Photo of Alan L. Farkas


Washington University School of Law, J.D., 1993

University of Denver, B.A., 1990





Not long ago the future of an international aircraft manufacturer’s business was on the line. It had been drawn into a federal wrongful death/product liability case that was the first of its kind to ever to go trial. After three weeks defending the manufacturer in federal court, Alan Farkas obtained a defense verdict, saving the manufacturer’s business and, likely, the business of many others like it.  In fact, Alan was so persuasive in his defense that one of the jurors bought one of manufacturer’s aircraft following the trial.

Alan has been successfully litigating complex, high profile aviation and commercial matters like this for more than 20 years. He advises corporations, pilots, airports, and municipalities on regulatory and statutory compliance, formation and organization and liability protection. In the courtroom, he defends clients against claims of negligence, breach of warranty, premises liability and product liability related most often to personal injuries, death or property damage.  His clients operate through the U.S., Europe and Australia. Alan has also become deeply involved in representing pilots and manufacturers of model aircraft, drones, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Alan has also been quite effective when litigating on behalf of our transportation clients. Among other matters, Alan has successfully litigated commercial transportation disputes, international shipping disputes, loading and unloading injuries, and a variety of catastrophic personal injury claims.

Alan is regarded as a tenacious trial lawyer who employs a creative, efficient and strategic approach to his cases. He maintains a philosophy that all parties to a legal issue should be dealt with fairly and respectfully.

Prior to joining SmithAmundsen, Alan founded and operated the highly respected aviation litigation firm, Madsen Farkas & Powen. Alan served for eight years as Village Trustee in Deerfield, Illinois, and is a member of the Legal Advisory Council of the Experimental Aircraft Association.


  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated
  • 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 To Watch, Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2005
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers List: 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Selected by the Leading Lawyers Network as a "Leading Lawyer" in aviation law and transportation defense law

Memberships & Involvement

  • Board Member: Educational Foundation of the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association (CABAA)
  • Charter Member: Aviation Law Institute of America (ALIA)
  • Past President: Aviation Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association
  • Fellow: American Bar Foundation, inducted 2018
  • Committee Member: Drone Committee of the Flight School Association of North America 
  • Member: Chicago Bar Association; Illinois State Bar; American Bar Association; The Missouri Bar; Women in Aviation International; Airport Counsel International – North America; Lawyer Pilot Bar Association; Pi Sigma Alpha; Phi Kappa Sigma; Claims and Litigation Management Alliance; 7th Circuit Bar Association; EAA Legal Advisory Council


  • Represented a large aircraft association in a novel 7th Circuit suit against the FAA for the FAA's illegal ATC special event policy
  • Successfully defended an owner and FBO at trial against multiple claims related to catastrophic aircraft accident
  • Helped a world-renowned children's hospital develop a helipad for its new high rise hospital and defended the plans against an administrative complaint brought by a community organization
  • Successful defense of urban police officers at trial against civil rights violations
  • Successful trial defense of aircraft kit manufacturer against wrongful death/product liability claims
  • Defended the nation's third largest city in litigation and before the NTSB related to the overrun of Southwest Airlines flight 1248
  • Obtained dismissal of defective engine claims on spoliation motion

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