Kevin J. Conway Presented Leonard M. Ring Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevin J. Conway was awarded the prestigious Leonard M. Ring Lifetime Achievement Award at the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) convention on Friday, June 9, 2017, at the Westin River North in Chicago, Illinois.

Conway, 65, a partner at the law firm of Cooney and Conway in Chicago, is a trial lawyer known throughout the United States in mesothelioma, mass torts, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury cases.

“He’s made a lifetime’s mission out of trying to make sure that we support the most honest (and) ethical judges (and) politicians,” said fellow Cooney & Conway partner John Cooney in presenting the award to Conway. “People that can understand what it means to go to work every day, work for a living, bring home a paycheck, and just want not to be dealt from the bottom.”

Conway has tried and settled complex mass tort cases ranging from mesothelioma to birth defects caused by chemical exposures.  He has also represented individuals in major disasters including train derailments, airline crashes, and explosions at industrial facilities.   He is a past President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers, and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.   

“Nobody likes trial lawyers until they are the ones who’ve been injured, hurt, taken advantage of, or threatened by those in power,” Conway said. “Who are we? We’re protectors of the downtrodden, we’re protectors of those not knowing what’s true. We’re protectors of those who are afraid. We are men and women who work hard, play by the rules, who invest our resources and years of our lives. We believe in the equal justice promised by the Constitution and the rules of law envisioned by the Declaration of Independence.”

The criteria of the Leonard M. Ring Lifetime Achievement Award are as follows:

“This award is given annually at the convention banquet to someone selected by a committee appointed by the president. The recipient is someone who has devoted, as Leonard did, a substantial part of their life and their practice to ITLA, someone who has done more than is called for. Someone who has the standards of Leonard, the work ethics of Leonard and the commitment to ITLA that Leonard had. At the same time, it keeps alive the memory of Leonard Ring.”

Conway and his partners tirelessly support access to the courts for all.  They have established the Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy at Loyola University Law School in Chicago. They have also funded research to cure cancers and to provide education and training in industrial medicine.

Conway graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1973 and Juris Doctor in 1976 from Loyola University in Chicago.  He was admitted to the bar in 1976. After law school, he was hired by the law firm of Cooney and Stenn. which later became Cooney & Conway after Kevin became a partner. He has been named a Best Lawyer in America. He and a small group of Illinois Trial Lawyers were nominated for Trial Lawyers of the Year in Washington D.C. for their work in Best v Taylor Machine Works.  The case overturned complex anti-consumer legislation in Illinois. He recently was awarded the Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Philanthropic Award at the Chicago Bar Association Sponsored Gala for his charitable endeavors.  He is a Life Trustee at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, a former trustee at the Chicago Jesuit Academy, vice chairman of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Foundation, Board member of the Lawyers for the Creative Arts and Founder/Board Member of the Oak Park Country Club Foundation.

Conway is married to Linda Conway.  They have three daughters--Kathryn Conway (an attorney at Powers, Rogers and Smith) Patricia Conway, a librarian and musician in Virginia, and Judith Conway (an attorney at Cooney and Conway).


Past Leonard M. Ring Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include:

  • Jon G. Carlson
  • Rex Carr
  • Robert J. Cooney
  • Philip H. Corboy
  • George J. Cullen
  • Joseph R. Curcio
  • David A. Decker
  • Thomas A. Demetrio
  • James Thomas Demos
  • Geoffrey L. Gifford
  • William J. Harte
  • Thomas Q. Keefe, Jr.
  • Thomas F. Londrigan
  • Philip F. Maher
  • Nicholas J. Motherway
  • Nat P. Ozmon
  • Eugene I. Pavalon
  • John G. Phillips
  • Kim E. Presbrey
  • Anthony C. Raccuglia
  • Curt N. Rodin
  • Larry R. Rogers, Sr.
  • Michael P. Schostok

Steve Koek is the Digital Marketing Manager at Cooney & Conway, and is responsible for the administration of the firm's web site and social media platforms. He can be reached at or through LinkedIn