Sandra J. Durkin

Sandra Durkin never shrinks from a challenge, so it’s no surprise that she has made her mark helping her clients resolve high-stakes disputes and thorny legal questions. A persuasive advocate and thoughtful counselor, Sandra delivers well-researched, nuanced legal advice as she guides clients through complex legal and regulatory environments. She is also a tenacious champion for her clients, on the lookout for efficient resolutions but also prepared to dig in and do whatever is necessary to help her clients achieve their business objectives.

With a practical understanding of her clients’ business realities, Sandra offers efficient, effective means to managing risk and maximizing opportunity in a changing legal and regulatory landscape.

Health plans benefit from her experience

Sandra prioritizes an in-depth understanding of her clients’ businesses to help her clients stay compliant and mitigate risk. In addition to providing legal analysis and support on the day-to-day matters that healthcare organizations face, Sandra works with companies to assess and develop comprehensive compliance programs, prepare for government audits, and draft contracts tailored to their business needs.

Before focusing her practice on health care, Sandra handled complex commercial litigation for companies in a host of industries. She draws on this knowledge to help her clients identify legal and regulatory risks and to develop creative and effective approaches to anticipate and avoid disputes.

Sandra’s litigation background includes representing health plans in payor-provider disputes, affirmative litigation against the federal government for millions of dollars in risk corridors payments, affirmative follow-on False Claims Act recoveries, and responding to subpoenas in multidistrict class action litigation. Sandra also has extensive experience representing insurance companies in cases involving allegations of breaches of contract, fraud, breaches of fiduciary duties, bad faith, and violations of state and federal statutes and regulations, in state and federal court as well as in confidential arbitrations.

Ditching the legalese

Executives and in-house counsel facing litigation need context and clarity in order to decide on the optimal strategy and course that is best for the business. Sandra has a knack for making complicated legal and procedural concepts accessible. Boiling the issues down to the most essential elements, Sandra tailors her message to her audience. Her ability to frame the issues and clearly make her client’s case contributes to her record of success in court and in arbitration.

A force for good

Beginning in law school, Sandra has demonstrated a deep commitment to helping the vulnerable and less fortunate. Early in her career, she was a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office – Juvenile Justice Division, and she has since represented indigent clients in Section 1983 civil rights and mortgage foreclosure litigation, as well as immigration and criminal matters.  Her robust pro bono practice has focused on protecting immigrants’ rights, representing DACA recipients and obtaining significant victories for asylum applicants before the immigration court.


Sandra was recognized in the 2018 edition of The Legal 500 United States as a recommended leading attorney in the category ‘Insurance: Advice to Insurers.’

Previous experience

Prior to joining Strategic Health Law in 2019, Sandra worked at a litigation boutique and a large international law firm.

Professional affiliations

Sandra is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), the Chicago Bar Association and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.


Sandra is admitted to practice in the State of Illinois, the Northern District of Illinois, the Seventh Circuit, the Federal Circuit, and the Court of Federal Claims.

Education and honors

Sandra earned her J.D. at the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a Clarence Darrow Scholar as well as Executive Editor and Contributing Editor of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. She has a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in English from the University of Arizona, magna cum laude.