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Thomas P. Needham

Tom has practiced law for nearly 30 years. He has tried dozens of cases to a jury verdict, hundreds of bench trials and administrative hearings, and over 40 appellate cases, including three in the Illinois Supreme Court.


Tom began his career in 1984 as an assistant Cook County State’s Attorney. During his 12 year career as a prosecutor, he gained extensive trial and appellate experience and handled every type of case in the criminal justice system, from misdemeanors to murders.


After leaving the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in 1996, he accepted a position as the policy advisor to Mayor Richard M. Daley, advising the Mayor and other key city officials on public safety, law enforcement, and criminal justice issues. In 1998, Tom became general counsel to Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Terry Hillard.  He later served as Hillard’s chief of staff.


Tom left public service in December, 2001 to form the law firm Baird & Needham with Callie L. Baird, who is now an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. When Judge Baird left the firm to become the executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, Tom continued to practice law as a sole practitioner and has been in private practice for more than 11 years. Tom’s practice is concentrated in the area of criminal defense; however, he also handles civil rights cases, administrative hearings, civil and criminal appeals, and civil litigation. He has experience in both federal and state court, in Chicago and downstate, and in trial courts as well as appellate courts.




Tom graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He graduated from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago in 1984. He lives on the North side of Chicago with his wife, Maura, and is the father of three grown children.


Bar Admissions:

- Trial Bar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

- Trial Bar of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

- Trial Bar of the United States District Court for Southern District of Illinois

- Illinois Capital Litigation Trial Bar (2002-2006)

- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals



- Chicago Bar Association

- Illinois State Bar Association

- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


Tom dedicates his time to the following civic and professional activities:

- member, Governor’s Commission on Capital Punishment (1999-2002)

- member, Loyola University School of Law Board of Governors (2009-2012)

- volunteer, Chicago Catholic Charities Legal Assistance Resource Center (2007-present)

- member, Chicago Catholic Charities Legal Assistance Resource Center advisory committee (2011-present)

- member, Franciscan Outreach Association Board of Directors (2011-2012)



Contact Tom

By email.

By phone. 312.726.3171

By fax. 312.726.3157

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