Hon. Margaret A. Brennan, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. Margaret A. Brennan, (Ret.)

Hon. Margaret A. Brennan, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Judge Brennan served for 19 years in the Circuit Court of Cook County Chancery and Law Divisions, rising to Supervising Judge, Commercial Section of the Law Division, and cultivating expansive knowledge of commercial cases such as employment matters involving discrimination and retaliatory discharge, construction and legal malpractice disputes. As a lawyer, she served as counsel for a large energy corporation, handled a broad range of general litigation matters and worked on cases regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), National Electric Safety Code (NESC) and National Highway Safety Act. Colleagues commend Judge Brennan’s intelligence, persuasiveness and remarkable patience, which helps her gather information and forge paths to resolution. Judge Brennan’s careful case preparation and boundless energy contribute significantly to her success as a mediator and arbitrator.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Accounting Malpractice
  • Auto Liability
  • Bad Faith
  • Business Dissolution
  • Cannabis
  • Condominium Board Dispute
  • Construction
  • Construction Accidents
  • Construction Defect
  • Contract
  • Defamation
  • Directors & Officers (D&O)
  • E-Discovery
  • Eminent Domain
  • Employment
  • Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Family Business
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Finance
  • Foreclosure
  • Franchise
  • Fraud
  • Harassment
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Lender Liability
  • Mechanics Lien
  • Non-Compete
  • Partnership Dispute
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Qui Tam
  • Real Estate
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Retaliatory Discharge
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Shareholder Dispute
  • Stockholder Derivative Actions
  • Storm Damage
  • Subrogation
  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
  • Trade Secrets
  • Trademark
  • Trucking Accident
  • Unfair Competition
  • Whistleblower
  • Wrongful Termination

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2021, Judge Brennan has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator
  • 19-year judicial career including Supervising Judge, Commercial Section of the Law Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, 2018-2021; Law Division Commercial Calendar, 2013-2018; Law Division Tax and Miscellaneous Remedies, 2011-2013; Chancery Division, 2008-2011; Fifth Municipal District, First Municipal District and Traffic Court 2002-2008
  • 17-year legal career including Assistant General Counsel, Commonwealth Edison/Exelon Business Services Company; Assistant Corporation Counsel, City of Chicago, 1989-1994; Legislative Coordinator, American Bar Association/American Prepaid Legal Services, 1985-1989

Representative Cases

  • Contract: plaintiff claimed that defendant insurance brokerages negligently sold insurance policies to plaintiff while knowing or failing to know of insurer’s financial instability when coverage was placed, purportedly resulting in plaintiff’s loss of cash collateral required to obtain said coverage and expenses to acquire replacement coverage; matter settled
  • Construction Defect: settled case between homeowner’s association, developer and others resulting in a creative solution of replacing siding on much of the development
  • Contract: landlord sought return of property, past rent due and cost of repair for breach of commercial lease; successfully settled
  • Contract: settled a dispute between parties involving the fulfillment of continuing obligations and details within the terms and conditions of a contract
  • Defamation: claim involved high school students and their high school; settled case with all parties
  • Employment: settled a dispute involving alleged sexual harassment, legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Illinois Gender Violence Act and infliction of emotional distress
  • Employment: settled a dispute involving plaintiff’s claims of sexual harassment by a supervisor and retaliation in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Employment: settled sexual harassment suit between law firm associate and founding partner of the firm
  • Employment: settled a dispute involving allegations of discrimination based upon race under the Illinois Human Rights Act
  • Fee Dispute: settled a dispute involving a law firm’s efforts to recover attorney’s fees purportedly owed to it by a former client for services rendered and costs incurred during its representation of the client
  • Fiduciary Duty: complicated case with multiple claims settled; case involved issues of converted assets, breach of note, battery, conspiracy and fraud
  • Foreclosure and Cannabis: settled foreclosure and post judgment matters concerning a 400-acre horse farm, with a converted use of a 100-acre hemp crop intended for the pursuit of CBD and related products
  • Fraud: homeowner alleged poor workmanship and design in claims against architect and contractor; all claims settled
  • Insurance Coverage: settled a declaratory judgment action in which plaintiff insurer claims it is not obliged to defend and indemnify defendants in an underlying construction accident suit wherein an employee of one of the defendant’s subcontractor was injured while working at a jobsite
  • Insurance Coverage: plaintiff insurer claimed they were entitled to recover expenses for defending and indemnifying third-party defendants in a separate trucking accident lawsuit; matter settled
  • Insurance Coverage: settled a dispute based on whether plaintiff validly disclaimed workers compensation and employer liability insurance coverage for a claim resulting from the fatal injury of an employee whose employer was subcontracted by the defendant
  • Insurance Coverage: settled a dispute involving claims that an insurer failed to pay subcontractors that repaired water damage in a family home, violating a prior settlement agreement between the family and insurer.
  • Legal Malpractice: settled a dispute involving a claim that law firm by dismissing multiple matters in multiple jurisdictions permitted a subsequent court to rule that plaintiffs were prohibited from refiling the dismissed actions.
  • Partnership Dissolution: settled a dispute involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty in a business after the defendant purportedly would not buy out the plaintiff’s interest and ownership as previously agreed
  • Personal Injury: plaintiff injured en route to place of employment; dispute involved worker’s compensation issues and issues resulting from plaintiff waiting to file for supplemental security income (SSI); matter settled
  • Subrogation: settled a dispute involving allegations of defendant negligence that resulted in a commercial property fire and subsequent payments made by subrogating carriers to their insureds
  • Trucking Accident: plaintiffs’ vehicle struck in rear-end collision by tractor-trailer, resulting in various soft tissue and orthopedic injuries to driver and their family; matter settled
  • Trusts & Estates: settled a dispute involving claims that a former residuary trust co-trustee resigned from the role and had negligently mismanaged trust assets, resulting in penalties from creditors and the foreclosure of a property within the trust

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Member, Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
  • Member, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois

Presentations and Publications

  • Author, “Use of ADR To Enforce Rights in Cannabis Contracts,” Bloomberg Law
  • Presenter, “Motions in Commercial Cases,” CBA CLE seminar
  • Presenter, “Motions in Commercial Cases, Jurisdiction, Motions for Summary Judgement,” Motion Practice in Cook County Circuit Court’s Law Division, CBA CLE seminar
  • Presenter, “Trial Preparation and Presentation,“ CBA YLS Tort Litigation CLE Seminar
  • Panelist, “Soup to Nuts,” 7th Annual Symposium with the Judges, Law Bulletin Seminars
  • Presenter, “Driver’s License: Hard to Get, Easy to Lose,” ISBA cable television program
  • Panelist, “The Judges Speak: Civil Court Litigation Do’s and Don’ts,” National Business Institute Seminar
  • Presenter, “Mortgage Foreclosure: The Early Stages,” Illinois Law
  • Former Faculty, “Remedies in Commercial Cases,” Judicial Education Conference
  • Former Faculty, “Contract Cases: Advanced Issues,” Judicial Education Conference


  • JD, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • BA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



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


I was a sitting judge for over 19 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.

Judge Casciato was very effective in our remote Zoom mediation.  It was a complicated case and involved multiple parties.  The videoconference worked well, and the Judge was instrumental in bringing the parties to a successful resolution.

Daniel Babetch, PartnerMeagher & Geer, P.L.L.P.