Sean Patrick MacCarthy has been a litigator and trial attorney for more than 29 years, assisting clients in a variety of civil and commercial matters including general litigation and domestic relations matters.  Since 2014 Sean has been recognized by the Leading Lawyers Network as a Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation, a distinction earned by less than 5% of all lawyers in Illinois.



Sean received his Bachelors of Arts degree (English Literature and Speech Communication) from the University of Illinois in 1985, earning Phi Beta Kappa distinction. Sean received his Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1988.


Sean is admitted to practice in Illinois, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois. Sean is also a member of the Trial Bar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Practice Highlights

Sean has tried cases in state courts and various federal courts, and has argued several appeals, including a victory in the Illinois Supreme Court. Sean’s litigation and trial work has been in areas including Complex Commercial Litigation, Catastrophic Personal Injury and Domestic Relations matters.

Sean has handled numerous litigation matters involving catastrophic injuries, including lawsuits involving medical malpractice, products liability, construction litigation and premises liability. Sean also has extensive experience in life insurance and disability insurance matters. He has represented the insurance industry on a national and international basis. Sean has also represented clients in hearings and trials before the State of Illinois Department of Insurance, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Sean has also successfully defended employers who have been unfairly or improperly accused of discrimination.

Sean’s complex commercial litigation trials include a verdict and judgment in the Colorado State Court for five hundred thousand dollars on behalf of three United Kingdom businessmen, in a matter involving software and successor liability.

Sean has also handled numerous Domestic Relations and Paternity matters for clients. The Domestic Relations/Dissolution of Marriage work has included Collaborative work.  Sean recently completed a federal trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction.

Sean is a Gold Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation, and is also a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute and the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel.  Sean also serves as an Arbitrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Mandatory Arbitration Program.

Sean maintains an active pro-bono practice and served for 10 years as a member of the Board of Directors of First Defense Legal Aid (“FDLA”), a not-for-profit organization providing criminal defense services to Chicago residents ( Sean is a member of FDLA’s Advisory Board. Furthermore, Sean was a former member of the Board of Directors of Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development (BUILD), another not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to help redirect the behavior of gang-affiliated youth. Sean has served as a Volunteer Judge for the Mikva Challenge, Project Soapbox Public Speaking Competition.


  • Sean’s published work includes “MacCarthy on Impeachment” which the ABA published in 2016.

Professional Awards

Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service, 2019
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in conjunction with the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, recognized Sean MacCarthy and Kaitlyn Luther for their work in the Sanchez Guzman v. Mera Cabrera case.  This case was a proceeding under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act.  They were nominated for the award by U.S. District Court Judge John Z. Lee and attorney Julia Lissner.