Michael Schag

Practice Groups:

Toxic Torts & Asbestos

Business and Commercial Litigation

Appellate Advocacy

Government Contracts


Product Liability

Qui Tam (Whistleblower)

Environmental Law

Military Law

Office Locations:

Edwardsville, IL

Chicago, IL



Email Me


  • Air War College (Excellence Distinction), Air University, 2014
  • Air Command & Staff College, Air University, 2008
  • Squadron Officer School, Air University, 1996
  • Juris Doctor (cum laude), Oklahoma City University School of Law, 1994
  • Bachelor of Science-Business Administration, University of Illinois, 1989 

Year Joined Firm



Heyl Royster


Michael Schag (Shareholder)

Mike is an innovative trial and appellate lawyer, as well as an accomplished business leader. He is lead counsel in business and toxic tort litigation involving products liability, manufacturing, construction, design, engineering, distribution, transportation, aviation, premises ownership, government and regulatory compliance. In addition, he facilitates commercial transactions. Mike is an Assistant State's Attorney for Madison County, Illinois, handling the defense of civil actions against governmental entities. He is the co-chair of the Toxic Tort & Asbestos practice group, and in addition chairs practice groups in Government Contracts and Military Law.

Mike is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, active and reserve. His career culminated with a seat as an Appellate Judge on the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. There he authored opinions while participating in panel and en banc decisions. Before that, Mike was the Chief Reserve Trial Judge of the Air Force. In addition to court leadership responsibilities, Mike presided over jury and bench trials. Prior to his judicial investiture, Mike served in quasi-judicial capacities presiding over summary courts, grand jury hearings, and administrative boards. 

Mike also spent an unprecedented 17 years as a key player in the Air Force's marquis National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)-based TRIALS program, first as a trial advocacy instructor, then as a senior program leader, and finally as a visiting judge. He was hailed as the best team chief in the program for more than a decade. The program was featured on Armed Forces Network News. 

Mike’s leadership skills led to multiple assignments as the acting director of legal operations at the Wing, Numbered Air Force, and Major Command levels. Over the years, Mike represented the Air Force in environmental litigation, tort claims, contract disputes, and was a military prosecutor. He was an Area Defense Counsel and Circuit Defense Counsel deployed into complex and high-visibility actions. 

Mike has appeared several times on an NBC affiliate as a military expert commenting on the legal aspects of breaking news, including events at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. 

As an Adjunct Professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for ten years, Mike taught over 25 graduate and undergraduate level courses in insurance, environmental, labor, employment, business, and aviation law. During law school, he was a Merit Scholar and the Executive Articles Editor of the Law Review.

Significant Cases

  • Williams v. Ortiz 937 F.3d 936 (7th Cir. 2019) Successful appellate defense of medical providers who rendered care to pretrial detainee in first case argued following announcement of the new and more rigorous Miranda v. County of Lake standard of objective unreasonableness under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment replacing the former deliberate indifference standard of the Eighth Amendment.
  • Durbin v. Flavorchem Corp. 2018 IL (4th) 180358-U Summary judgment win at trial court and successful appellate defense of product manufacturer where a decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission collaterally estopped the plaintiff from re-litigating the essential element of the cause of action in a products liability case.
  • Bueker v. Madison County 2016 IL App (5th) 150282 Successful appeal and oral argument resulting in the decertification of a class action as to a governmental entity that was based on claims of sale-in-error and money-had-and-received. The Appellate Court remanded the Plaintiffs’/Appellee’s claims to the trial court for dismissal.
  • Ridenour v. Kaiser-Hill Co. 397 F.3d 925 (10th Cir. 2005) Successful defense of government contractor in False Claims Act appeal averting revelation of classified information and adopting the Sequoia standard of review.
  • United States v. Buck Air Force Court-Martial (2001) Jury trial defense of Air Force physician charged with failing to obey an order to receive the controversial anthrax vaccination prior to a deployment to Southwest Asia resulting in no confinement and no dismissal for the officer.  The theory advanced on a motion to dismiss and rejected by this court that the vaccine was an Investigational New Drug necessarily requiring informed consent was later a primary underpinning of a ruling in 2004 by the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia enjoining the Department of Defense’s Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program.
  • In re Command Pilot Air Force Accident Investigation Board (2001) Successful defense of command pilot following the crash of an F-16 Flying Falcon fighter jet with a civilian Cessna 172 demonstrating contributory instrument failure in the heads up display.


