Principled Advocacy For Families And Individuals With Disabilities And The Professionals Who Serve Them

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John W. Whitcomb

  • Partner

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Photo of John W. Whitcomb


John W. Whitcomb joined Monahan Law Group, LLC on January 5, 2015 and became a partner in 2018.

Mr. Whitcomb has over 30 years of experience representing clients in State and Federal trial and appellate court. At Monahan Law Group, Mr. Whitcomb is part of the mental health team that concentrates on questions regarding the Mental Health Code and representing clients in the State Mental Health court. Mr. Whitcomb also focuses on questions or confidentiality of records. John also heads the appellate practice for Monahan Law Group, including guardianship appeals, decedent's appeals and other appellate matters regarding confidentiality of records. Mr. Whitcomb has represented clients and organizations in both direct appellate litigation and amicus briefs.

Prior to joining Monahan Law Group, LLC, Mr. Whitcomb was a Senior Attorney at Equip for Equality for 15 years. In his capacity as Senior Attorney, Mr. Whitcomb represented clients in issues relating to guardianship, the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act, the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, and community placement of disabled individuals in the community. Mr. Whitcomb argued before the appellate court the seminal guardianship case, In Re Estate of K.E.J., on forced sterilization that eventually became the basis for the Illinois Statute, 755 ILCS 5/11a-17.1. Mr. Whitcomb also represented clients in abuse and neglect proceedings in juvenile court.

John was class counsel is several class actions regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago v. Chicago Transit Authority, Ligas v. Maram, and Williams v. Quinn.

Mr. Whitcomb is the recipient of the 2012 Recipient of Access Living's "Lead On!" Award, and LAF's 1996 and 1994 Equal Justice Award. Mr. Whitcomb is the former Chair of the Chicago Bar Association's Mental Health and Disability Law Committee. Mr. Whitcomb has a Teacher Training Certificate with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and has trained other lawyers in trial advocacy and deposition taking. John teaches Mental Health Law for Children as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

John has made numerous presentations on Guardianship, Advance Directives and the Mental Health Code. He has also lectured on issues regarding the American with Disabilities Act, Sexuality and the Nature of Consent, and Ethics.

Mr. Whitcomb is a graduate of Tulane Law School where he was a member of the Environmental Law Clinic. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Whitcomb graduated from Oberlin College where he majored in English and History.

Practice Areas

  • Litigation & Appeals
  • Child Welfare/Juvenile Law
  • Civil Rights Law
  • Elder Law
  • Guardianship
  • Mental Health & Confidentiality Law
  • Probate & Estate Administration
  • Risk Management


  • Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Juris Doctor
  • Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
    • Bachelor of Arts
    • Major: English and History

Bar Admission

  • Illinois
  • Vermont
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
  • Supreme Court of the United States of America

Published Works

  • Author, The Effect of Domestic Violence on Unemployment Compensation, The Women's Advocate, 9:5, 1988
  • Author, Environmental Ethics and Political Ethics Go Hand in Hand, Tulane Law School, 1991


  • Equal Justice Award, Legal Assistance Foundation, 2004 and 2006
  • Lead On! award by Access Living, 2012

Classes & Seminars

  • Presented, Mental Health and Developmental Confidentiality Act, LAF, 05/14/2015 to 05/14/2015
  • Presented, Deposition Training, NITA/Chicago Bar Foundation, 2014 to 2014
  • Presented, Who Is Your Client?, Illinois Legal Aid Conference, 2011 to 2011
  • Presented, Sexuality and the Nature of Consent, Illinois Department of Public Health, 2008 to 2008
  • Presented, Guardianship, Advance Directives, and Mental Health Code, Department of Human Services, 2006 to 2008
  • Presented, Guardianship, Governor’s Conference on Aging, 2006 to 2006

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Evanston Baseball & Softball Association, Coach for Girls Softball, Boys Baseball & Boys Traveling Baseball, 2007 to 2015
  • Chicago Bar Association of Mental Health and Disability Law Committee, 2002 to 2003

Past Positions

  • Equip for Equality, Senior Attorney

Professional Associations

  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member
  • The Chicago Bar Association, Member, 1990 to Present
  • Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Mental Health and Disability Law Committee

Representative Cases

  • In Re Estate of K.E.J., 887 N.E.2d 704, 2008, 1 Dist. Ill.
  • Williams v. Quinn, 748 F.Supp. 2d 892, 2010, N.D. Ill.
  • Appeal of Weeks, 712 A.2d 907, 1998, Vt.
  • In Re Bill, 724 A.2d 444, 1998, Vt.
  • Thomas v. Sullivan, 801 F.Supp. 65, 1992, N.D.Ill.