Partner and Founder
Steadfast preparation and an obsessive attention to detail are the keys to a successful personal injury and accident trial practice. Tom Koester has been one of the foremost plaintiff’s attorneys in Central Illinois for decades. His results speak volumes.
Mr. Koester has practiced law with a focus on personal injury in Champaign County for over 30 years following his graduation from Drake University Law School. His first 11 years of practice were at the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted thousands of felony criminal cases including sexual assaults, child abuse and a number of Champaign County’s most infamous murder cases. He participated in the prosecution of the sexual assault case in which DNA evidence was used for the first time in the State of Illinois.
Since joining the firm in 1994, he has concentrated his practice in civil litigation to the areas of wrongful death and personal injuries including those resulting from medical negligence and automobile collisions. Tom has obtained the two largest medical malpractice recoveries in the firm’s 120 year history at $3,500,000.00 and $3,200,000.00 respectively. He has tried well over 100 jury trials in State and Federal courtrooms throughout Central Illinois.
Tom’s dedication to his clients and the Champaign-Urbana community is clear in all he does. This has led to him being regarded as one of the most talented trial attorneys in Central Illinois in a variety of practice areas. Mr. Koester’s prominence as a trial lawyer has been recognized nationally as well as by many organizations such as Martindale-Hubbell and a Top 100 ranking in the National Trial Lawyer’s Association.
In addition to his practice of law, Tom frequently serves as a guest lecturer at various bar association seminars including the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyer’s Association and the Champaign County Bar Association. In addition, he has also been an invited speaker at the University of Illinois School of Nursing, and the Champaign-Urbana Rape Crisis Center. He has also given numerous trial demonstrations at the University of Illinois School of Law’s trial advocacy program.
Mr. Koester is an avid Big Ten sports fan and a well-known supporter of the local arts including the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Champaign-Urbana Ballet. Tom enjoys golf and spending time with his two grown children and his wife, Brenda.
Background and Education:
Born: July 28, 1956
Monmouth New Jersey
BA: University of Iowa, 1979
JD: Drake University School of Law, 1981
- Unites States Supreme Court
- Illinois Supreme Court
- United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
- United Stated Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Publications and Speaking:
- Illinois State Bar Association, Trial Practice Law Update
- Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Trial Discovery
- University of Illinois College of Law, Trial Advocacy Guest Speaker
Assistant State’s Attorney, Champaign County: 1983-1994
Associate, Phebus & Winkelmann Law Firm: 1994-1997
Partner, Phebus & Koester (now Koester & Bradley, LLP) 1998-Present
- Over 100 Jury Trial to Verdict with multiple multi-million dollar outcomes
- Lead Counsel on six capital murder convictions
Rewards and Honors:
- Illinois Leading Lawyers
- Martindale Hubble Distinguished Lawyer