F. Thomas Hecht

Tom Hecht litigates cases at all levels of state and federal courts. He represents clients at trial, in arbitrations, in mediation and on appeals in both state and federal appellate courts. He is a member of the bar of the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Tenth and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals as well as the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.

What do you focus on?

I specialize in various forms of complex commercial disputes and litigation.

Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigation

My background in Constitutional litigation and civil rights disputes is substantial. I have defended developers and owners against claims of discrimination and prosecuted discrimination claims on behalf of individuals and organizations subjected to misconduct.

I have litigated the Establishment Clause, search and seizure disputes, government responsibilities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Supremacy Clause challenges to local efforts to control federal housing programs by restrictive zoning and eminent domain proceedings.

Professional Liability Matters

I have represented federal regulatory agencies in numerous investigations and prosecutions arising out of the failure of financial institutions throughout the country. This work has included some of the largest and most visible civil actions against officers, directors, accountants and law firms implicated in the failure of such institutions. These cases require extensive investigations and discovery, competent document control including the management of ESI protocols, wide-ranging motion practice and litigating claims for breach of fiduciary duties, fraud, gross negligence, accounting and attorney malpractice, unjust enrichment and fraudulent conveyance.

I also represent professionals and professional organizations, defending them from claims made by former clients or by regulatory agencies as well as providing counsel to boards of directors concerning their fiduciary duties and duties to regulatory authorities. I also represent law firms in fee disputes with clients.

Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Litigation

I have worked with clients in various industries to prosecute and defend against trade secret and non-compete litigation. This includes misappropriation of confidential information, breach of restrictive covenants and confidentiality provisions.

Environmental Torts

I have represented federal and state agencies in a variety of environmental matters, principally defending large tort claims. I represented the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) in a 10,000 plaintiff “mass action” involving claims in excess of $500 million arising out of the presence of PCBs, PAHs and an assortment of other contaminants at a CHA development on the South Side of Chicago. I also secured a substantial recovery for the CHA asserting asbestos property damage in the Johns Manville bankruptcy proceedings.

General Commercial Litigation

My commercial litigation experience is varied. I successfully arbitrated claims on behalf of a federal regulatory agency brought by its former counsel seeking $25 million in fees. I represented a computer program development company in the theft of programming strategies. I’ve handled a number of breach of contract disputes and litigated claims against GMAC arising out of misleading interest rates used in wholesale inventory financing.

Selected Impact Litigation

  • Gautreaux v. Pierce et al (Academy Square)—Successfully defended the construction of Section 8 affordable housing project in Chicago’s West Loop area.
  • McInerny v. Charter Golf—Successfully argued in the Illinois Supreme Court that long term employment contracts are subject to the statute of frauds.
  • Caro et al. v. Blagojevich—Successful challenge to Illinois Governor’s improper use of executive power which became part of impeachment proceedings.
  • Doe et al v. Montgomery County—Successful First Amendment challenge to religious signs and symbols affixed to the Montgomery County Court House.
  • McHugh v. City of Detroit—Successfully prosecuted civil claims for police beatings to federal jury resulting in a substantial damage award.
  • IMC v. Pilliod—Established Fourth Amendment standards for random street stops of suspected immigrants by federal agents.
  • People of the State of Illinois v. Rubalcava —Jury trial of capital case to a verdict of not guilty at request of the Chief Judge of the Cook County Criminal Courts.
  • Good et. al. v Iowa DHS — Prosecuted state equal protection and civil rights claims on behalf of transgender clients challenging restrictive regulations denying Medicaid reimbursement.

What do you see on the horizon?

The arenas in which professional liability claims are resolved are expanding. Management of professional liability claims in bankruptcy courts or administrative venues or arbitrations will play an increasingly important role in the resolution of professional liability disputes. Privacy and data breach disputes will expand exponentially as will the theories of liability based on such breaches. Given the changing composition of the federal judiciary, civil rights and civil liberties claims will shift to state venues.


  • Presenter, National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, 2017 NASCUS State System Summit, September 1, 2017, “Banks v. Credit Unions: Old Rivalry, New Developments.”
  • Presenter, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 2017 Credit Union Examiners’ Conference, November 30, 2016, “Red Flags for Regulators.”
  • Presenter, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 2016 Illinois Bank Examiners’ Conference, October 18, 2016, “Red Flags for Regulators.”
  • Presenter, National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, 2016 NASCUS State System Summit, October 5, 2016, “Red Flags for Regulators.”


F. Thomas Hecht

Partner (Retired)


Phone: 312-977-4322

Fax: 844-560-8134



Various District Courts

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

  • Illinois Leading Lawyers
  • Illinois Super Lawyers—Litigation
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