Photo of Kenneth L. Cunniff

Kenneth L. Cunniff

Of Counsel


Loyola University Law School, J.D.,1972

Loyola University, B.A., 1969




Federal Judicial Clerkship, Honorable William J. Lynch, of the United States District Court, N. D. of Illinois (1972-1974)

Ken has experience in all fields of litigation, dispute resolution, and corporate investigation. As a federal trial lawyer, he argued landmark cases in the United States Supreme Court, and the Illinois Supreme Court, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for numerous circuits and the Illinois Appellate Court. Ken has tried over 125 jury trials to verdict in Federal and State Court. He currently serves as Of Counsel at SmithAmundsen.

He is on the faculty of the Illinois Professional Responsibility Institute of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Ken is also an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He also teaches comparative trial advocacy to Irish barristers at The King’s Inn and transnational legal negotiations to Irish solicitors at the Incorporated Law Society in Dublin, Ireland.

Ken was Associate Director for The Center for Advocacy and an Adjunct Professor of Law at The John Marshall Law School, where he taught various trial, arbitration and counseling, and negotiation classes. He taught classes for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and has lectured on trial, appellate practice and dispute resolution at numerous law schools and bar associations. 

He has been elected to the Defender Service Advisory Group for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Ken has been reappointed to the National Criminal Justice Act Panel as a Representative for the Northern District of Illinois for a three year term.


  • Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers List: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated

Memberships & Involvement

  • Member: National Criminal Justice Panel (Representative for the Northern District of Illinois); Defender Service Advisory Group for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
  • Arbitrator: American Arbitration Association
  • Director: The International Institute for Animal Law
  • General Counsel: National Anti-Vivisection Society
  • General Counsel: International Foundation for Ethical Research
  • Chicago Bar Association: Past Member of the Board of Managers, Past Chairman, Tax Exempt Division of the Federal Tax Committee
  • Sauganash Community Association:Past President, Board Member

Presentations & Events

  • Detention Issues: Alternatives to Detention, Conditions of Detention
    Committee of Defender Services and Defender Services Advisory Group, April 8, 2015
  • The American Legal System Compared to the Irish Judicial Systems; A Program for Irish BarristersĀ 
    September 25, 2014
  • Harnessing the Power of the Panel Attorney: Powerful Adocacy for the Client, the Panel and the Defender Services Program
    National Harbor, Maryland, March 1, 2014
  • Advancing the Mission
    Baltimore, MD, February 23, 2013
  • Non-Capital Mitigation Sentencing Workshop
    Chicago, IL, October 24, 2012
  • Multi-Track Federal Defense Seminar for federal Trial Attorneys
    Chicago, IL, August 23, 2012
  • Transactional Litigation, A comparison of United States and Irish Legal Practice
    Irish Barristers, August 9, 2012
  • Leading Locally: Advocating for High Quality Representation in a Cost-Containment World
    National Conference of CJA Panel Attorney District Representatives, March 3, 2012
  • Effective Use of Demonstrative Evidence in Direct and Cross Examinations
    National Conference of CJA Panel Attorney District Representatives, March 3, 2012
  • Persuasive Opening & Closing Statements
    DePaul University School of Law, September 13, 2011
  • One Prudential Plaza on 130 East Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL, June 16, 2011
  • Being an Effective and Ethical Advocate: Dealing with Dishonest Clients, Difficult Opposing Counsel and Conduct Before a Tribunal
    Illinois Professional Respnsibility Seminar, June 16, 2011
  • Making the Connections, Getting by with a Little Help from Our Friends
    National Conference of CJA Panel Attorney District Representatives
  • Inspiring Leadership, Acquiring Resources, Taking Your Panel to the Next Level
    National Conference of CJA Panel Attorney District Representatives, February 26, 2011
  • Proper Use of Lay and Expert Witnesses
    Loyola University School of Law Trial Practice, February 24, 2011