CHICAGO – The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC) has elected attorney, Rick Hammond, as its 2009-2010 President.

Hammond practices in the Chicago law firm of Johnson & Bell, Ltd. He will be installed as IDC's new president at the association's annual meeting, June 12 at the Union League Club in Chicago.

Hammond said Illinois is at a critical juncture for its common law system.

"We hear a lot about the scales of justice, but the reality is, those scales are not always as balanced as they should be," Hammond said. "Our goal is to foster a more level playing field in the court room," Hammond said of the nearly 1,000 member association.

Hammond takes over the helm of the association with plans to build upon IDC's increased visibility at the State Capitol.

"Historically, the plaintiff's bar has had a powerful and well funded voice in Springfield. Every session sees the introduction of new pro-plaintiff legislation. It's the job of the IDC to ensure that any new legislation being proposed is fair and equitable for defendants. In that regard, you can expect to see us in Springfield, taking a very active role to combat assaults on fairness in Illinois law."

He is the first African American to be elected President of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel in its 45 year history.

"My election speaks to the IDC's receptivity to diversity, and that is worth mentioning. However, I see myself as just another hardworking, valued member of the IDC, who climbed the rungs to leadership, like many before me."

Hammond concentrates his practice on property insurance coverage, arson and fraud and bad faith litigation.

He received the 2008 Lexis Nexis Insurance Law Center's honorable mention "Insurance Lawyer of the Year Award." He was recognized by Lexis Nexis and his peers as "one of the attorneys who did the most in 2008 to effectively advance insurer positions and improve insurance law from the perspective of insurers."

He is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, DRI, and the ABA where he has served as vice-chair of its Property Insurance Law Committee. He also serves as general counsel for the Insurance Committee for Arson Control, a national insurance trade group, and is on the board of the Insurance School of Chicago.

He has been widely published in numerous journals and magazines, and he is a frequent presenter at national insurance industry and bar association conferences.

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