Hon. Christopher E. Lawler, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. Christopher E. Lawler, (Ret.)

Hon. Christopher E. Lawler, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Judge Lawler has more than 33 years of experience in personal injury and commercial matters as a highly respected litigator and sought-after pretrial judge. He is described as steady, analytical and compassionate, with abundant attention to detail. As an attorney, he successfully tried over 40 juries to verdict. While on the bench, Judge Lawler pretried more than 1,200 cases. He has handled some of the largest cases in Cook County history, including a toxic tort case involving alleged exposure of ethylene oxide to hundreds of citizens in a suburban town. Judge Lawler applies his legal knowledge and experience as well as decades of community involvement to his work as a senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems. He believes that his volunteer service has given him important insight into the needs of a wide variety of people, helping him to better facilitate the resolution of disputes.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Aviation
  • Construction Accidents
  • Federal Employers Liability Act
  • Mass Torts
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Personal Injury
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Subrogation
  • Toxic Tort
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Claims (UM&UIM)
  • Wrongful Death

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2021, Judge Lawler has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator
  • 8-year judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County, serving in the Civil Division of Municipal District 6 and rising to Supervisory Judge, 2013-2017; and four years in the Law Division’s Motion Section, 2017-2021
  • 25-year legal career, including partner at Hilbert, Lawler & Power, Ltd., 1996-2013; associate at Coleman & O’Halloran, Ltd., 1991-1995; associate at the Law Offices of Clifford P. Mallon, 1988-1991

Representative Cases

  • Construction Accident: $950,000 settlement for injured worker who fell off second floor support scaffold
  • Insurance Coverage: settled a dispute for $1.35 million wherein an insurance company was looking to be reimbursed for amounts paid out to their insured after the defendant’s alleged negligent conduct that caused substantial damage to a commercial property
  • Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death: settled a $7 million dollar case involving world-renowned surgeon for the wrongful death of a teenager; largest settlement in the history of Municipal District 6 of the Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Medical Malpractice: improper surgery resulted in plaintiff’s inability to have children; case settled for $2.25 million
  • Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death: plaintiff injured during second surgery for post-surgical pain, causing death
  • Nursing Home: settled hundreds of cases involving nursing homes
  • Personal Injury: $5.5 million dollar settlement for pedestrian struck by garbage truck resulting in multiple fractures
  • Personal Injury: settled a case involving a bicyclist struck by turning car, causing lung puncture, rib fractures and T9 fracture for $900K
  • Personal Injury: while walking in crosswalk, plaintiff was struck by a moving truck; settled for $31 million
  • Personal Injury: plaintiff riding his bicycle struck by moving vehicle
  • Premises Liability: $1.4 million settlement for fall on ice that led to back fusion
  • Premises Liability: facilitated $2 million settlement for death of child burned by faulty water heater
  • Sexual Abuse: case involved four patients abused by medical doctor; settled for $4 million
  • Wrongful Death: case involved a police chase that killed a 13-month-old child; settled for $1.4 million

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Finance Council Member, St. Alexander Catholic Church
  • Board of Directors, national not-for-profit organization
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Member, Illinois Judicial Council
  • Member, South Suburban Bar Association
  • Former Member, Civil Justice Committee
  • Former President, Southwest Bar Association
  • Celt of the Year, 2020 & 2021, Celtic Legal Society of Chicago
  • Mary Heftel Hooton Award, 2021, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois


Presentations and Publications

  • Presenter, “Discovery Best Practices,” Chicago Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Motion Practice,” Illinois State Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Views from the Bench” South Suburban Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Medical Negligence Trial & Discovery Tips, “ Southwest Bar Association
  • Presenter on several occasions at the Annual Symposium with the Judges and on the use of Zoom in the law, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin


  • JD, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • BA, Creighton University


  • Illinois State Bar
  • US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois


I was a sitting judge for over eight years, have practiced law and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2021. Many attorneys have tried cases in my courtrooms or mediated or arbitrated a case with me.

The disclosures listed above will not affect my neutrality in this dispute.

My mediation at ADR Systems proved to be extremely successful, thanks to the professionalism of our mediator.  Judge Kelley adeptly settled a very complex case involving serious injuries.  His patience, knowledge of the case, and considerate treatment of the parties involved all contributed to reaching a settlement that both sides found acceptable.  Kudos to Judge Kelley and ADR Systems for an experience I hope soon to repeat.

Thomas P Cernek, Esq.Law Offices of Thomas P. Cernek & Associates