Secrets and lines

Opening Statement

Paul Dailing

Editor

If you stand on the northeast corner of Federal Plaza across Dearborn Street from the Dirksen Federal Courthouse and start to twirl, you can see Calder’s Flamingo, Berghoff’s, the Art Institute of Chicago, a corner of Sears Tower peeking over the Bankers Building — and four separate state House districts.

You’re twirling in House District 6, the Berghoff’s in District 5, Sears (yes, I say “Sears” instead of “Willis” — sue me) is in District 9 and District 26 starts on the other side of the Art Institute. District 5 is 7 miles north to south and, at its thinnest point, two city blocks east to west.

And that is gerrymandering.

You can find out more about gerrymandering, the map technique that lets the voted chose their voters, from our Q&A with attorney Ruth Greenwood on Page 16. I like standing on that corner and thinking about the hidden things in the world, the invisible forces that corral us without us knowing anything’s amiss.

This issue is all about secrets, starting with our fantastic cover by photographer Lisa Predko. Adria East Mossing of Mossing & Navarre graciously agreed to lend her time and eyes for this conceptual look at confidential settlements.

When lawyers negotiate huge deals, what do they win and what do they lose? Are they protecting their clients by not advertising windfalls or are they sweeping secrets under the rug, potentially allowing others to come to harm in the future? From med-mal cases to sexual abuse and #MeToo scandals, reporter Tequia Burt dove into these issues starting on Page 18. It’s a story you’ll want to read and then talk about with your colleagues.

This issue’s other feature opens up the closed-door process that underpins every insurance settlement: underwriting. The assumption is that underwriters acting in good faith will value the same injuries the same way, but in the last few years a study that put the same fake case before dozens of underwriters shot that one in the foot.

What should insurance lawyers do with this information, and what does this mean for the practice when a core tenet is found false? Reporter Tatiana Walk-Morris dove into this topic starting on Page 24.

Secrets can be intoxicating, fun, frustrating or tedious. They can rig elections, protect people from a rush of relatives seeking a cut of a recent windfall or help abusers continue unabated. So it’s appropriate that this issue about secrets ends with its polar opposite — Pride.

June is Pride Month, a commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising when a group of LGBTQ patrons of a Greenwich Village, N.Y., bar decided to stand up to a police raid and be secret no more.

Our Pro Bono Focus feature this month looks at Fragomen’s Giuliana M. Martinez, who divides her volunteerism between helping the immigrant and LGBTQ communities. She shares her story on Page 58.

It’s a great issue, with looks at Barnes & Thornburg’s new digs on Page 14 and eight — count them — eight columns from top Chicago attorneys at the top of their games. Check it out.

And then spread the word.

Best,

Paul Dailing