Kevin T. Martin, Class of 1967

Founding partner of the law firm Swanson, Martin & Bell

Kevin T. MartinKevin Martin was one of the founding partners of the law firm Swanson, Martin & Bell in 1992. Since then, the firm has grown to become a nationally recognized litigation firm known for its jury trial experience. Martin has more than 45 years of civil litigation trial experience, particularly in defense of professionals in the fields of law and medicine, with ancillary experience in the areas of product liability, intellectual property, contracts, family law, probate, construction and defamation. He also became a certified mediator in 2009. Martin is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and serves on the National Board of Directors for the American Board of Trial Advocates. He was president of the Chicago-Kent Alumni Association from 1985 to 1995 and was a member of the Chicago-Kent Board of Overseers from 1986 to 1999. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the law school in 1989.

What was your greatest professional achievement?

My proudest moment was the beginning of Swanson, Martin & Bell in 1992. Thirteen intrepid lawyers made their way across the street to the IBM building and we’re still at the IBM building today. Although now we have three floors rather than half a floor. More than 105 lawyers. I would say after 21 years, that’s probably a mark of success.

What was the greatest challenge you faced in your career?

I can’t say that the practice of law for me has ever been a challenge. More to the point, it’s actually been a delight. I love this profession. I find this to be exciting and stimulating. I think of it not necessarily as a hobby but more as an active endeavor. It’s not boring to me. Frankly, it floats my boat.

How did Chicago-Kent prepare you for your present success?

I was blessed with the fact that all the professors I had were people who also practiced law. I think that flowed through. Invariably, there were little comments made by the professors that would reflect their personal experience practicing law.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

I don’t think that there was any question that I was going to be a lawyer. My father was a lawyer. My mother was a lawyer. My grandfather was a lawyer. My great-grandfather was a lawyer.  And now my son is a fifth generation lawyer.  So my decision was made for me by the environment in which I grew up.

What advice would you give to young lawyers starting out today?

Learn the law from a historical standpoint.  There are legal giants, heroes if you will, who stand out as persons we should admire and emulate if we can.