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General Defense
Best, Vanderlaan & Harrington
25 East Washington Street, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois 60602Locate in Google Maps
Telephone: 312-819-1100
Fax: 312-819-8062
E-Mail: BVH@Bestfirm.com
www.bestfirm.com
Practice Areas
About Us
Additional Locations
Client Information
Personnel
High Profile Cases
Established: 1999

Practice Areas
  • Medical Malpractice
  • General Liability
  • Coverage Issues
  • Opinions
  • Declaratory Judgments
  • Automobile
  • Property Damage
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Defense Litigation
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Class Actions
  • Construction Litigation
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction Defect
  • Construction Liability
  • Dram Shop
  • Labor and Employment
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Professional Liability
  • Toxic Torts
  • Trucking
  • Consumer Fraud Litigation
  • Governmental Law
  • Housing Authorities-Compliance and Litigation
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Cases Gone to Trial : 100+

About Us
Our practice is the evolution of a practice started by Jim Best over thirty-five years ago, which has grown into a mid-size firm with a reputation for excellence. We are an AV rated law firm, and several of our attorneys are members of the Leading Lawyers Network in Illinois. Our clients, many of whom have worked with us in multiple matters over a span of years, benefit from our vast experience, dedication to achieving results at reasonable rates and our commitment to quality. Our top priorities are efficient case management and effective communication with our clients. We are accessible to you, our clients, when you need us. We have office locations in Chicago, Naperville, Rockford and Will County, and practice throughout the state of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

