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

ADR Systems


Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.)

Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.)

Illinois Neutral Availability

Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.) is a senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems with more than 40 years of legal experience. On the bench, Judge Panter won acclaim for his settlement abilities. He resolved numerous medical malpractice claims, construction claims, legal malpractice cases, product liability cases, premises cases, fee disputes, nursing home cases, motor vehicle accidents and commercial cases involving contracts, property damage and fire subrogation.

Judge Panter was an active trial lawyer with his own law firm for 30 years. He brings a broad perspective to his practice, having served both as a neutral and as an advocate in thousands of mediations and arbitrations.

Immediately before becoming a judge, he served as a full-time faculty member at DePaul University College of Law and founded DePaul’s Litigation Lab, a hands-on educational program for law students that has been the subject of numerous articles. Judge Panter wrote a popular weekly column on mediation for The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He has written numerous articles and is an often-requested presenter. He also serves as a hearing officer on the Chicago Police Board. Judge Panter is known for his thorough and intelligent approach to settlements and the boundless energy he brings to the dispute resolution process. As a judge and arbitrator, he has written hundreds of reasoned opinions.

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, serving in the 1st Municipal District, the Domestic Relations Division, Law Division Motion Call and the Law Division Jury Trial Section
  • 30-year career as a trial lawyer starting with commercial litigation at Panter, Nelson & Bernfield, Ltd., and tort and commercial litigation at Michael R. Panter and Associates.
  • Director of Litigation Lab, DePaul University College of Law
  • Adjunct Professor, DePaul University College of Law
  • Member, AAA Panel of Commercial Arbitrators
  • Certified Effective Facilitator, June 2018, Leadership Strategies
  • Harvard University, 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
  • Contract: settled a dispute involving claims of unpaid commissions, improper competition, subsequent breach of contract and violations of the Illinois Sales Representative Act, among others
  • 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 non-compete 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: pretrial 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

  • Hearing Officer, Chicago Police Board
  • Board of Advisers, WonderSeed Foundation
  • Featured in articles and profiles in Crain’s, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Chicago Lawyer Magazine, St. John’s College
  • Member, AAA Commercial Panel of National Roster of Arbitration and Panel of Mediators
  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association, Tort Litigation Committee and Referral Panels
  • Member, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Member, Jewish Judges Association
  • Member, Decalogue Society of Lawyers
  • Mentor, Israel Cancer Research Fund
  • Former Faculty, State of Illinois, Judicial Education Conference (“Settlement Strategies”)
  • Former Faculty, New Judge Seminar
  • Former Vice-chair, ABA TIPS
  • Former Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Former Member, Florida State Bar Association
  • Former Member, DuPage County Bar 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
  • Former Member, West Suburban Bar Association
  • Former Member, Young Men’s Jewish Council
  • Former Member, Standard Club of Chicago
  • Former Member, American Bar Association (ABA); Litigation and Judicial Divisions, Tips, Commercial & Business Litigation and ADR Subcommittees
  • Former Member, American Association for Justice
  • Former Member, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
  • Former Member, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • Former Member, American Society of Trial Consultants
  • Former Mentor & Member, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Former Mentor, Gay and Lesbian Alliance
  • Participant, Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project
  • Participant, Lend-A-Hand Foundation
  • Jewish United Fund
  • Jewish Community Centers

Presentations and Publications

  • Author, “Ethics in Arbitration and Mediation,” Resolving Insurance Claim Disputes Before Trial, American Bar Association Textbook, Chapter 3, 2018
  • Author, “Why Shareholders Have the Right to Accept Tender Offers,” CBA Record
  • Author, “Voir Dire” and “Motions in Limine,” Circuit Court of Cook County Law Division Benchbook
  • Author, “Discovery,” ITLA Civil Practice Update
  • Author, “Thirty Years in 1,600 Bankers Boxes,” CBA Record
  • Co-author, State of Illinois Judicial Bench Book on Civil Law and Procedure
  • Keynote Address, Commencement Exercises, Bradwell School of Excellence
  • Keynote Address, “Streamlining the Litigation Process,” CLM 2015 Professional Liability & Municipal Law Conference
  • Moderating Judge, Willis Retail Litigation Symposium
  • Panelist, “The Mechanics of Jury Selection,” Circuit Court of Cook County panel discussion and seminar
  • Panelist, “Creative Solutions: How to Reduce Litigation Costs and Expedite Resolution,” Circuit Court of Cook County Lunchtime Seminar Series
  • Panelist, Chicago Bar Association, ADR Committee
  • Panelist, “Damages: What, When and How,” Circuit Court of Cook County Lunchtime Seminar Series
  • Presenter, “Overview of Damages in Commercial Litigation,” Chicago Bar Association Seminar
  • Presenter, “Streamlining Litigation,” Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
  • Presenter, “ADR in the United States,” for officials from China’s Ministry of Justice, through the University of Illinois Office of Global Education & Training, and hosted by the University’s China Executive Leadership Program
  • Presenter, DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute
  • Presenter, Consortium of Representatives from Major Illinois Insurers
  • Presenter, Adjusters Group of Hanover Insurance
  • Presenter, Auto Management Claims Group of State Farm Insurance Company
  • Presenter, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Spring Symposium
  • Presenter, “Getting the Judge on Your Side,” Law Division & Municipal Joint Seminar
  • Presenter, “Litigation Issues,” Tort Litigation Committee
  • Presenter, “Arbitration,” Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association
  • Presenter, Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration and Mediation
  • Presenter, “Defendant’s Store Clerk – Direct Examination and Cross- Examination,” Anatomy of a Trial, ISBA Tort Law Section
  • Presenter, “Perspective from the Bench,” ITLA Medical Malpractice Seminar
  • Presenter, Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section
  • Presenter, Judge James P. Flannery Meeting of New Judges
  • Presenter, Chicago Bar Association Tort Litigation Committee
  • Presenter, PINCUS CLE Seminars
  • Presenter, Chicago Bar Association Judges’ Annual Symposium
  • Presenter, Fred Lane, ISBA Trial Techniques Course
  • Presenter at numerous law firms and insurers
  • Weekly columnist on mediation in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin


  • J.D., DePaul University College of Law
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 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


In the course of over forty years as a practicing attorney, sitting judge and mediator and arbitrator, I have had matters with many attorneys. Additionally, a family member works at Kirkland & Ellis, L.L.P. in restructuring.

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

ADR Systems is a perfect fit for commercial disputes that would otherwise find themselves in state court. Though they may no longer have the ability to formally wield the gavel, the former judges at ADR Systems still demand the respect necessary to get parties to the table.

Sang-yul Lee, Esq.Partner, Locke Lord Edwards, LLP