Two Bike- and Pedestrian-Focused Law Firms Join Forces
The Law Office of Brendan H. Kevenides and the Law Offices of James M. Freeman, both sponsors of Streetsblog Chicago, are merging to create Freeman Kevenides Law Firm. Both firms originally focused on cases involving people who were struck while biking, while Freeman also took on pedestrian crash cases. The new firm will continue the advocacy they’re known for, but with greater strength and frequency, Freeman and Kevenides say.
I interviewed the pair over the phone and email. The following is an edited transcript.
Steven Vance: Why are you two joining forces?
Jim Freeman: We complement each other. He’s going to bring a traditional flair to the firm. I’m sitting here talking to you wearing jeans and a T-shirt, or I might be wearing a jersey with some spandex and cleats. That’s the way I roll, dude. I think that Brendan and I both recognize our community as a team as opposed to competing with one another.
With respect to our litigation skills, I’m an artful negotiator, while Brendan is a trial attorney to the core. Brendan has also established an undeniably dominant presence on the internet. We intend to use his internet presence to educate cyclists about safety and legal issues.
SV: Will this change your two firms’ respective advocacy efforts?
JF: Our hope is that by combining our efforts and skills we will be able to champion causes that we would have been unable to take otherwise. It can be tough for a sole practitioner to take on a pro-bono case or to undertake advocacy efforts that don’t pay the bills. We anticipate that our partnership will make it easier for both of us to advocate on behalf of our client base in a scope that extends well beyond helping injured people on an individual basis.
Sometimes you have to take on small cases that mean big things for the community or the individual. Our livelihood is built around handling big injury cases and we now have the luxury to be rich and self-righteous.
SV: How will FK Law Firm be different than other firms?
Brendan Kevenides: There are other personal injury law firms that will take on a bicycle crash case. But ours is the only one in Illinois, and in the region for that matter (as far as I know anyway), that is dedicated to representing only bicyclists and pedestrians. We don’t dabble in anything else. We are 100 percent committed to representing these vulnerable road users throughout Illinois. Everyone in our firm is a cyclist working for cyclists. No matter who you may speak with at the firm you will always be talking to someone who “gets it.”
SV: Can you give me an example of a case that you would take on that other firms wouldn’t?
JF: We take clients who are the subject of bigotry for whatever reason – they don’t get a fair shake from anybody. I had a client recently who, because of who she was, didn’t have anyone take her seriously. She had a $700-900 property damage claim and you could tell that with everyone from the cop to the witnesses to the insurance company, no one was taking her seriously. We got her property damage claim taken care of. And it cost us money. That was very important to the client, because it was her transportation and her job. I don’t like people pushing around my people.
SV: What will people notice with the new firm? More online content?
BK: The Chicago Bicycle Advocate blog, with some upcoming style changes, will continue to cover issues important to bicyclists, particularly those in Illinois. We plan to use the blog to continue to provide insights into bicycle law and cycling safety. A new law firm website is also in the works that will provide information about Jim and I, our very dedicated staff and our mission. It’s our hope that the new site will offer cyclists the information they need to help them choose legal representation following a crash.
The new website for Freeman Kevenides Law Firm should be live on June 1.