At BVH, we are active trial lawyers, concentrating in litigation of civil claims, including all types of tort litigation, commercial litigation, employment law, toxic torts, general negligence and personal injury claims, construction law and professional negligence. We serve as coverage counsel for many local and national insurance carriers, and successfully handle first party, property and bad faith claims, as well as declaratory actions. Our attorneys are skilled in and outside the courtroom, and have tried numerous cases to verdict, including many fatality and catastrophic injury cases in recent years.
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Additional Locations
Naperville, Illinois
1755 Park Street, Suite 260
Naperville, Illinois 60563-8404
Telephone: 630-752-8000
Fax: 630-752-8763
Joliet, Illinois
1000 Essington Road
Joliet, Illinois 60435
Telephone: 815-740-1500
Fax: 815-740-6304
Rockford, Illinois
129 South Phelps Avenue, Suite 800
Rockford, Illinois 61108
Telephone: 815-964-9500
Fax: 815-964-8778
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Client Information
Insurance Clients
AAA Chicago Motor Club Insurance CompanyEMC Insurance Companies
Erie Insurance CompanyIAT Reinsurance Company
Illinois Casualty CompanyLiberty Mutual Insurance
Lloyd's of LondonPark District Risk Management Agency
RIMCO - Risk & Insurance Management CompanySafeco Insurance
Society InsuranceTower Group Companies
TravelersUnitrin Insurance Company
Western National Mutual Insurance CompanyZurich Direct Underwriters
Zurich North America
Non-Insurance Clients
Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund
Self-Insured Clients
AHRMA - Assisted Housing Risk Management AssociationIllinois Municipal League Risk Management Association
Intergovernmental Risk Management AgencyManagement Services, Inc.
Township Officials of Illinois Risk Management Association
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Personnel Information
Partners
James F. Best
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:jbest@bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:42
Practice Areas
  • Civil Litigation
  • Coverage Issues
  • Opinions
  • Declaratory Judgments
  • Insurance Defense
  • Medical Malpractice
Admitted
  • Illinois, 1974
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
Additional Biographical Details:
Super Lawyer; Illinois Leading Lawyer
Memberships:
  • Illinois State, DuPage County (Chairman, Civil Law and Practice Committee, 1985-1987, 1991) and Chicago Bar Associations
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Illinois Defense Counsel
Education:
  • Drake University, B.S., 1971
  • Drake University, J.D., 1974
Born:1949
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Lori A. Vanderlaan, Managing Partner
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:lvanderlaan@bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:21
Practice Areas
  • Civil Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Opinions
  • Coverage Analysis
  • Employment Discrimination
Admitted
  • Illinois, 1995
  • California, 2012
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Additional Biographical Details:
Illinois Leading Lawyers
Memberships:
  • Illinois State and DuPage County Bar Associations
  • Defense Research Institute
Education:
  • University of Illinois, B.A. (with honors), 1989
  • The John Marshall Law School, J.D. (magna cum laude), 1995
Born:1968
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Alison Harrington
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:aharrington@bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:19
Practice Areas
  • Civil Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Municipal Litigation
Admitted
  • Illinois, 1997
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois including Trial Bar
Additional Biographical Details:
Illinois Leading Lawyer
Memberships:
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
Education:
  • The University of Iowa, B.S., 1994
  • Marquette University, J.D., 1997
Born:1971
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Scott McKenna
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:smckenna@bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:20
Practice Areas
  • Civil Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Municipal Litigation
Admitted
  • Illinois, 1996
  • Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois including Trial Bar
Memberships:
  • Illinois State and Chicago Bar Associations
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Education:
  • Loyola University Chicago, B.A., 1993
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 1996
Born:1970
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Thomas J. Costello, III
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:tcostello@bestfirm.com
Web Site:www.bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:12
Practice Areas
  • Civil Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage
  • General Liability
Admitted
  • Illinois, 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
Additional Biographical Details:
Emerging Lawyers by the Leading Lawyers
Memberships:
  • American and Illinois State Bar Associations
Education:
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., 2001
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, J.D. (cum laude), 2004
Born:1979
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Kimberlee Massin
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:kmassin@bestfirm.com
Web Site:www.bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:23
Practice Areas
  • Dram Shop
  • Insurance Defense
Admitted
  • Illinois, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, Central and Northern Districts of Illinois including Trial Bar
Memberships:
  • Illinois State and Will County Bar Associations
Education:
  • Illinois State University, B.S., 1990
  • Southwestern University School of Law, J.D. (SCALE Graduate), 1993
Born:1968
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Fritz V. Wilson
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:fwilson@bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:12
Practice Areas
  • Civil Litigation
  • Estate Planning
  • Real Estate
  • Insurance Defense
Admitted
  • Illinois, 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Memberships:
  • American (Litigation Section), Illinois State, DuPage County and Chicago Bar Associations
Education:
  • Northwestern University, B.S. (with honors), 2000
  • George Mason University School of Law, J.D., 2004
Born:1977
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Allie M. Burnet
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:aburnet@bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:14
Practice Areas
  • Civil Litigation
  • Employment Defense
  • Insurance Defense
Admitted
  • Illinois, 2002
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Memberships:
  • American and Chicago Bar Associations
Education:
  • Boston University, B.S., 1998
  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D. (cum laude), 2002
Born:1976
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Mathew K. Hargrave
Chicago, IL
E-Mail:mhargrave@bestfirm.com
Years of Experience:10
Practice Areas
  • Breach of Contract
  • Civil Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability Defense
  • Property Subrogation
  • Trucking Industry Defense
Admitted
  • Illinois, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2007
Education:
  • Providence College, B.A. Political Science, 2003
  • The John Marshall Law School, J.D., 2006
Born:1981
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High Profile Cases
Estate of Bryan Casey, et al vs The Clusters Improvement Association, et al; Will County Case Number 05 L 223;
Brenda Riley vs Patricia D. Haake, et al, Will County Case Number 05 L 173, Illinois Appellate Court, 3rd Dist. Docket Number 3-09-0452;
Illinois Casualty Company vs Jump Street, Inc., et al, Cook County Case Number 08 CH 31047;
Roseanne Stranski vs Homer Township Highway Department, et al., USDC, Northern Dist of Illinois, Eastern Division Case Number 07 C 4731;
Robert Cloud vs Earle M. Jorgensen, et al, Cook County Case Number 06 L 12600
American States Insurance Company, vs Michael Strick, et al., DuPage County Case Number 05 MR 1140, Illinois Appellate court, 2nd Dist. Docket Number 2-09-1188;
McElmeel, et al vs Safeco Insurance Company, Cook County Case Number 02 CH 8672, Illinois Appellate court, 1st Dist Docket Number 04-1857;
Mary Suarez vs Italian Village Restaurant, Inc., Cook County Case Number 04 L 14581, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st Dist. Docket Number 08-0790.
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(See Joliet, Rockford and Naperville, IL Profiles for additional information)