Heyl Royster

John Heil

Practice Groups:

Business and Commercial Litigation

Civil Rights Litigation/Section 1983 & Correctional Healthcare

Insurance Services

Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy

Office Locations:

Peoria (Downtown), IL

Phone: 309.676.0400

Email Me


Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles in Third Quarter 2021 Issue - 10/05/2021

60 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2021 Leading Lawyers List - 08/04/2021

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles in First Quarter 2021 Issue - 02/24/2021

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles in Fourth Quarter 2020 Issue - 11/30/2020

Attorneys Author Articles in Latest Edition of IDC Quarterly - 08/28/2020

67 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2020 Leading Lawyers List - 07/30/2020

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 06/30/2020

John Heil Pens Article in IDC Quarterly - 04/30/2020

COVID-19 Small Business Relief Programs - 04/09/2020

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 09/30/2019

64 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2019 Leading Lawyers’ List - 06/28/2019

John Heil Elected for FBA Leadership Position - 03/01/2019

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 06/10/2018

Heyl Royster Attorneys Recognized at IDC Annual Meeting - 06/07/2018

79 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 05/31/2018

Seven Heyl Royster Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 03/28/2018

Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 10/13/2017

Heil IDC Article on Tort Immunity Act and Meaning of “Willful & Wanton” Conduct - 08/30/2017

Heil Elected to IDC Board of Directors - 07/20/2017

60 Heyl Royster Attorneys on Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 06/29/2017

Guarding Against Unconscious Bias in the Workplace - 03/07/2017

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 01/20/2017

Heil Writes on the Emerging Use of Drones for Commercial Purposes - 08/19/2016

Heil Appointed to IDC’s Board of Directors - 07/15/2016

Six Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Publications - 01/15/2016

Heyl Royster Leadership at Peoria County Bar Association - 01/11/2016

Eight Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 07/10/2015

Victory in Civil Rights Case - 04/10/2015

Firm Adds Drone Law Practice - 03/06/2015

Eight Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 03/05/2015

Heyl Royster Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 12/16/2014

Firm Provides Pro Bono Assistance to Immigrants Seeking Deferred Action - 08/22/2014

Heyl Royster Attorneys Undertake Leadership Roles with Peoria County Bar Association - 08/09/2013

Heyl Royster Announces Five New Partners - 01/03/2013


  • Juris Doctor (with honors), Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1996
  • Bachelor of Science-Political Science and History (magna cum laude), Bradley University, 1993 

Year Joined Firm




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Heyl Royster



John Heil (Office Managing Partner/Shareholder)


John focuses his practice on business and commercial litigation, complex civil rights litigation, the representation of insurance carriers in liability coverage disputes, and the defense of catastrophic tort actions. John also defends professional liability actions directed at attorneys and personal injury claims brought against individuals and their employers. John is a Co-Chair of the firm's Business and Commercial Litigation Practice and the head of its Attorney Mentoring Program.

John's business and commercial practice includes litigating cases involving allegations of breach of contract, fraud, and deceptive business practices on behalf of large and small businesses and their employees throughout the state. John is also heavily involved in the defense of federal civil rights actions and associated state law claims leveled against members of the law enforcement community and other public officials. In this context John routinely defends allegations of false arrest, excessive force, deliberate indifference, and denial of due process of law.

John joined Heyl Royster in 2007 after serving for eleven years as a trial attorney with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. During his years as a prosecutor, he prepared and argued hundreds of motions, over one hundred bench trials, and eighteen felony jury trials. As a member of the Civil Actions Bureau, John defended Cook County, Illinois, its elected officials, and employees in state and federal court. John was part of the team charged with defending the elected State's Attorney and his Assistants in several high profile federal civil rights actions in the Northern District of Illinois. He received his J.D., with Honors, from Chicago-Kent College of Law and a B.S., magna cum laude, from Bradley University.


