Obituary of William J. Sneckenberg 12/16/46 – 9/23/15
Posted On September 25, 2015
William J. Sneckenberg, 68, brought his Nebraskan-bred blend of practicality and humanity to a legal career that spanned more than four decades. Known for sporting black cowboy boots year-round, in court and out, Bill (“Sneck” to his many friends) established himself as an astute trial lawyer and consummate gentleman. He was widely respected among colleagues, clients, judges, and adversaries alike.
Bill graduated fifth out of a class of 120 from Creighton University School of Law in 1972 and launched his practice career at the Chicago law firm of Clausen Miller. In 1977, he co-founded Lev & Sneckenberg, and in 1982, he established William J. Sneckenberg & Associates, Ltd. In 2004, the firm was renamed Sneckenberg Thompson & Brody, LLP.
Throughout his career, Bill remained committed to the high-quality, personal touch of a focused boutique practice. Numerous attorneys, law clerks, and administrative professionals enjoyed the opportunity to work with and learn from him. He possessed the rare ability to connect with people from a diversity of backgrounds, often socially because he genuinely enjoyed their company. His love for people made him effective not only as a lawyer in front of a jury, but as a friend to the many who knew him and the countless strangers who encountered him.
Bill’s broad-based litigation practice encompassed the state and federal courts. He obtained multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements in a wide range of cases, and he also successfully defended an equally wide range of individuals and corporations. With over 90 published court opinions to his credit, he was one of an elite group of Illinois attorneys who enjoyed great success in both the trial and appellate arenas.
Bill’s credentials and reputation earned him Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating designation, “AV Preeminent.” He earned an additional distinction as an Illinois “Super Lawyer” each year from 2012 through 2015. Outside of his day-to-day practice, he lectured for the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and John Marshall Law School. He served as a director of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, and he judged moot court competitions sponsored by state, local, and national bar associations.
Bill was a dedicated husband to Kathleen and loving father to Christine and Caroline. He was overjoyed to give away Caroline at her wedding to Ben Ziff in Santa Barbara, California in May, 2015, and he was equally proud of Christine as she became an advocate for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers at the renowned cancer-community support organization, Imerman Angels.
In addition to his family, Bill’s passions included golf and following sports of all kinds at the professional and college levels.
Of all of Bill’s battles and legal accomplishments, his last fight was his most courageous. He bravely battled cancer for the past 18 months, always with a commitment to winning in spite of the odds. Bill passed away on September 23, 2015.
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