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Thomas A. Durkin

Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Loyola University Chicago

Tom Durkin is a nationally known trial lawyer specializing in the defense of complex federal criminal matters, with a special emphasis on the defense of prosecutions involving national security, domestic terrorism, and civil rights related matters. He has written and lectured widely on national security and civil rights issues at a number of law schools, including Duke, Notre Dame, and the University of Chicago.

Mr. Durkin has been admitted by the U.S. Department of Defense to the “Pool of Qualified Civilian Defense Counsel to Practice Before the Military Commissions,” and presently serves on the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Select Committee on National Security. He also serves as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Center for Civil and Human Rights of the University of Notre Dame Law School. Mr. Durkin was also selected as one of five lawyers nationwide to participate in the John Adams Project, a joint effort of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to provide civilian defense counsel in the case of U.S. v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, et al., the initial 2008 capital trial in the Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Durkin was civilian counsel for Ramzi bin Al-Shibh who was charged with conspiring to orchestrate the September 11th attacks of the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Mr. Durkin was a Law Clerk to the Honorable James B. Parsons of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago from 1978 to 1984. He currently practices with his wife and law partner, Janis D. Roberts, in their Chicago firm of Durkin & Roberts.


  • 2012–present
    Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Loyola University Chicago School of Law


  • 1973 
    University of San Francisco , J.D.
  • 1968 
    University of Notre Dame , A.B.


  • 2016
    Permanent States of Exception: A Two Tiered System of Criminal Justice Courtesy of the Double Government Wars on Crime, Drugs & Terror , Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 2, Winter 2016

Professional Memberships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, State Bars of Illinois, Indiana, California and New York