ADR Systems


Hon. Clifford Meacham, (Ret.)

Hon. Clifford L. Meacham, (Ret.)


Hon. Clifford L. Meacham, (Ret.) is a seasoned mediator and arbitrator with expertise in settling a variety of disputes, particularly those relating to construction, mechanics lien and engineering issues. He also has extensive experience in employment, bankruptcy and commercial contractual disputes. Judge Meacham’s warmth and in-depth knowledge have made him a well-respected and sought-after neutral. Judge Meacham thoughtfully prepares for his mediations and arbitrations and believes his ability to listen carefully to all parties is the key to his success in resolving cases.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Bankruptcy
  • Class Action
  • Condominium Board Dispute
  • Construction
  • Contract
  • Employment
  • Engineering
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Government
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Mechanics Lien
  • Property Damage
  • Real Estate
  • Storm Damage

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2014, Judge Meacham has served as a full-time mediator, arbitrator, tri-panel chair, special master and independent neutral evaluator
  • 19-year judicial career as an Associate Judge, Cook County Circuit Court, 1989- 2008
  • 13-year legal career, including Assistant US Trustee, United States Department of Justice, Chicago, Illinois, 1983- 1989; Chief, Consumer Protection Division, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Chicago, Illinois, 1976-1983
  • Appointed by the federal court to serve as the Shakman Compliance Administrator for the Sheriff of Cook County in a long-standing class action with several defendants; under his leadership, the Sheriff’s Office was the first Cook County office to achieve substantial compliance and was dismissed from the lawsuit; Judge Meacham was subsequently appointed by the court as the Shakman Compliance Administrator for the Cook County Assessor’s Office

Representative Cases

  • Construction: arbitration involving numerous construction defect claims, counter claims and liquidated damages at a school facility
  • Construction: defect matter involving high-end residential construction project; emotionally-charged dispute between general contractor and multiple sub-contractors; settled with diligent post-mediation follow-up
  • Construction: defect matter with church claiming roof leaks caused substantial damage to multiple murals; creative settlement with each party pitching in funds for a “package settlement”
  • Construction: defect and mechanics lien cases mediated or arbitrated involving shopping malls, parking garages, manufacturing facilities, recycling facilities, office and residential towers, nursing homes, environmental remediation, skating rink, apartment buildings, condominiums, real estate developments and a transportation tunnel under a river
  • Construction: cases tried, mediated or arbitrated, including office and residential towers, condominiums, a medical center, major city construction projects, parks, a zoo, police stations and various recreational facilities
  • Contract: mechanics lien and partnership shares dispute in stalled building project; mediation resulted in completion of project and sale of building
  • Contract: party drafted mediation-arbitration agreement with presumption that binding arbitration would be necessary; settlement was reached through mediation, without arbitration
  • Fiduciary Duty: creditor assignee matter involving multiple parties, compound issues, business dissolution and distribution of assets
  • Insurance: arbitration including the valuation of business insurance loss due to rain damage
  • Insurance Coverage: arbitration to resolve an issue of law as to encroachment and title dispute
  • Legal Malpractice: matter involving exceptional conditions and lengthy litigation between parties; assigned as special master and neutral fact finder with case assessment leading to settlement
  • Real Estate: cases ranging from small residential construction projects to multi-million dollar homes
  • Real Estate: oversaw the expansion of the Cook County Circuit Court Mortgage Foreclosure Section to handle 44,000 new foreclosure cases received yearly
  • Real Estate: tri-panel arbitration involving a real estate contract for commercial space

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Member, Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys (SOICA)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, John Marshall Law School
  • Member, Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness
  • Former Member, Illinois Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Mortgage Foreclosure
  • Former Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Named in Leading Lawyers’ Top Ten for ADR
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals

Presentations and Publications

  • Guest Lecturer, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent Law School
  • Guest Lecturer, John Marshall Law School
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School
  • Presenter, “US Trustee on Appointment of Trustees in Chapter 11,” Norton Bankruptcy Institute
  • Mock Trial Judge, “From Opening to Closing: A Construction Trial and the Technology to Win Your Case,” Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)
  • Mock Trial Judge, “The Story of a Mechanics Lien Claim: From Client Meeting to Trial,” ISBA and SOICA
  • Presenter, numerous Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs for ADR Systems on various topics
  • Co-Author, “Defending DUI and Related Cases,” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE)
  • Co-Author, “Illinois Mandatory Insurance Law,” Illinois Bar Journal
  • Chapter Author, “Mechanics Lien Law,” IICLE


  • JD, John Marshall Law School
    • Honors
    • Order of John Marshall
  • BA, Elmhurst College, Honors
    • Honors
    • Illinois Merit Scholarship


  • Illinois State Bar
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Federal Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois

I was extremely pleased with a recent mediation at ADR Systems. The mediators constitute a veritable "who's who" of top-notch practitioners and former jurists with a wealth of experience across the legal spectrum.  I strongly recommend ADR Systems for even the most complex and contentious of cases.

Hillard M. Sterling, Esq.Sterling Tech Law | Waveland Law Group, LLC