Skip To Content
Free consultation Text or call 312.553.4900

Hiring a Sexual Abuse Lawyer For Your Case: Why Experience Matters

May 26, 2023  ·  By HM&M

Victims of sexual abuse in institutions or structured organizations often suffer for a lifetime, sometimes blaming themselves for the criminal behavior of another. Many victims are unaware that the organizations they trusted may have known about the abuser, neglected to stop them, and, in some cases, covered it up.

Even if the abuse took place years ago, the law may permit you to seek damages in a court of law.

As a sexual abuse survivor, choosing the right lawyer to represent you can be difficult. The attorney who works on your case needs to be someone you can trust who also has experience handling sexual abuse cases.

When searching for a law firm to work with, you should consider whether the lawyers have the experience and resources necessary to build a strong case against the large and powerful institutions that often failed to prevent or stop the abuse.

Working with an experienced sexual abuse attorney ensures that you build the most robust case possible and get the treatment you deserve. Below, we have outlined the qualities sexual abuse survivors should look for in a firm to pursue the compensation, justice, and closure they deserve.

>>>Related Read: Illinois Attorney General Releases Report on Catholic Clergy Child Sex Abuse in Illinois

What Traits Make a Good Lawyer?

A good lawyer exhibits experience, expertise, compassion, and professionalism. Our questions can help guide you in your search for an attorney to ensure you choose the right lawyer for your sexual abuse case.


Handling a sexual abuse case can be far more complex than handling other cases. Lawyers need to have a complete understanding of liability issues and psychological damages that may not be relevant or present in other personal injury cases.

Consider asking these questions to get a solid idea of a lawyer’s experience.

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Do you focus your legal practice on sexual abuse cases and trials, or do you handle all legal matters?
  • What is the total number of sexual abuse cases you have tried to a jury?
  • Overall, how many victims of sexual abuse have you represented?

Try a Google search to see if your lawyer or their firm has been in the news regarding sexual abuse cases.


Beyond having handled sexual abuse cases in the past, the lawyer should have the right results and outcomes to prove competency and effectiveness. As a sexual abuse survivor, you may desire compensation in addition to moral justice. Perhaps you have unanswered questions and are seeking closure.

When you meet with a lawyer, ask these questions to find out how they can help you.

  • In similar cases, what results have you received?
  • What is your win/loss record?
  • Do you have positive reviews from previous clients?


Talking to someone about the sexual abuse you experienced can be overwhelming and intense. You may have sensitive questions and topics to discuss, and working with the right lawyer can help you throughout the emotional process of filing a suit or claim. Make sure that the lawyer you choose is trustworthy, compassionate, and respectful.

The lawyer you hire should be committed to fighting for you, whatever that may look like. Ask them questions about how they will handle your case, such as: Are you willing to take a case like mine to trial if that is the only means of obtaining fair compensation?


A good sexual abuse lawyer should be dependable and take a client-first approach. Integrity is key. During your consultation, how the attorney answers your questions will give you a good understanding of how you will be treated throughout your case.

Lawyers actively involved and holding leadership positions with the state’s Trial Lawyers Association tend to be the most experienced and successful trial lawyers in the area. To learn more, ask them directly how active they are in the state’s Trial Lawyer Association.

Talk to an Experienced Chicago Sexual Abuse Lawyer

If you are a victim of sexual abuse, you deserve justice. Choosing the right attorney can bring you the outcome you deserve. Hurley McKenna & Mertz has a proven track record of achieving favorable results for our clients. Choosing an experienced attorney with glowing reviews is essential in helping you achieve justice with a fair and meaningful recovery.

“I honestly, to the core of my soul, believe that had we had other attorneys, our outcome would not have been in our favor—not by any stretch of the imagination. In timing, monetarily, emotionally, we would not have had near the outcome.”

With nearly 75 years of combined experience and a history of successful sexual abuse verdicts and settlements, the attorneys on our team are considered subject matter experts within the industry. Because of our expansive experience, we can help survivors of sexual abuse obtain justice.

For more information about our work on these types of cases, or a confidential, free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us today.

May 26, 2023

Illinois Attorney General Releases Report on Catholic Clergy Child Sex Abuse

The Illinois Attorney General has released its long-awaited, comprehensive investigation of sexual abuse of children in Illinois by Roman Catholic priests, brothers, and other church officials. You can read the report here. The Attorney General’s investigation resulted in the Illinois Catholic Dioceses publicly listing an additional 231 substantiated Catholic cleric and religious brother child sex... Read More

May 26, 2023

"The Church has been Concealing the Identities of Hundreds of Abusers"

Hurley McKenna & Mertz partner Michael Mertz spoke to the Associated Press about the Illinois Attorney General’s long-awaited report regarding the sexual abuse of children in Illinois by Roman Catholic priests, brothers, and other church officials.   The Attorney General’s investigation resulted in the Illinois Catholic Dioceses publicly listing for the first time an additional 231... Read More

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.