Hon. Michael R. Panter (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.); Reinventing Your Legal Career

Hon. Michael R. Panter (Ret.)


Hon. Michael R. Panter (Ret.) is a highly regarded senior mediator and arbitrator with nearly 40 years of legal experience. While on the bench, Judge Panter won acclaim for his settlement abilities, frequently having been requested to settle cases from other judges’ calendars. He taught and still teaches settlement strategies to the Illinois judges at their bi-annual statewide meetings. Judge Panter is an experienced litigator, having tried numerous bench and jury trials and arbitrations before going on the bench. He brings his experience and enthusiasm for tort and commercial litigation to every case he handles. He writes regular columns on mediation and is an often requested presenter. Judge Panter is known for his patience, persistence and creative approaches to dispute resolution.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Civil Rights
  • Construction Accidents
  • Contract
  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Family Law
  • Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Franchise
  • Fraud
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Mass Torts
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Non-Compete
  • Nursing Home
  • Partnership Dispute
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Subrogation
  • Toxic Tort
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist (UM&UIM)
  • Wrongful Death
  • Wrongful Termination

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2015, Judge Panter has served as a full-time mediator, arbitrator and tri-panel chair
  • 7-year judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County:
    Associate Judge in the 1st Municipal District, Domestic Relations Division, 2008-2010; Law Division Motion Section, 2010-2011; and Jury Trial Section, 2011-2015
  • 30-year legal career including commercial litigation at Panter, Nelson & Bernfield, Ltd. and Michael R. Panter and Associates where he focused
    on personal injury and commercial litigation, 1980-2007
  • Director of Litigation Lab and Adjunct Professor, DePaul University College of Law, 2007-2008
  • AAA Commercial Arbitration panel member
  • Harvard Law School, intensive negotiation course

Representative Cases

  • Architectural Malpractice: museums sued for alleged defects in decorative barriers and entrance-ways; other cases involving commercial staircase designs, raised platforms, fences and structural failures
  • Auto Liability: $20 million settlement in car and truck collision
  • Construction Accidents: numerous cases, one requiring an evidence deposition in 1982 Communist Poland
  • Contract: manufacturer’s distributor lawsuit over commissions
  • Employment Discrimination: wrongful termination cases in Human Rights Commission
  • Fee Dispute: $1 million dispute involving attorney fees
  • Fraud: piercing-the-corporate-veil federal jury trial and subsequent appeal; vacation of arbitration award successfully tried in Chancery, upheld on appeal
  • Insurance Coverage: manufacturer who allegedly failed to give timely notice of claim
  • Legal Malpractice: complex case regarding failure to timely prepare a prospectus for a private offering; mishandled federal civil rights case; case analyzing expired statute of repose on legal malpractice case about a legal malpractice case
  • Medical Malpractice: as a judge, mediator and trial lawyer tried and settled numerous seven and eight figure medical malpractice cases including birth injuries, surgical mishaps and diagnostic and treatment issues in all medical specialties
  • Non-Compete: enforced noncompete agreement for an electronics distributor
  • Nursing Facility: falls, bedsores, prescription errors, failures to refer, supervision and elopement
  • Partnership Disputes: as a judge, settled hundreds of breakups, including celebrity breakups, for unmarried parents over every possible issue involved in child rearing
  • Privacy: pre-trial issues regarding TV reporter wrongfully surveilled at hotel
  • Privilege: ruled on tech blog’s ability to use reporter’s privilege to shield their source of allegedly leaked information
  • Product Liability: as a judge and lawyer, tried and settled cases involving tools, industrial machinery, golf car, autos, multi-piece tire rims, truck lift gate, toys, pharmaceuticals, and numerous other products
  • Recreational: scuba diving mishap leaving embolized plaintiff, jet ski cases, resorts, gyms, playground equipment
  • Wrongful death: as a judge and lawyer handled numerous death cases ranging from wrongful termination of an allegedly viable six-week fetus to a seven figure settlement for the death of an 88-year old man