“Debtors and Creditors - The Sharpened Teeth of the Military Lending Act,” Illinois Bar Journal (2018) - Download Article

“The Heart of Institutionalism,” Litigation, The Journal of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association (2016)

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, John Marshall Law School (2014) - View Here

"Legal Guide for Military Families," co-author, The American Bar Association (2013)

"Servicemember and Veterans Rights," co-author, Matthew Bender (2011)

"Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," chapter in Military Service and the Law, co-author, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2009) (received Outstanding Publication Award by American Continuing Legal Education Ass’n)

"Finding Your Way Around the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," Illinois Bar Journal (2007)

"The Dynamics of State and Local Protest Litigation," Contract Mgmt (2006)

"10 Principles for Receiving High-Quality Legal Services," Contract Mgmt (2005)

"The Consequences of Mutually Mistaken Facts in Contracting," Contract Mgmt (2005)

"Developing Basic Trial Skills," The Civil Litigator (2004)

"The Use and Misuse of Contingent Fees in Government Contracting," Contract Mgmt (2003)

"The Federal Mentor-Protege Program," Contract Mgmt (2003)

"Commercial Contract Liability," Contract Mgmt (2002)

"The Legal Environment of Insurance Malpractice," Arizona Agent (1996)

"The Case for Expanded Illinois Insurance Producer Duties," Northern Illinois University Law Review (1996)

“Even the Small Family Farmer Needs an Estate Plan,” Small Farmer’s Journal (1996)

“The Implicitly Constitutional Item Veto,” Oklahoma City University Law Review (1994)

Public Speaking

“Defending the Take Home Asbestos Case and the Role of Background Exposure”
Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference 2021

“Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity and Challenges to Resolving Cases in a Post-Folta Environment”
Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference 2019

“Discovery Issues in Asbestos Litigation”
Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference 2017

“Banking Law: Military Lending Act Compliance”
Illinois Bankers Association Fall Compliance Conference 2016

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Litigation”
Worldwide Trial Conference, Joint Base Andrews, MD 2016

“Banking Law: Military Lending Act Compliance”
Northern Illinois Compliance Association 2016

“Implementing the New Military Lending Act Rules”
Illinois Bankers Association Compliance Conference 2016

“Local Government Law”
Collinsville 2015

“Risk Assessment: Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)”
Illinois Association of County Engineers 100th Annual Spring Meeting 2014

“Asbestos Damages and the Economics Expert”
Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference 2012

“Local Government Law: What Attorneys Need to Know”
Fairview Heights 2012

“Issues of Justice and Dignity in the Law”
John Marshall University Law School 2011

“Air Force TRIALS Program”
Interviewed on Armed Forces Network Television 2010

“Mortgage Foreclosures: The Meltdown Continues”
Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education 2010

“Servicemembers Civil Relief Act”
Southern Illinois University 2009

“Contract Protest Litigation”
World Congress 2005

“Legal Perspectives in Government Contracting”
University of Missouri-St. Louis 2005

Professional Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America (2019-2022): Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected several times as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois in the areas of Toxic Torts Defense Law, Products Liability Defense Law, Military Law, and Professional Malpractice Defense. Less than five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.
  • Military awards and decorations include the 18th Air Force Reserve Judge Advocate of the Year Award; nine Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals; six Outstanding Unit Awards; the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award; two National Defense Service Medals; the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Air Force Reserve Medal with Device.   

Professional Associations

  • Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors, Legal Counsel)
  • Defense Research Institute (Toxic Tort and Litigation Committees)
  • National Contract Management Association (Board of Directors 2003-2004)
  • Appellate Lawyers Association
  • American Bar Association (Judicial Division, Litigation and Public Contracts Sections)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Madison County Bar Association

Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Armed Forces
  • United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
  • United States District Court, District of Colorado
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • State Courts of Illinois, Colorado, and Missouri