  • “Notice of Cooperation,” chapter in Commercial and Professional Liability Insurance, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2023)
  • “The Element of Proximate Cause in a Personal Injury Lawsuit: Analysis, Complicating Factors, and Changing Jury Instructions,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2022) - Read Article
  • “The Naming of “John Doe” Defendants Is Not a ‘Mistake’ Triggering the Relation-Back Doctrine,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2021) - Read Article
  • “Supreme Court Confirms Dismissal for Failure to State a Claim Without Prejudice is a ‘Strike’ Under the PLRA’s Three-Strikes Rule,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2020) - Read Article
  • “Appellate Court Provides a Primer on Supplementary Proceedings Against Third Parties,” IDC Defense Update (2020) - Read Article
  • “Electronic Discovery in Illinois Five Years After the 2014 Amendments to the Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2019) - Read Article
  • Lewis v. City of Chicago:” False Evidence and the Fourth Amendment,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2019) - Read Article
  • “A Fatal Fall in Jail Custody Was Not the Result of Deliberate Indifference,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article
  • “Plaintiffs’ Section 1983 Right to Poll the Jury: Recent Seventh Circuit Jurisprudence,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article
  • “It Means What it Says: The Proper Definition of Willful and Wanton Misconduct under the Tort Immunity Act,” Civil Practice & Procedure IDC Defense Update (2017) - Download Article
  • “Consciously Guard Against Unconscious Bias In The Workplace,” InterBusiness Issues (2017) – Download Article
  • “Animal Abuse Case Provides Reminder as to the Low Federal Pleading Standard,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
  • “Is This Really Happening? The Emerging Use of Drones for Commercial Purposes,” Skywritings, The Newsletter of the Aviation Law Committee of the Defense Research Institute (2016) - Download Article
  • "Botched Investigation or Cover-Up? Either Way, It May Not Be a Constitutional Violation," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • "Attack of the Drones: Small Unmanned Aircraft Claims Are on Their Way," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • Click here to view full list.

Public Speaking

  • “IDC Deposition Academy”
    NIU Conference Center, Naperville, Illinois 2023
  • “We Are Settled, Right? Settling Claims of Minors, Disabled Persons, and the Deceased”
    Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel 2020
  • “Liability - Weird & Unusual Cases”
    Greater Peoria Claims Association 2019
  • “Civil Rights Litigation Under Section 1983”
    Heyl Royster’s Annual Governmental Holiday Seminar 2018
  • “Drones and Insurance”
    CorVel U Fall Seminar 2018
  • “Advancing Your Case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois & Practice Pointers: Section 1983 Law”
    The Federal Bar Association’s Central District of Illinois Chapter Seminar 2018
  • “Tort Immunity & Civil Rights Update”
    Heyl Royster’s 33rd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2018
  • “Tortious & Intentional Interference with Business Relations ‘More than Defamation’”
    Heyl Royster “Avoiding Litigation Part Deux” Seminar 2018
  • “Commercial Drones: Flying into Litigation Turbulence”
    Defense Research Institute’s Business Litigation Seminar 2017
  • “Can I Park My Drone Here? How the FAA’s New Drone Regulations Affect Your District”
    Illinois Association of Park Districts Legal Symposium 2016
  • “Legal Aspects of Drones: Where We Are & Where We Are Heading”
    Greater Peoria Claims Association's Annual Vendor Fair & Educational Seminar 2016
  • “Unboxing Case Law: An Insurance Law Update”
    Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2016
  • Click here to view full list”

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois.  Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.

Professional Associations

  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Board of Directors, 2016-present; Past Chair, Civil Practice Committee)
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Peoria County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Abraham Lincoln Court

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Court, Central, Southern and Northern (Trial Counsel) Districts of Illinois
  • State Courts of Illinois

Community Involvement

  • Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce: former Member of the Board of Directors; Member, Government Affairs Committee; Graduate, Community Leadership School, 2011