Stephen Swofford is an appellate law practitioner. He has handled more than 500 appeals, frequently appearing in the United States Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Illinois, as well as briefing cases to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Stephen's appellate cases encompass a broad range of substantive legal areas, including professional liability, commercial liability, products liability, insurance coverage, ERISA litigation and governmental liability cases, and have included class actions.

Stephen has obtained many multimillion-dollar reversals of judgments, including a $26.5 million judgment against an insurance company, a $9.3 million judgment against a major drug company and a $6.4 million judgment against a healthcare organization.

Professional Background

Stephen is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a national, invitation-only organization recognizing outstanding appellate practitioners. He is also a past President of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association. As chairman of the Supreme Court Rules Committee of the Appellate Lawyers Association, Stephen acquired an intimate familiarity with appellate procedures and authored a proposal that resulted in the redrafting of the Illinois rules affecting appeals.

Prior to joining Hinshaw in May 1978, Stephen served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois.

Stephen is a past leader of the firm's Appellate Practice Group. Its members include attorneys who have practiced in the United States Supreme Court, every federal circuit of appeals and state reviewing courts throughout the country.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Fellow
  • Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, Former President
    • Supreme Court Rules Committee, Chairman

Honors & Awards

  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Appellate Practice, 2007 – 2022
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® as the Appellate Practice "Lawyer of the Year" in Chicago, 2021
  • Recognized on the Super Lawyers list by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2005 – 2021
  • Recognized by his peers as a "Leading Lawyer" in the area of Civil Appellate Law
  • Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability


Stephen has also given presentations concerning physician liability for managed care practices before the American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine and the American Society of Medical Association Counsel. His presentations include "To See and Foresee: The Pro-Active Use of Monitoring and Appellate Counsel at Trial," at Hinshaw’s Annual Insurance Services Symposium, in Chicago, Illinois, October 2010.


Stephen has lectured on various aspects of appellate practice at programs sponsored by the Appellate Lawyers Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association, and the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE). 

He has authored several chapters on appellate topics for IICLE. The topics on which he has written or spoken include:

  • "Preserving Points for Review"
  • "Appealable Orders"
  • "Practical Aspects of Filing and Presenting an Appeal"
  • "Appellate Motion Practice"
  • "The Record on Appeal"
  • "Oral Argument on Appeal"
  • "Further Appeals"

J.D., with honors, The John Marshall Law School, 1975

B.S., Northwestern University, 1969