Core Values in Action

"As a professional, I do not like surprises -- and I know that my clients like them even less. Our value of ‘commitment’ means we do not give our clients surprises."

William "Bill" Krucks is a Freeborn founding Partner and member of the Litigation and Corporate Practice Groups.

Bill has been working with many of his clients for more than 25 years because they know they can leave the worrying - and the winning - to him. His reputation for winning is due, in no small part, to his devotion to spending at least two hours each day reading law journals and to staying current on a range of business, labor and employment challenges that his clients regularly face. Serving as an efficient and knowledgeable advisor, Bill makes sure his clients are aware of the big issues of the day and well-prepared for what's to come, from understanding union activity, to pensions, wage-and-hour litigation and pending healthcare reform requirements. Whether they are hiring or firing employees, negotiating business contracts, dealing with employment claims and litigation, or facing various other contentious issues, clients know that Bill will achieve justice for them, and that he'll do so quickly.

Bill focuses on advising and representing management in the full-range of legal issues surrounding operating a business in the United States in the 21st century. More specifically, his areas of focus include: Complex Disputes; Employment Litigation; Environmental, Health and Safety; Insurance Coverage and Regulation; Land Use and Zoning; Occupational Diseases and Work Injuries; and Products Liability.

Bill has tried cases in state and federal courts, before federal and state agencies, and in arbitration proceedings. He regularly publishes legal articles on labor and employment law for journals and newsletters. While in law school, he authored two articles that were published in the Mississippi Law Journal.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented a father in Mississippi pro bono case where a mother had died tragically following an elective medical procedure, helping the father regain custody of his three small children in the face of antiquated state laws.
  • Helped multiple clients compel insurance providers to cover the cost of defense and even offer indemnity in an array of situations where companies have been sued, ranging from IP infringement to interfering with contract rights. Often this has occurred in situations where the client may not have even considered checking their insurance policies to determine if coverage would be provided.
  • Served as General Counsel to a high-tech manufacturer, providing full service support, handling every legal need spanning intellectual property, business litigation, employment, business contracts and corporate governance.
  • Helped establish a public employer insurance fund, comprised of about 600 public entities in the State of Illinois, and served as the fund's General Counsel for more than 25 years.
  • Won a discrimination case for the employer that is often cited as a fundamental statement of the law in the 7th Circuit concerning the issue of "pretext" under the McDonnell Douglas burden shifting analysis. In the case of Forrester v. Rauland-Borg Corp., 453 F.3d 416, (7th Cir. 2006), the 7th Circuit declared that a “pretext” is a deliberate falsehood, but “[a]n honest mistake, however dumb, is not, and there is no doubt that it is the real reason it blocks the case at the summary-judgment stage.” The opinion written by the celebrated Hon. Richard A. Posner, and joined by two more of 7th Circuit’s most acclaimed judges Frank H. Easterbrook and Diane P. Wood, concludes that under the burden shifting analysis of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green. 411 U.S. 792 (1973), “the question is never whether the employer was mistaken, cruel, unethical, out of his head, or downright irrational in taking the action for the stated reason, but simply whether the stated reason was his reason, not a good reason, but the true reason.”
Honors & Awards: 
  • Leading Lawyers - Labor, Employment and Insurance Defense Law
  • Illinois Super Lawyers - 2006 (cited in multiple years)
  • Fellow, American Bar Association - 2011
  • Fellow, College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell legal ability/ethical standards rating (“A-V”) - Highest possible rating
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2018 (cited in multiple years)
Professional Activities: 
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Mississippi State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association (Judge, 2009-10 National Appellate Advocacy Competition)
  • National Council of Self-Insurers
  • Illinois Association of Self-Insurers
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
  • Lawyers Club of Chicago
  • Arbitrator, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
  • Fellow, College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers
Speaking Engagements: 
  • Panel participant, "Careers in the Tort Trial and Insurance Industry," presented by the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), 2014 ABA Midyear Meeting (February 6 – 9, 2014).


J.D., University of Mississippi Law School, with honors, graduated first in his class, Editor, Mississippi Law Journal; National Moot Court Team
B.A., Tulane University

State Bar Admissions


Federal Bar Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Seventh Circuits
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the District of Mississippi

Community Service

  • Trustee and Member of the Winnetka (IL) Village Council (2014 -  )
  • Chair, Village of Winnetka (IL) Plan Commission (2013-2014)
  • Commissioner, Zoning Board of Appeals, Village of Winnetka, IL (2011-2013)
  • Chair, Winnetka Caucus Council, Winnetka, IL (2010-2011)
  • Union League Club of Chicago
  • Chicago Yacht Club
  • Foundation for the Mid-South, Raised-Up Right Fund
  • Past-President, Trevian Girls Softball Association, a private not-for-profit organization based in New Trier Township, IL involved in competitive girls fast-pitch softball teams and in promoting the sport
  • Lifetime Member, University of Mississippi Alumni Association
  • Member, Lamar Order, University of Mississippi School of Law (Oxford, MS)