a leader in the state's legal reform movement, has been tapped to help lead the American Tort Reform Association.
ATRA's board of directors announced this week that they chose Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League, to serve as the organization's chairman.
The Illinois Civil Justice League, under Murnane's leadership, has been "a formidable advocate for civil justice" in the Land of Lincoln, ATRA President Sherman "Tiger" Joyce said in a statement.
Murnane, a resident of Arlington Heights, lives in Cook County, which is considered by ATRA to be a perennial "judicial hellhole" for allowing frivolous lawsuits to flourish and awarding plaintiffs what the group calls exorbitant damage awards.
As ATRA's new chairman, Murnane said he would share the lessons he's learned from his work in Illinois to improve the state's legal climate.
"The ICJL has worked with judges there and elsewhere around the state, and with lawmakers and governors at the state Capitol, to improve fairness and predictably in our courts and to keep the aggressive personal injury bar from further eroding our state's economy and the public's respect for the rule of law," Murnane said.
Murnane has served on ATRA's board of directors since 1997. He served in the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He served for three years as the U.S. Small Business Administration's regional administrator for the Midwest.
Joyce said Murnane's experience as a civil justice leader in Illinois will prove to be "invaluable," as Washington-based ATRA moves forward.
"With the current political climate favoring the influential litigation industry as much as it does in Congress, ATRA is focusing considerable energy on state legislatures where we're working to defend against a new wave of 'trial lawyer earmarks' and 'tort deform' bills designed to expand liability and increase the number of lawsuits," he said.
Joyce added, No one's better suited than Ed to advise and guide ATRA's defensive efforts."