Hon. Lorna E. Propes, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. Lorna E. Propes, (Ret.)

Hon. Lorna E. Propes, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Judge Propes brings 32 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer and 12 as a trial judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County to her role as a senior mediator & arbitrator at ADR Systems. As an attorney, Judge Propes focused on civil litigation, including personal injury, medical negligence, civil rights and product liability cases. She also represented major corporations in class action and mass tort cases of national significance, including a six-month product liability class action jury trial and a breach of contract case between two major oil companies. In the Law Division, she presided over settlement conferences for medical negligence, personal injury, aviation disasters, contract and FELA disputes, among many others. These experiences inform her ardent belief that open, frank and robust communication is key to successful settlements. As a mediator, she seeks to help litigants see the case from a realistic perspective and urge them to appreciate that compromise is not concession but a path to achieving their goals. Judge Propes believes a mediator’s greatest skill is listening and then translating what they hear into a compromise.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Aviation
  • Business Dissolution
  • Civil Rights
  • Construction Accidents
  • Contract
  • Employment
  • Federal Employers Liability Act
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Fraud
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Mass Torts
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
  • Nursing Home
  • Partnership Dispute
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Qui Tam
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Toxic Tort
  • Trademark
  • Whistleblower
  • Wrongful Death

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2023, Judge Propes has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator
  • 12-year judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County including Associate Judge, Law Division, Trial Section, 2013-2022; Municipal District 1 and 7th Sub-circuit, 2010-2013
  • 35-year legal career including Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, 1975-1980; Partner, Bobb, Kane, Obbish & Propes and successor firms, 1980-1998; Partner, Cahill, Christin & Kunkle, Ltd., 1998-2000; Partner, Propes & Kaveny, LLC, 2000-2010

Representative Cases

  • Aviation and Wrongful Death: case involved crash of 747 air cargo plane at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan; plane was loaded with five Mine Resistant Armor Protected (MRAP) vehicles, two weighing 12 tons and three weighing 18 tons; load shifted upon takeoff; plane crashed and seven-member crew died; case first tried on behalf of three of the crew, resulting in $115.75 million award; settled the remaining four cases with settlement amounts confidential, working through complex insurance coverage issues
  • Attorney Fees: law firm dispute regarding excess charges by contact attorney on one case; settled case after lengthy negotiations
  • Medical Malpractice: baby delivered 15 minutes after mother arrived at the hospital; plaintiff claimed excessive traction applied by both resident and attending resulted in shoulder dystocia; resident claimed that once she saw the shoulder she stepped away and turned delivery over to the attending; settled for $1.2 million
  • Medical Malpractice: cancer patient contracted Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) while an inpatient in hospital; settled for $600,000
  • Medical Malpractice: patient developed a pressure sore while in home health care; admitted to the hospital and the sore continued to worsen but was discharged home; subsequently admitted to another hospital and died of infection; settled for $375,000
  • Premises Liability: Plaintiff claimed that configuration of drop off ramp at local restaurant was out of code, causing her to trip and fall resulting in fractured patella requiring knee replacement, rotator cuff surgery and likelihood of future surgeries; case settled for $1.6 million
  • Wrongful Death and Personal Injury: social services agency placed a 2-year-old victim of abuse in a highly functioning foster home where he was thriving; subsequently the agency negligently returned the child to the mother’s care without ensuring that the mother was rehabilitated; child was ultimately murdered by the mother; case settled with all 11 beneficiaries of the estate to which a jury had awarded $43 million
  • Wrongful Death and Personal Injury: successfully settled community contaminated drinking water claims involving 300 plaintiffs; settled all cases following complex, multi-year protracted litigation for a total of $15 million


Professional Activities and Awards

  • Former Faculty Member, American Bar Association (ABA) Litigation Section Program in Trial Advocacy
  • Former Instructor in Trial Advocacy, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Former Faculty Member, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA)
  • Former Faculty Member, Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers (tbd)
  • Former Chair, Illinois Racing Board
  • Former Corboy Lecturer, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Former I. Goodman Cohen Lecturer, Wayne State University Law School
  • Member, ABA
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
  • Member, Association of Trial Lawyers of American
  • Former Member, Leader’s Council, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls
  • Former President, Master of the Bench, Chicago Inn of Court
  • Founding Board Member and Treasurer, Thornton Alumni Legacy Fund
  • President’s Award, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • St. Robert Bellarmine Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Outstanding Service Award as a NITA Instructor, NITA
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Law Bulletin Publishing


Presentations and Publications

  • Presenter, “Civility,” Federal Civil Practice Committee
  • Panelist, “Ethical Issues Facing the Legal Community,” CBA
  • Presenter, “Negotiating Strategies Workshop,” CBA
  • Keynote Address, “Women as Trial Advocates,” ABA Women’s Litigation Section
  • Presenter, “Sophisticated Techniques for Selected Trial Elements,” North Carolina Bar Foundation
  • Panelist, “Trial Tips form the Experts,” ABA, Annual Meeting, Tort and Insurance Practice Section
  • Presenter, “Dynamic Demonstrative Evidence,” Federal Women’s Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Technology in the Courtroom,” Indiana Women’s Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Technology in the Courtroom,” Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Presenter, “Cross Examination,” University of Kentucky
  • Presenter at numerous law firms and insurers
  • Contributing Author, Master Advocates Handbook, NITA
  • Contributing Author, Your Witness: Lessons on Cross-Examination and Life from Great Chicago Trial


  • JD, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • MA, Columbia University Teachers College
  • BS, Indiana University



  • Illinois State Bar
  • US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois



I was a sitting judge for over 12 years, have practiced law and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2023. 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.

With Judge Ward's assistance, we were able to obtain an amicable resolution of the case.  Just as when he was sitting on the bench, Judge Ward showed understanding, temperance and intelligence in addressing the issues.  Settlement was fair and adequate the nature and extent of injury.  I would not hesitate to use ADR Systems’ assistance in the future.

Ronald J. Gold, Esq.Law Office of Baltazar Mendoza