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Pat Eckler builds superior client relationships to address their litigation needs and applies his wide range of skills to aid in resolving disputes. Pat handles a variety of civil disputes in state and federal courts across Illinois and Indiana. His practice has evolved from primarily representing insurers in coverage disputes to managing complex litigation in which he represents professionals, businesses and tort defendants. His record of success includes numerous summary judgments, several successful trial results, and multiple favorable appellate results.

In addition to representing lawyers, Pat represents design professionals, accountants, and insurance brokers. His commercial litigation experience involves complex contract disputes and defense of class-action lawsuits. Pat’s coverage practice for insurers and the insured involves commercial general liability and personal lines policies, issues involving the duties to defend and indemnify, bad faith and the application of exclusions. His tort defense work involves representing spans the representations of product manufacturers and distributors, trucking concerns and premises owners. Drawing on his experience as a college basketball coach, Pat has also represented a coach before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Pat is active in the organized defense bar both at the state and national level. He is a committee chair, columnist and board member with both the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel and the Professional Liability Defense Federation. He focuses his recent work for the IDC on legislative activities, and he has spearheaded efforts to defeat or modify legislation that would harm civil defendants, insurers, and corporations and is working to defeat a proposed change to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules that would eliminate evidence depositions. He also advocates for legislation that would level the playing field in civil actions between plaintiffs and defendants.

Pat has published extensively in professional journals on a wide range of topics, including legal ethics, attorney-client privilege and Illinois and Federal civil procedure. He has also published on substantive areas of law ranging from products liability and toxic torts to premises liability and claims against accountants. Special attention in his writings has focused on issues related to completing settlements, including contending with Medicare Secondary Payer requirements and Illinois’ prompt payment statute, 735 ILCS 5/2-2301.

Pat studied ancient Egyptian language at the University of Chicago, where he earned his degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. After completing his undergraduate studies, he taught history and coached high school and college basketball for three years before attending law school at the University of Florida. In his final semester of law school, Pat served as a certified legal intern with the Public Defenders’ Office of the 8th Judicial Circuit, where he represented defendants in misdemeanor criminal cases.


  • University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law, J.D. 2003   
  • University of Chicago, A.B. 1998

Bar Admissions  

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Florida
  • United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – Trial Bar
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois  
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

Related Practices

Professional Experience

Professional Affiliations

  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
    • Board Member
    • Chair, Legislative Committee
    • Columnist Civil Procedure & Practice, IDC Quarterly
  • Professional Liability Defense Federation
    • President-Elect (2019-2020)
    • Treasurer (2017-2019)
    • Editor, Professional Liability Defense Quarterly (2016-present)
    • Professional Liability Defense Quarterly, Legal Columnist (2017-present)

Recognition and Awards

  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Meritorious Service Award, 2018 
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Volunteer of the Year Award, 2016 
  • David C. Hilliard Award for Outstanding Committee Service, Chicago Bar Association, YLS Tort Litigation Committee, 2011—2012
  • Chicago Bar Association YLS Rising Star Award, 2011

Publications and Speeches


Domination Theory As An Exception to Statute of Limitations Explained

  Pretzel & Stouffer partner, Donald Eckler, together with Alice Sherren published an article in the Professional Liability Defense Quarterly entitled “Everybody Wants to Rule the World: Adverse Domination and Legal Malpractice Claims.” See the article below. The article discusses the adverse domination theory as an exception to the statute of limitations in relation to ...

January 2020 | Firm News

Donald Eckler Attends Illinois Defense Counsel’s Strategic Planning Session

Pretzel & Stouffer partner, Donald Eckler, attended the strategic planning meeting for the Illinois Defense Counsel last weekend. The IDC is the leading organization for Illinois civil defense practitioners He serves as a board member, chair of the legislative committee, and civil practice columnist for the IDC Quarterly.

September 2019 | Firm News

Pretzel Attorneys and Staff Participate in Race Judicata

  Pretzel & Stouffer attorneys and staff, David Bennett, Donald Eckler, Jonathan Federman, Quinn Donnelly, Aimee Alvarez, Alex Beehler, Caitlin Donohue, Scott Howie, Kelly Kono, Mary Norris, Paula Villela, and Calvin Townsend, ran in Race Judicata last night. The 5K race benefits Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.    

September 2019 | Community

Jim Sipchen, Pat Eckler and Alex Beehler Pen Article Regarding Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability Claims

Pretzel & Stouffer attorneys, Jim Sipchen, Donald Eckler, and Alex Beehler, recently published a feature article in the Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly entitled: “Another Chink in the Armor: The Illinois Supreme Court;’s Sienna Court Decision Narrows the Applicability of Breach of the Implied Warranty of Habitability Claims.”   The Supreme Court opinion overruled the First ...

July 2019 | Firm News

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Publish Article on Sole Proximate Cause

Pretzel & Stouffer attorneys, Donald Eckler and Paula Villela, published an article in the Illinois Association of Defense Counsel Quarterly (IDC) analyzing the decision in Douglas v. Arlington Park Racecourse, LLC, 2018 IL App (1st) 162962 in which the court held that instructing the jury on sole proximate cause was appropriate where the defendant presented ...

July 2019 | Firm News


Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Obtain Two Summary Judgments in One Day for Insurers

Two motions for summary judgment granted for two clients in two counties on one day.  Donald Eckler, Matthew Ligda, and Jonathan Federman obtained summary judgment for two insurers on a claim of bad faith in one case and an alleged violation of the Consumer Fraud Act in another. The bad faith case arose out of ...

July 2019