Donald Patrick Eckler


Chicago, IL | Indianapolis, IN
D (773) 389-6446


Donald Patrick Eckler is a Partner in Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP’s Chicago office and is Co-Chair of the firm's Professional Liability / Errors and Omissions national practice section. He is a highly experienced litigator who focuses his practice on defending lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers, and other professionals in a variety of civil disputes in state and federal courts across Illinois and Indiana. His practice ranges from representing insurers in coverage disputes to defending professionals, businesses, and tort defendants in complex litigation. Mr. Eckler’s commercial litigation experience involves complex contract disputes and class-action lawsuits. His coverage practice for insurers and the insured involves commercial general liability and personal lines policies, issues involving the duty to defend and indemnify, bad faith, and the application of exclusions. His tort defense work spans the representations of product manufacturers and distributors, trucking and transportation clients, and premises owners. Drawing on his experience as a college basketball coach, Mr. Eckler has also represented a coach before the NCAA Committee on infractions.

Mr. Eckler is active in the organized defense bar both at the state and national level. He is a committee chair, columnist, and board member with both the Illinois Defense Counsel and the Professional Liability Defense Federation. He also serves as the current president of the PLDF. He publishes extensively in professional journals on a wide range of topics, including legal ethics, attorney-client privilege, and Illinois and federal civil procedure. He also provides thought leadership on substantive areas of law ranging from products liability and toxic torts to premises liability and claims against accountants.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Mr. Eckler taught history and coached high school and college basketball for three years before attending law school at the University of Florida. In his final semester of law school, he served as a certified legal intern with the Public Defenders’ Office of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, where he represented defendants in misdemeanor criminal cases.

Bar Admissions




U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois

U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana

Publications & Engagements

“What Duties Does a Lawyer Owe?” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, For the Defense, April 28, 2021

“2021 and Beyond…After COVID-19, Business Interruption Losses Will Never Be the Same Again!”, Co-Presenter, CLM Property Committee, April 22, 2021

“You Have Got to Have Good Faith: Trends in Handling of First Party Property Claims to Avoid Bad Faith,” Co-Presenter, April 14, 2021

“Medical Bills Should Not Be Excepted from Proper Foundation,” Co-Author, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, For the Defense, March 3, 2021

“What Is A ‘Good Faith’ Settlement?”, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, For the Defense, December 17, 2020

“Illinois Insurance Law: Year in Review,” Presenter, Chicago Bar Association, Insurance Law Committee, November 4, 2020

“Series of Rulings Show that While Protection Dead Man’s Act Are Alive and Well, Applicability Is Not Guaranteed,” Co-Author, IDC Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 4

“Should I Talk with You? Potential Issues in Communicating with Brokers and Claims Advocates,” Co-Presenter, 2020 CLM Workers’ Compensation and Retail, Restaurant, & Hospitality Conference, June 16, 2020

“We Are Settled, Right? Settling Claims of Minors, Disabled Persons, And The Deceased,” Co-Presenter, IDC Webinar, April 17, 2020

“Emerging and Expanding Lawyers Professional Risks … Are We Prepared?”  Co-Presenter, PLDF Annual Meeting, October 4, 2018


Appointed Third-Party Litigation Funding Task Force within the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy

Appointed member of the Amicus Committee of the Defense Trial Counsel for Indiana

Illinois Defense Counsel – Board member 2015-2023

Illinois Defense Counsel – Secretary/Treasurer 2023-2024

Legislative Committee: Chair, 2015 to present

Civil Procedure & Practice, IDC Quarterly: Columnist

Professional Liability Defense Federation

  • President, 2020 -2021
  • President-Elect, 2019-20
  • Treasurer, 2017-19

Professional Liability Defense Quarterly: Editor, 2016-20; Legal Columnist, 2017-2020

Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana

Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, Member

Awards and Recognition

Distinguished Member Award, Illinois Defense Counsel, 2020

Meritorious Service Award, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, 2018

Volunteer of the Year Award, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, 2016

David C. Hilliard Award for Outstanding Committee Service, Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section Tort Litigation Committee, 2011—2012

Rising Star Award, Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, 2011

Classes/Seminars Taught