Hon. Dennis J. Burke, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. Dennis J. Burke, (Ret.)

Hon. Dennis J. Burke, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Hon. Dennis J. Burke, (Ret.) is a highly-regarded mediator and arbitrator with a wealth of experience garnered from his 15 years serving on the Circuit Court of Cook County.  During his tenure on the bench, he conducted approximately 2,200 settlement conferences while presiding over hundreds of commercial cases and jury trials. In private practice, Judge Burke worked with transactional attorneys to navigate and negotiate many contract cases and was an expert in asbestos litigation.  An early advocate of dispute resolution, he has won acclaim for his settlement skills and is also well known for his keen ability to build trusting relationships with all parties during the dispute resolution process.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Accounting Malpractice
  • Asbestos/Mesothelioma
  • Bad Faith
  • Cannabis
  • Class Action
  • Construction
  • Construction Defect
  • Contract
  • Copyright
  • Data Privacy
  • Directors & Officers (D&O)
  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Estates
  • Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Finance
  • Harassment
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Mass Torts
  • Mechanics Lien
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Partnership Dispute
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Real Estate
  • Securities
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Subrogation
  • Toxic Tort
  • Trusts
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist (UM&UIM)
  • Wrongful Death

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2012, Judge Burke has served as a full-time mediator, arbitrator, tri-panel chair and special master
  • 15-year judicial career including Judge in the Law Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1997-2012
  • While managing approximately 700 commercial cases, Judge Burke initiated “Mediation for Discovery Purposes Only,” in which outside mediators are appointed to resolve complicated discovery disputes for cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County
  • 23-year legal career in private practice, including Partner, Burke & Burke, 1975-1997
  • Approved Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County

Representative Cases

  • Asbestos/Mesothelioma: settled various matters involving asbestos exposure and mesothelioma
  • Aviation: plane crash in the Netherlands involving 125 plaintiffs and a prominent airline; national and international law firms brought to the table to address preliminary legal issues, such as jurisdiction and federal preemption, eventually leading to settlement of all cases
  • Bad Faith and Insurance Coverage: alleged arson and Section 155 issues
  • Construction Accident: rulings on motions in limine settled for $3.1 million
  • Contract: arbitration involving breach of fiduciary duty, breach of executive employment agreement, disclosure of confidential information and non-compete agreement
  • Contract: arbitration with issues of age discrimination, promissory estoppel and fraudulent estoppel
  • Contract: commercial matter involving discovery issues with a multi-million dollar settlement; parties’ business relationship preserved through mediation
  • Contract: dispute regarding a billboard atop a building near Wrigley Field; settled through mediation, preserving parties’ business relationship
  • Contract: non-payment of claims; detailed explanation and clarification during mediation process brought the parties to settlement
  • Contract: parties with longstanding business relationship agreed to continue doing business under newly negotiated terms
  • Contract: issues involving FDIC and mortgage foreclosure settled through mediation
  • Contract: settled a dispute for $400,000 involving malicious prosecution and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage involving the sale of property
  • Contract: settlement of a bench trial involving a $60 million contract dispute between a major investment banking corporation and a Fortune 500 international company
  • Employment and Contract: claims of back pay between physician group and insurance company; kept parties on track toward multi-million dollar settlement during heated negotiations
  • Insurance Coverage and Contract: commercial mediation involving more than a dozen lawyers who represented individual parties and insurance companies in two lawsuits; settled all economic and non-economic issues
  • Insurance Coverage and Property Damage: warehouse office fire settled for $14 million
  • Legal Malpractice: bench trial involving a securities fraud “blue sky” case; settled for $15 million
  • Mass Torts: settled hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos cases
  • Medical Malpractice: child severely injured at birth; appointed guardian ad litem settled for $35 million
  • Medical Malpractice:  hypoxic brain injury to an infant at birth; case settled for $11 million
  • Subrogation and Contract: thousands of experimental rats lost when alarm failed to signal changes in regulated room temperature
  • Wrongful Death: settled lawsuit involving infant for $2.4 million
  • Wrongful Death: settlement of twenty wrongful death and severe injury cases resulting from one vehicular accident for more than $4.7 million

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Master of the Bench, Chicago Inn of Court
  • Board of Directors, Criticism Response Committee, Illinois Judges Association
  • Former President, The Illinois Bar Foundation
  • Former Treasurer, Board of Governers, Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)
  • Charter Member, The Fellows of the Illinois Bar Foundation
  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law and Who’s Who in Emerging Leaders in the US
  • Named leading attorney in personal injury litigation, American Research Corporation
  • AV rated Martindale-Hubbell
  • Life Fellow, American Bar Association
  • Distinguished Service Award, John Marshall Law School Alumni Association
  • Acknowledged in a resolution by Chicago City Council for Judicial Service in Child Protection

Presentations and Publications

  • Presenter, “Ethical Considerations Encountered by Insurers and Counsel When Handling Multiple Insureds Under Single Policy,” Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Presenter, Chicago Bar Association (CBA), Young Lawyers Section
  • Presenter, “Making the Most of Your Arbitration,” CBA
  • Presenter, Commercial Litigation and Ethics, ISBA Law Ed seminar
  • Seminar Committee Member and Presenter, “Ruling on Objections and Admissibility,” Illinois Judges Association
  • Seminar Committee Member and Presenter, “Issues in Child Abuse Cases,” appointed by the Supreme Court
  • Presenter, ISBA Tort Law Section Council’s Tort Law Update
  • Presenter, Illinois State Court Improvement Project
  • Mock Trial Judge, Citywide Mock Trial Competitions
  • Presenter, numerous Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs for ADR Systems on various topics
  • Presenter, “Mediating an Insurance Coverage Case – A Mediator’s Perspective,” American Association for Justice Annual Convention


  • JD, John Marshall Law School
  • BA, St. Mary’s University


  • Illinois State Bar


I was a sitting judge for over 15 years, have practiced law with Burke & Burke, Chicago, for 23 years and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2012. Many attorneys have tried cases in my courtrooms or mediated or arbitrated a case with me.

Additionally, I have two family members working as of counsel at Dudley & Lake and as a paralegal at Cogan & Power, PC.

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

ADR Systems continues to be the most professional dispute resolution service in the Cook County area.

Miles Dore, Esq.Partner, Cifelli, Scrementi, & Dore, Ltd.