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Faculty, State of Illinois Judicial Education Conference (“Settlement Strategies”)
  • Faculty, New Judge Seminar
  • Presenter, numerous Circuit Court programs
  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Former Member, Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Discovery Procedures
  • Former Member, Illinois Supreme Court, Civil Justice Committee
  • Former Member, Cook County Law Division Committee on Mediation of Discovery Disputes
  • Member, Jewish Judges Association
  • Member, AAA Commercial Arbitration Panel
  • Member, American Bar Association (ABA); Litigation and Judicial Divisions; Tort Trial and Insurance Practice, Vice-Chair Dispute Resolution Committee, Liaison to Special Masters Committee; Business Litigation and Insurance Coverage Committees
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)
  • Member and mentor, Chicago Bar Association (CBA); Tort Litigation Committee
  • Member and mentor, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Member, Decalogue Society of Lawyers
  • Former Member: Florida State Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, West Suburban Bar Association, Dupage County Bar Association
  • Former Member, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA)
  • Former Member, American Association for Justice (AAJ/ATLA)
  • Former Member, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TPLJ)
  • Allerton Conference
  • Former Member, American
    Society of Trial Consultants
  • Former Member, Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project
  • Featured in articles and profiles in Crain’s, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer Magazine

Presentations and Publications

  • Keynote Address, “Streamlining the Litigation Process,” Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM), 2015 Professional Liability & Municipal Law Conference
  • Presenter, Defense Research Institute (DRI) Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute
  • Presenter, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Spring Symposium
  • Presenter, 17th Annual Chicago Trauma Symposium, “Expert Witnesses: The Seven Deadly Sins”
  • Presenter, Adjusters Group of Hanover Insurance, Allstate Insurance Company, Auto Management Claims Group of State Farm Insurance Company, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Consortium of Representatives from Major Illinois Insurers, Willis Retail Litigation Symposium
  • Presenter, “Perspective from the Bench,” ITLA Medical Malpractice Seminar
  • Presenter, “Arbitration,” Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association
  • Frequent MCLE presenter, “Crossing the Finish Line: Jury Instructions in Illinois”, “Jury Verdict Reports as a Tool for Case Evaluation”, “Tips for Effective Mediation”, Streamlining Litigation”, “Voir Dire”, “Summary Jury Trials”, “Perspective from the Bench”, “Overview of Damages in Commercial Litigation”, “The Art of Mediation”, “The Mechanics of Jury Selection”, “Creative Solutions: How to Reduce Litigation Costs and Expedite Resolution”, “Getting the Judge on Your Side”, “Damages: What, When and How”, and other topics on mediation and litigation
  • Presenter, “ADR in the United States,” for officials from China’s Ministry of Justice, through the University of Illinois Office of Global Education & Training, hosted by the University’s China Executive Leadership Program
  • Author, Law Division Bench Book, chapters on “Voir Dire” and “Motions in Limine”
  • Peer Reviewer, Civil Law and Procedure Bench Book for the State of Illinois
  • Author, “Ethics in Arbitration and Mediation”, Resolving Insurance Claim Disputes Before Trial (ABA 2017)
  • Co-Author, “Recent Developments in Alternative Dispute Resolution,” ABA, TIPS Practice Law Journal
  • Bi-monthly columnist, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, “Mediation Circus”; also in publications around the country
  • Author, “Why Shareholders Have the Right to Accept Tender Offers,” CBA Record
  • Author, “Discovery”, ITLA Civil Practice Update
  • Presenter, Bar Organizations including CBA, ISBA, Women’s Bar Association, ALFA, Decalogue, West Suburban Bar Association and law schools
  • Keynote Address, Commencement Exercises, Bradwell School of Excellence


  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison,B.A.
  • St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD (“The Great Books School”)


  • Illinois State Bar
  • Florida State Bar
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois
  • US Supreme Court

I was quite pleased with the facilities of ADR Systems and the pre-session service.  Expect me back.

Robert Slobig, Esq.Senior Partner, Torshen, Slobig, Genden, Dragutinovich & Axel, Ltd.