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James H. Whalen is an associate of Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis, Ltd. and a member of the firm's tort defense, product liability and commercial litigation practice groups. He focuses his practice on construction, business, commercial, product liability, employment discrimination and premises liability litigation in state and federal courts and before state administrative bodies.

Mr. Whalen has extensive experience in disputes arising from construction worksite accidents, representing general contractors and subcontractors. He has defended contractors in high-stakes injury and wrongful death cases involving claims of negligence, unsafe construction practices and failure to provide a safe worksite, as well as breach of contract and contractual indemnity claims related to construction projects. His representations have included contractors such as Leopardo Companies, Inc., Martin Petersen Company, Inc., Edwards Steel Construction Company, Inc. and Huen Electric, Inc.

In his tort defense practice, Mr. Whalen has defended premises liability cases on behalf of municipalities such as the Village of Hoffman Estates, Ill., construction contractors, and multi-purpose arenas. He also has defended waste disposal and recycling companies in personal injury litigation resulting from catastrophic injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents and during the use of industrial machinery.

In addition, Mr. Whalen has litigated product liability cases involving a variety of products, including automotive components and automobile tires. He currently represents a major brake and clutch manufacturer in asbestos litigation.

Mr. Whalen has represented corporations and limited liability companies in commercial litigation matters involving breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and commercial torts, and has represented consumers in commercial disputes related to class litigation.

Mr. Whalen also represents a consumer lending corporation with operations in Illinois in matters related to statutory and administrative regulation of the consumer lending industry.

In the employment area, Mr. Whalen has defended employment staffing agencies, law firms and restaurants in Title VII discrimination cases, employment contract disputes and other employment-related matters.

Mr. Whalen began his legal career in Chicago representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases. Prior to joining Williams Montgomery & John, he practiced for four years at another Chicago-based civil litigation firm where he represented real property developers, motor vehicle dealers, lending companies, food manufacturers and family owned businesses as both plaintiff and defendant in commercial litigation matters involving breach of contract, fraud and disputes under the Uniform Commercial Code, and defended his clients in consumer class action litigation.


  • Mr. Whalen received a B.A. in history in 2000 from Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., where he also obtained minor degrees in Spanish, economics and business. He received his J.D. in 2004 from the DePaul University College of Law.


  • Illinois Bar, 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2004

Practice Areas:

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Product Liability
  • Construction
  • Labor & Employment

Professional Activities

Mr. Whalen is active in a number of professional and civic organizations, including:

  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC)
  • Chicago Bar Association: Civil Practice Committee, Commercial Litigation Committee
  • Illinois State Bar Association


  • Chapter on "Negligence and Warranty Theories of Product Liability," (co-author), Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Illinois Product Liability Practice, July 2009.