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

Recognition and Awards

  • Illinois Defense Counsel Distinguished Member Award, 2020.
  • 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


Eckler publishes monograph on forum non conveniens

Pretzel & Stouffer partner Donald Patrick Eckler published a monograph on forum non conveniens in the IDC Quarterly with Andrew Corkery, David A Warnick, Michael D. Gallo, and Adam Carter.  In addition, he recently spoke to the CBA YLS Health and Hospital Committee presenting a program entitled “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Recent Developments in Forum Non Conveniens ...

March 2021 | Firm News

Condeni and Eckler publish in IDC Quarterly

Pretzel & Stouffer attorneys Kayla Condeni and Donald Patrick Eckler published a column in the IDC Quarterly on the judicial estoppel doctrine and recent cases addressing it.  The article is linked here.

March 2021 | Firm News

Luzynczyk, Henry, and Eckler speak at Trial Academy

Sommer Luzynczyk, Brian Henry, and Donald Eckler served as faculty members and speakers at the 2020 North Central Region Trial Academy and Virtual Trial Tactics sponsored by the Illinois Defense Counsel, Wisconsin Defense Counsel, and Defense Trial Counsel Of Indiana. The biennial program is designed to give attorneys with limited trial experience an opportunity to obtain intensive practice experience in ...

October 2020 | 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