John W. Bell

John W. Bell: Attorney with Johnson & Bell, Ltd. AV stamp icon
  • Shareholder/ VP at Johnson & Bell, Ltd. (103 Attorneys)
  • 33 West Monroe Street, Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60603-5404
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Attorney Awards


John W. Bell is co-founder and vice president of Johnson & Bell, as well as one of the firm’s managing partners. He concentrates his practice in product liability and defense of complex/catastrophic litigation, with a focus on defense of personal injury litigation.

Mr. Bell’s experience is vast, including high-profile cases, now featured in many reputable law journals.

The Best Lawyers in America has included Bell each year since 1995. Chicago Lawyer magazine has also named him one of the Top 20 Tort Defense Lawyers in Chicago. Additionally, Chicago Magazine’s Super Lawyers named him in 2009 as one of the “Top 10 Attorneys in Illinois.”

Mr. Bell has also been featured in the National Law Journal for successful defense verdicts, most notably for one of the best defense verdicts of 2000. In 2002, DRI’s For the Defense magazine also featured Mr. Bell as a “Member of the Month,” highlighting defense lawyers and their impact on the public good.

A frequent faculty speaker to various professional associations, Mr. Bell has written articles on various aspects of trial practice. Mr. Bell belongs to the Illinois, Chicago and American Bar Association, as well as the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois. His other memberships include the Defense Research Institute, the Society of Trial Lawyers, the International Association of Insurance Defense Counsel, and the Federal Trial Bar.

He holds several leadership roles: Mr. Bell is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and he is past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates Illinois Chapter.


The Best Lawyers in America each year since 1995

DRImagazine featured Bell as a “Member of the Month, 2002

• Featured in the National Law Journal for successful defense verdicts, including most notably for one of the best defense verdicts of 2000

Illinois Super Lawyers 2004-2019

• Top 20 Tort Defense Lawyers,” Chicago Lawyer, January 2003

Chicago Lawyer magazine named one of the Top 20 Tort Defense Lawyers in Chicago

Jury Verdict Reporter recipient of the 2016 Defense Attorney Achievement Award

• Leading Lawyer 2017,2018

Presentations & Publications


•John W. Bell and Robert R. McNamara, “And The Defense Wins,” DRI, Feb. 29, 2012
•ABOTA President’s Page
•John W. Bell Section of Litigation American Bar Association Trial Practice 2008 - “A Defendant’s Perspective on Settling Cases During Trial”
•John W. Bell and Kevin G. Owens National Law Journal, “94 Million Crane-Collapse Award Erased,” October 2003
National Law Journal, “Defense Wins in Brain Injury Case,” September 2002
•John W. Bell and William G. Beatty National Law Journal, “The Best Defense,” March 2001
•“Court Douses Fireman’s Suit; City Wins the Same Case Twice,” Chicago Lawyer, February 1998
•Chapter Writer: IICLE Interrogatories, 2006 and 1998 Revisions, “Averting a Crisis in Product Liability,” Illinois Bar Journal, 1977
•Chapter Writer: “Illinois Civil Discovery Practice,” IICLE, 1979; November and December, 1983, November, 1994
Chicago Bar Record, “Defense of Back Injury Cases,” reprinted in July, August 1984 Case and Comment


Association of Equipment Manufacturers

•“Lessons Learned in the Courtroom,” Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability Seminars, Westin O’Hare, Rosemont, IL, April 29, 2010

Chicago Bar Association:

•“Cross-Examination for the Defendants,” 1983
•“Proving and Disproving Damages in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases,” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, March, 1985
•“Defense of Crane Contact Electrocution Cases,” Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Proving/Disputing Plaintiff’s Damages, September 29, 1988
•“Proving/Disputing Pain, Suffering and Disability,” Continuing Legal Education Seminars, Oct. 30, 1990
•“Summer Boot Camp for Aspiring Litigators, Closing Arguments,” Aug. 19, 1994
•“Deposition Strategies,” May 8, 1995
•“Trends in Personal Injury Litigation/Wrongful Death,” The CBA Young Lawyers Section’s Trial
•“Superstars on Presenting Your Case,” Oct. 16, 2009

City of Chicago - Department of Law:

•“10 Rules for Effective Depositions,” Chicago, Illinois, November 15, 2005
•Defense Research Institute:
•“Fire & Casualty Seminar, Defending and Mitigation Damages in the Large Property Damages
•Case, Phoenix,” Arizona, 2003
•“Becoming A Preeminent Trial Lawyer, Handling of the Defense Economist or Life Care Expert; Plaintiff’s Opening Statement,” Chicago, Oct. 1, 2005
•“Handling of the Defense Economist or Life Care Expert; Third Defendant’s Closing Argument,” Damages Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 16-17, 2006
•“Preeminent Lawyer - Superstars of Trial Seminar, Handling of the Defendant’s Economist or
•Life Care Expert,” Sept. 28-30, 2006
•“Empathy, Sympathy and Kindness from a Defense Perspective,” Damages Seminar, Las Vegas, March 17-19, 2010

Edison Electric Institute:

•Denver, Colorado, October, 1985 Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company:
•Advanced Casualty Seminar, “Handling of the Defendant’s Economist or Life Care Expert,” Oct. 6, 2006

Illinois Defense Council:

•22nd Annual Defense Tactics Seminar, “Demonstrative Evidence in Product Liability Cases,” March 8, 1986
•2010 Claims & Defense Tactics Symposium, “Trends in High Exposure & Complex Tort Litigation,” March 25, 2010

Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education:

•Interrogatories, 1979
•Drafting Interrogatories, 1981
•Defense Preparation and Trial Procedures, 1982
•Preparation of a Products Liability Case-3d Party Actions, 1982

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association:

•Education Seminar, Products Liability/Wrongful Death, January 11, 1992
•Education Seminar, Defenses and Instructions - “Defendant’s Perspective”, January 9, 1993
•Education Seminar, Product Liability Litigation - “Examination of Experts at Trial, Defendant’s Perspective”, January 8, 1994
•Education Seminar, “Defenses of Misuse, Assumption of Risk, Employer Liability, Statute of Repose,” Jan. 13, 1996
•Mr. Bell was also a faculty member of the International Association of Defense Council Trial Academy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 1994

National Electrical Manufacturers Association:

•Crisis Management - “We’ve All Been There,” Chicago, Illinois, September 13, 2005
•SAE International: Product Liability Overview: “Claims, Defenses and Damages,” Downers Grove, Ill., Nov. 14, 2005

Areas of Practice (3)

  • Complex / Catastrophic
  • Mediation
  • Product Liability

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
(312) 984-0241  Phone
University Attended:
Northwestern University, B.S., 1968
Law School Attended:
Loyola University, J.D., cum laude, 1971
Year of First Admission:
1995, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois; 2009, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin; 1994, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois; 1996, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana; 1971, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois; 1995, U.S. Court of Federal Claims; 1971, Illinois


•fellow of International Academy of Trial Lawyers

•fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers

•Past President of American Board of Trial Advocates Illinois Chapter

•International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, faculty member, 1994

•American Bar Association

•Chicago Bar Association

•Illinois State Bar Association

•Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

•Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois

•The Society of Trial Lawyers



Birth Information:
Chicago, Illinois, May 3, 1946

Peer Reviews

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Chicago, Illinois

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