John F. Watson – Member

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John F. Watson has been an attorney with Craig & Craig in the Mattoon office since July of 1999. He became a Partner with the Firm in 2003 and continues to practice out of the Mattoon office. Mr. Watson’s fields of practice include general civil litigation, medical malpractice defense, municipal liability defense, insurance coverage and insurance law, intellectual property and criminal defense litigation.

Mr. Watson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Bradley University in 1990 and received his Juris Doctorate, with Honors, from The John Marshall Law School in 1993. During law school, Mr. Watson served as an Associate Editor for The John Marshall Law Review and had his Note published in the Winter 1993 Volume of The John Marshall Law Review on the issue of public education in Illinois.

Mr. Watson began his practice in criminal law as an Assistant State’s Attorney quickly being elevated to a felony prosecutor. In 1997, Mr. Watson took a position as the Special Assistant Drug Prosecutor with the State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor’s office, conducting drug prosecutions in the Fourth District of Illinois. In January of 1999, Mr. Watson became the First Assistant State’s Attorney in Coles County. In July of 1999, Mr. Watson was hired by the firm of Craig & Craig and has focused his practice in civil litigation, medical and professional liability matters and insurance coverage litigation. Mr. Watson is a registered Patent Attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and handles Intellectual Property matters and criminal defense litigation.

Mr. John F. Watson has contributed to several legal bodies of work including making a presentation to the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel on Illinois Tort Litigation for the Fall Conference of 2009 and authoring Chapter 10, Third-Party Practice as part of the Illinois Civil Practice: Opening the Case Volume published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. Mr. Watson is actively involved in the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC), served as the Co-Chair of the Fall Conference in 2009, and was part of a leadership group made up of the several bar associations (including the Illinois State Bar Assn., IDC, Chicago Bar Assn., Cook County Bar Assn. and the Women’s Bar Assn.) which presented a Symposium on October 5, 2010, addressing the Judicial Selection Process in Illinois focusing on the pros and cons of merit selection and the election process.

On June 8, 2012, the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel appointed John F. Watson to the Editorial Board of the IDC Quarterly.  Being a part of the IDC Quarterly Editorial Board was of special interest to Mr. Watson because of his role and activities on the Editorial Board of the John Marshall Law Review while in law school.  Mr. Watson served as an Editor for the “IDC Quarterly” from 2012 to 2016, and then served as its Editor-in-Chief from June of 2016 to May of 2017.

Mr. Watson has been recognized as a 2014 Member of the Leading Lawyers Network in the fields of Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law, Medical Malpractice Defense Law and Personal Injury Defense Law. Mr. Watson was recommended as a Leading Lawyer in a state wide survey. Fewer than 5% of the lawyers in Illinois receive the distinction as being a Leading Lawyer.

Additionally, Mr. Watson has received an “AV Preeminent” Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating. Reviewers are lawyers and judges across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations and are listed on martindale.com. They are from similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated, who know or have worked with the lawyer under review, and are able to rate them on their professional ethical standards and legal ability. An AV Preeminent certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment and reflective that a lawyer’s peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence.

 

Practice Areas

 

Education

  • The John Marshall Law School, J.D., with honors, 1993
  • Bradley University, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1990

 

Bar Admissions

  • 1993, Illinois
  • 1999, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • 2005, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • 2006, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • 1994, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

 

Memberships

  • The John Marshall Law Review, Member, 1991-1993; Associate Leads Editor, 1992-1993.
  • John Marshall Moot Court Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Competition (1993).
  • Coles-Cumberland Bar Association (Secretary-Treasurer, 2001- 2004; President, 2013 – 2014; Member 1995 – 2016).
  • Illinois State and American Bar Associations.
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Fall Conference Committee, 2006-2010, Chair 2010; Vice-Chair, Amicus Committee, 2012 – Present; Municipal Law Committee, 2012 – 2016; IDC Quarterly Editorial Board, (2012 – 2017); Board of Directors (2017) – present).
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) (2013 – Present).
  • Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association (2016 – Present).
  • The Bar Association of the Central and Southern Federal Districts of Illinois (Member, Communications Committee, 2002-2006);
  • Tuscola Community Foundation (Board Member, 2010 – 2016)  www.tuscolafoundation.org;
  • Editor-in-Chief, IDC Quarterly, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (May 2016 – May 2017).

 

Publications and Presentations

  • “The Cause, Effect and Constitutional Consequence of Unequal Funding: Public Education in Illinois,” 26 J. Marshall Law Rev. 399 (1993).
  • “Illinois Tort Law Update,” Illinois Defense Counsel Fall Conference (2001).
  • “Third-Party Practice, Supplement” published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Chapter 10S (2006).
  • “Third-Party Practice,” Chapter 10, Illinois Civil Practice: Opening the Case published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) (2009).
  • J. Watson & J. M. Anderson, “The Medical Peer Review Privilege: Illustrative Cases of the Public Policy Supporting the Privilege and a Practical Approach to Presenting the Case for Protection,” 46 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L. J. 95 (2011).
  • J. Watson, “Judicial Selection: A Discussion of Elective and Appointed Systems in Light of Current Developments in the Law,” 21 IDC Quarterly J. 37 (2011).
  • “2012 Edition Illinois Civil Practice: Opening the Case”, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) (April 23, 2012).
  • J. Watson, “Evidentiary Issues Affecting Peer Review Processes” Illinois Defense Counsel (IDC) Ski & CLE Presentations, Steamboat Springs, Colorado (Feb. 7, 2013).
  • J. Watson, “Handling Insurance Coverage Disputes; Conflicts of Interest Created Under the Tripartite Relationship”; Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) (Sep. 17, 2014).
  • J. O’Driscoll, H. Huntington, D. Fisher & J. Watson, IDC Monograph; “A Primer on Defenses in Section 1983 and Police Liability Civil Actions,” 25 IDC Quarterly J. 4 (2015).

 

Amicus Involvement

  • Harris v. One Hope United, Inc., No. 117200, Supreme Court of Illinois (June 3, 2014), Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel’s Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of the Contemnor-Appellant, Stellato & Schwartz, Ltd., John F. Watson of Craig & Craig, LLC, and Craig Unrath of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen.
  • McChristian v. Dale Brink, D.P.M., No. 1-15-2674, Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District (April 8, 2016), Brief of Amicus Curiae Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, John F. Watson, J. Patrick Lee and Garth E. Flygare of Craig & Craig, LLC.