Dennis J. Cotter

Partner
Dennis Cotter, SmithAmundsen LLC Photo

Overview

Litigating cases involving high-stakes multi-million dollar exposures is nothing new to Dennis. As a senior member of the firm’s business and general litigation group, he has been defending construction, industrial and commercial clients in the courtroom for more than 30 years, in cases ranging from catastrophic injury, construction defect, commuter rail and FELA and commercial contract disputes, to product liability, medical malpractice, professional liability and more. He is no stranger to the courtroom, having successfully represented clients in jury trials his entire career. Consequently, clients routinely seek Dennis’ guidance and advice regarding problematic disputes and whether to seek early resolution or win at trial. He is a key member of the firm’s catastrophic loss and emergency response teams, as well as the OSHA practice. 

Dennis encourages his clients to remain involved and proactive during litigation, testing theories and strategies and asking the tough questions about the issues and outcomes. It is in this way that he learns more about his clients’ businesses, and as a result, becomes not only their litigation counsel, but a trusted business colleague as well. 

Dennis also provides general legal consulting to his clients, including preparation of contracts, developing strategies to protect their businesses from risk, and more. The lessons learned litigating complex disputes have provided him real life education about how to avoid those litigated issues in the future. In spite of his active trial practice, as a trained mediator, Dennis appreciates that the best resolution to a business dispute, if possible, is a business solution, not litigation. 

Dennis is a founding member of the firm. As a senior member of the general litigation group and founder and co-chair of the construction practice group, Dennis supervises a team providing comprehensive litigation and transactional services to many lines of business, including the construction industry. Dennis influences the strategic direction of the firm, ensuring each of our attorneys is working to exceed client expectations in every area of practice.

Experience

Membership & Involvement

  • Member: SmithAmundsen Executive Committee
  • Co-chair, Construction Law Committee: IDC
  • Member: Associated General Contractors of America; American Subcontractors' Association; Attorney's Council; Northern Illinois Building Contractors' Association; DRI Construction Law Committee; Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association; Highway Work Zone Safety; MAASTRO Reg AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Jt. Committee
  • Former Chair, Former Immediate Past Vice Chair: USLAW Network Construction Practice Group

Honors

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated
  • Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers List: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Selected to The Best Lawyers in America© in Construction Law: 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • Selected by the Leading Lawyers Network as a "Leading Lawyer" in construction law

Resources & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Published Works

Education on Demand

Education

DePaul University College of Law, J.D.

University of Notre Dame, B.B.A., Accounting

Admissions

  • Illinois
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