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Former Madison County chief judge joins SWMW law firm as partner

David Hylla, who retired from the Madison County bench late last year, has joined St. Louis-based SWMW Law as a partner.

Hylla, who retired at year’s end from the courts, has practiced personal injury law for two decades and served as a Madison County judge for more than 13 years.

The personal injury firm said Hylla has for many years focused on representing railroad workers and others seeking compensation for personal injuries, trying cases around the country. Along with trial work, he represented Service Employees International Union custodians, cooks and staff in local school districts and at Southern Illinois University, his undergraduate alma mater.

In 2006, he was elected resident circuit judge for Madison County. In 2013, he was elected chief circuit judge for the 3rd Judicial Circuit, including Madison and Bond counties. In 2017, he was the first from Madison County to be elected chair of the Conference of Chief Circuit Judges for the State of Illinois. While circuit judge, he presided over many major civil trials including those for nursing home negligence, medical malpractice and personal injuries from railroad accidents, barge accidents and auto/trucking accidents. He was also certified as a civil mediator by the National Center for State Courts.

Hylla also served as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Judicial Conference, tasked with making long-range strategic plans to improve court accessibility and fairness. Since its creation in 2014, he has chaired the Supreme Court’s e-business Policy Advisory Board and currently serves on the Supreme Court’s Pretrial Practices Commission working on improving Illinois’ bail system.

The firm’s announcement said Hylla is an accordion player who, for over 40 years, has used his talents for charitable and social events. He met his wife, Anita, at a polka dance.

They live in Illinois with their teenage daughter, Amelia.


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