• Illinois
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)


Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D.; Woodrow Wilson Fellow

Loyola University Chicago, A.B.


Stephen Pugh is a partner at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. He joined Burke Warren in 2020. He previously served as president of Pugh, Jones & Johnson, a firm he founded in 1991.

Stephen practices in the areas of insurance defense, complex litigation, director and officer liability, internal and external corporate investigations, general and complex commercial litigation as well as representing major governmental and educational entities in a variety of areas.

He has successfully defended claims brought pursuant to Section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code and Section 1983 civil rights claims against insurers. He has also tried numerous jury and bench trials at the state level and argued before the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Illinois Supreme Court and is a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court.

Stephen served as law clerk to the Honorable James B. Parsons, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and as Special Trial Attorney in the Honors Program for the United States Department of Justice.  He served as an associate and partner with the law firm of Chapman and Cutler for 13 years.

Stephen has lectured and participated as a panel member in many professional organizations.  He has authored several articles and has received numerous awards, including the prestigious 2008 Medal of Excellence and the Francis J. Rooney/St. Thomas More Award from Loyola University School of Law. 

Since 2006, Leading Lawyers Network has selected Stephen as a Leading Lawyer. Stephen has been elected a top 100 Leading Business Lawyer in Illinois from the Leading Lawyers Magazine, and he was elected by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in commercial litigation, governmental, municipal, lobbying and administrative law, and public finance law for 2018. He also has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers and Law & Politics Magazines for the years 2005 through 2020. 

The American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government Law selected Stephen to receive the prestigious Jefferson Fordham Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to state and local government law throughout his career.  Most recently, the United States District Court, in conjunction with the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, presented the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service to Stephen.


Complex Litigation and Investigations

  • Representation of a major insurance company against Section 155 claims of unreasonable and vexatious treatment.

  • Representation of insurer against a potential multi-dollar class action consumer protection suit alleging violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA”).

  • Defended a major insurance company in a Section 1983 civil rights matter alleging that the insurer conspired with police officers and prosecutors to deny coverage of a massive home fire.

  • Representation of a Fortune 100 corporation in an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court defending the client against the Trustee’s multi- million- dollar claw back claim against the company.

  • Led a major investigation for a Big Ten University into highly publicized allegations of hostile racial environment and abusive coaching in its Women's Basketball Program.

  • Representation of the City Council of the City of Chicago in the Shakman patronage-hiring litigation, including presentations to the City Council regarding requirements of the decree and in all phases of resolution.

  • Representation of the Archdiocese of Chicago in connection with a detailed analysis to determine if discriminatory pattern existed in settlements of claims against clergy.

  • Representation of commuter rail line in Title VI class action and allegations of discriminatory funding in the transportation industry.

  • Representation of The Chicago Housing Authority in a 7,500+ plaintiff “mass action” seeking over $500 million for damages stemming from environmental claims.

  • Lead counsel for the City of Chicago and various detectives and police officers in multi-million- dollar civil rights claims.

Honors & Awards

  • Member, National Black Lawyers Top 100
    • The National Black Lawyers Top 100 celebrates legal excellence, promoting attorneys as subject-matter experts as part of a national network of top African American attorneys.


  • Justice Anne Burke's Judicial Screening Committee, Committee Member
  • Salvation Army Advisory Board, Member
  • Business Leadership Council, ABLE Business Development Committee Co-Chair
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys, Member
  • Executives' Club of Chicago, Member
  • Chicago Citizens for Change, Board Member
  • City Club of Chicago, Member
  • Jewish-Black Business Alliance, Founding Member and Chairman
  • Emergency Fund, Emeritus Board Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • National Bar Association, Member
  • Chicago Bar Association, Member
  • Cook County Bar Association, Member


330 North Wabash Avenue, Suite 2100
Chicago, Illinois 60611-3607
T: 312.840.7000
F: 312.840.7900