John has served as the chair of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. since January 1, 2002. As chair, he has led the evolution of the Firm in its quest to be "the best in the world at providing the clients creative and practical solutions at unsurpassed value." Shook has honed its ability to deliver the promise of its vision statement by focusing on such areas as science and technology, knowledge management, litigation support, operational efficiency, and a culture that causes diversity to thrive. The success of these efforts culminated in the selection of Shook, Hardy & Bacon as the inaugural Global Products Liability Law Firm of the Year by the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers.
Prior to his appointment as chair, John was actively involved in the management and trial of significant lawsuits for a number of corporate clients. His 25 plus years of experience involves many facets of trial activity, including discovery, trial, appellate practice, and mediation.
John worked as national trial counsel in products liability litigation for Ford Motor Company, Weil-McLain, The Marley Company, ConocoPhillips, Evenflo Company, Inc., and Elf Atochem.
John is a member of The Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Propane Gas Defense Association. He also serves on the boards of the Catholic Education Foundation, Friends of Special People, the Lakemary Center Endowment Association, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Economic Development Corporation, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes, and the Kansas City Starlight Theatre. He is an immediate past member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce (2005-08). John has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014; the Marquis Who's Who for 2006, 2007 and 2008; Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys for 2009, 2010 and 2011; Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013; and selected as one of Lawdragon magazine's "100 Managing Partners You Need to Know."
Highlights - National Products Liability Litigation
John's achievements as a trial attorney include:
Obtained a defense verdict in January 2001 in a case involving a 1996 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The plaintiff, a quadriplegic, alleged the door latch of the F-150 was defectively designed.
Obtained a defense verdict in March 2000 in a case involving a 1991 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The plaintiff alleged the roof of the F-150 was defective in both design and manufacture. The plaintiff was a 9-year-old who sustained a severe brain injury with over $10 million in future economic damages.
Obtained a defense verdict for Ford in a "lap-belt" only case in May 1999 in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. The plaintiff was a five-year-old girl who sustained a lumbar fracture and torn vena cava in the accident.
A defense verdict in March 1998 in a roof-crush case tried in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The plaintiff was a restrained individual who sustained a C-7 fracture in a rollover of a Ford Taurus.
In October 1996, obtained summary judgment following a Daubert hearing, on the first day of trial, in a case involving a severely brain-injured young woman. The plaintiff claimed she was injured because the restraint system on her Ford Ranger allegedly inertially unlatched during a rollover.
Obtained a defense verdict for Ford Motor Company in July 1996 in a multimillion-dollar wrongful death action. The plaintiffs claimed that the door latch, restraint system, and window glazing on an F-Series truck were defectively designed.
In 1995, successfully obtained a defense verdict in his representation of Conoco, Inc., in a multi-death action arising out of a propane explosion in rural Missouri.
In 1991, obtained a defense verdict in favor of Colt's Manufacturing Company, Inc., in a case involving allegations that a Colt single-action revolver was defective and unreasonably dangerous.
In 1984, was actively involved in the Kansas City Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse litigation and was trial counsel in the licensing actions against the structural engineers on that project.
John has practiced before United States courts in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, and Maryland and state courts in Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Texas, Alaska, California, Montana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Arizona, Washington, and Louisiana. John was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 1979 and the Supreme Court of the United States in 1991.
1979 J.D., Washington & Lee University College of Law
1976 B.A., University of Connecticut
- SHB Chair since 2002
News & Events
- Fifty-One SHB Attorneys Recognized as Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers
- Best Lawyers® Recognizes 44 SHB Attorneys
- Ingram’s Magazine Features John Murphy in “50 Kansans You Should Know”
- Missouri Lawyers Media Names John Murphy Law Firm Leader of the Year
- John Murphy Publishes Article on Managing Litigation Costs