Flint Taylor

G. FLINT TAYLOR, is a 1968 graduate of Brown University and a 1972 graduate of Northwestern Law School. As a law student, he was a founding member of the People’s Law Office in 1969, and has been a partner of the PLO since 1972.

 As a student and lawyer, he has been dedicated to litigating against police violence and racism for more than 54 years. Among the landmark cases that Mr. Taylor has been a lead lawyer are the Fred Hampton Black Panther case; the Greensboro, North Carolina case against the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis; the Ford Heights Four case; and a series of cases arising from a pattern and practice of police torture and cover-up by former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, former State’s Attorney Richard Devine, and numerous other police and government officials. He and his PLO co-counsel obtained a multi-million-dollar settlement for a seven year old boy who was falsely accused by the Chicago Police of the murder of 11 year old Ryan Harris and Taylor has represented, and continues to represent, numerous wrongfully convicted persons who have spent decades in prison and on death row, including more than a dozen Burge torture survivors. He and sister PLO lawyer Jan Susler also represented the first woman jailhouse lawyer in Illinois, Maxine Smith, winning her freedom from segregation and a large jury verdict.   

Taylor’s and his fellow PLO lawyers’ work in fighting against police torture in Chicago for more than 35 years has been instrumental in obtaining the conviction and imprisonment of police torture ringleader Jon Burge and the precedent setting decision that upheld the inclusion of former Mayor Richard M. Daley as a co-conspiring defendant in the Michael Tillman and Alonzo Smith civil rights cases. He also worked with the movement to obtain reparations for 60 survivors of Chicago police torture, and recently won the freedom and exoneration of police torture survivor Jackie Wilson after 36 years of wrongful imprisonment.  He was also one of the lead lawyers representing Nanci Koschman in her case against the CPD and SAO for covering up the truth about the death of her son in order to protect the Daley family and in obtaining a multi-million-dollar settlement for 74 victims of illegal strip and body cavity searches by the Milwaukee Police Department. He was part of the legal team that obtained the largest settlement of its kind for the family of an African American man who was fatally shot by a Little Rock police officer and represented three victims of torture and abuse at the CPD’s secret interrogation site, known as Homan Square. He and fellow PLO lawyer Ben Elson obtained a multi-million-dollar settlement for the family of a Milwaukee man who suffocated to death in the back of a Milwaukee police car. Most recently, he and Elson successfully litigated the Marcus Deon Smith case in Greensboro that exposed a pattern and practice of racially and sexually discriminatory police hogtying, and obtained a multi-million-dollar settlement for Smith’s family that included a memorial in honor of Marcus.

Taylor also played a major role in the George Jones “street files” case that uncovered the unlawful Chicago police practice of keeping one set of files to be produced to defense lawyers while maintaining another secret set of files that often contained exculpatory evidence.  This case dramatically changed the criminal discovery process in Cook County and also led to the groundbreaking wrongful prosecution verdict in Jones v. City of Chicago. As a police brutality litigator, he has been instrumental in pioneering and litigating Monell pattern and practice claims against municipalities, particularly in the areas of repeater cops, police discipline, the police code of silence, and torture and domestic violence by police officers. Taylor also played a key role in major litigation brought against the Marion Federal Penitentiary, Stateville and Pontiac prisons in the areas of unconstitutional segregation, cruel and unusual conditions of confinement, and behavior modification.

Mr. Taylor is also an accomplished appellate advocate, and successfully argued the civil rights cases of Cleavinger v. Saxner and Buckley v. Fitzsimmons before the United States Supreme Court, as well as numerous cases before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals,  the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Illinois Appellate Court.

Mr. Taylor is a longtime National Lawyers Guild member, a founding editor of the Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Reporter, has extensively written and lectured in the field of civil rights litigation, the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO program, and police torture, and has often appeared on radio and television and at other public forums to discuss these topics. He has authored five law review articles on these subjects, and his articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, The Nation, In These Times, the Huffington Post, Truthout, Injustice Watch, and Portside.

In 1975 Mr. Taylor was honored, along with his law partner Jeffrey Haas, for his work on the Fred Hampton case by being named by the Chicago Reader as members of the “Heavy 75;” in 1977, with Haas, as an Advocate For Our Freedom for “representing a rare breed of legal advocates who take on the contemporary Sacco and Vanzetti or Scottsboro cases;” in 1986 he was nominated for the Durfee Foundation Award for his work in “enhancing the human dignity of others through legal institutions;” and, in 1989, again with Haas, received the Citizens Alert Fighters For Justice Award. 

He is the 2008 recipient of the William R. Ming Jr. Award of the Cook County Bar Association, given to a lawyer “for dedication and significant contribution to the causes of civil rights and individual liberties;” and in 2009 was awarded the First Defense Legal Aid First Defender Award for his “tireless commitment to protecting the civil rights of Chicago citizens.” He was also the recipient of the National Lawyers Guild’s 2009 Ernie Goodman Award “in recognition of extraordinary achievement by a National Lawyers Guild lawyer;” the 2009 Rainbow PUSH Father to the Community Award; the 2010 Jenner and Block award from the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions for his “unflagging struggle against police brutality and racial repression under color of law;” with his law partners Joey Mogul and John Stainthorp, the 2010 Chicago National Lawyers Guild Arthur Kinoy Award for their “commitment to the struggle for justice for the survivors of torture;” the 2011 SFPIF Northwestern Law School Distinguished Alumnus Award for his “outstanding commitment to public service;” with his co-counsel Locke Bowman and Alexa Van Brunt, the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization’s 2014 Legal Eagle Award; the 2016 Nelson Algren Humanitarian  Award as “a conscience in touch with humanity;” the 2017 Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Jamie Kunz Award; the 2018 Abner Mikva Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Constitution Society; and the 2020 Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  

In 2002 Taylor was named by Chicago Magazine as one of Chicago’s “30 Toughest Lawyers.” He was named by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in 2003, 2015, 2018 and 2019, as a “Super Lawyer” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, and as the number one Civil Rights Lawyer in Illinois by his peers in 2019.

He has chronicled his work and that of the Peoples Law Office in a recent award-winning historical memoir titled The Torture Machine, Racism and Police Violence in Chicago.


flinttaylor [at] peopleslawoffice.com

773-235-0070 ext: 117