Hon. Thomas R. Allen, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Tom Allen5x7

Hon. Thomas R. Allen, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Judge Allen has over 40 years of legal experience. On the bench, he stood out as an exceptionally intelligent, even-tempered and common-sense jurist. Judge Allen served most of his judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Chancery Division, where he settled numerous commercial and business-related cases. He brings this knowledge and a broad-based, 30-year career as a litigator to his practice as a senior mediator and arbitrator, where he has become a favored mediator of BIPA, data breach and other privacy-related complex class actions. He values courtesy and respect and shows the same to parties and their counsel throughout and beyond the dispute resolution process where he embodies a fighting spirit of never giving up on a case.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Bad Faith
  • Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)
  • Business Dissolution
  • Class Action
  • Condominium Board Dispute
  • Construction
  • Construction Defect
  • Contract
  • Data Privacy
  • Defamation
  • Directors & Officers (D&O)
  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Estates
  • Family Business
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Fraud
  • Government
  • Guardianship
  • Harassment
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Lender Liability
  • Non-Compete
  • Partnership Dispute
  • Probate
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Re-Insurance
  • Real Estate
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Retaliatory Discharge
  • Shareholder Dispute
  • Stockholder Derivative Actions
  • Storm Damage
  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
  • Trade Secrets
  • Trademark
  • Trusts
  • Unfair Competition
  • Whistleblower
  • Wrongful Termination

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2019, Judge Allen has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator
  • 8-year judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County, including serving briefly in the First Municipal Division and Probate Division, with 7 years spent in the Chancery Division, Calendar 10, 2010-2018
  • 32-year legal career in litigation, real estate and criminal defense, including Assistant Cook County Public Defender and member of the Homicide Task Force; private practice at Law Offices of Thomas R. Allen; Partner Chapekis, Marcus, Allen & Chapekis, 1977-2010
  • Prior to joining the bench, he served as 38th Ward Alderman, City of Chicago for 18 years, 1993-2010, and developed expertise in government finance, zoning, real estate and complex public private transactions

Representative Cases

  • Construction: action for fraudulent concealment and rescission based on faulty construction and chronic flooding of single-family residence
  • Contract, Non-Compete and Fraud: dispute over sale of scrap iron business and breach of seller’s non-compete covenant alleging fraud and seeking punitive damages; settled during trial
  • Class Action, Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA): has facilitated numerous settlements in privacy class action cases involving various BIPA violations, such as the collection, use, storage and retention of biometric identifiers and information without informed written consent, the disclosure and dissemination of such data without proper consent and the failure to create publicly available retention schedules and destruction guidelines for such data
  • Class Action, Contract and Fraud: settled hundreds of claims against laser hair restoration sales company alleging fraud, breach of contract and rescission
  • Condominium Board Dispute and Fiduciary Duty: dispute between condominium board and unit owner regarding unlawful contracts awarded to family members of condominium board president in violation of state law
  • Contract: mediated case involving claims of breach of contract over supposed failure to pay the full sum of collected fees owed for services provided; settled for $1.03 million
  • Employment: Settled a dispute involving claims that defendant failed to inform the plaintiff and other employees of the collection and use of their sensitive biometric data protected under BIPA
  • Fiduciary Duty, Insurance Coverage and Fraud: extremely complex case which stemmed from the 2007-2008 US economic meltdown; large insurance company sought to rescind coverage of hundreds of thousands of second lien mortgage loans and lines of credit based on fraud in underwriting process; counterclaims sought damages in excess of $700 million; case involved 20 attorneys from across the US; resolved entire matter on the eve of trial
  • Fraud: case involved the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act; action to recover fraudulent transfers made by husband to his adult children to avoid payment of $18 million default judgment in a divorce case
  • Government: county treasurer brought claim against suburban municipality to recover mistaken double payment of annual tax distribution to village; settled quietly avoiding potential embarrassment
  • Government: case involved Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dispute regarding industrial park; claims by municipality against developer of industrial park for breach of complex TIF agreement and demands for disgorgement of $25 million TIF subsidy
  • Government: road closure by village effecting access to industrial park; claims by landowners against village for violation of due process, eminent domain and economic damages
  • Government: dispute between police pension fund and village regarding failure to remit tax levy funds in accordance with statute and actuarial opinion; settled by borrowing funds, thereby avoiding a politically untenable voter referendum
  • Non-Compete: case involved a dispute between competing dealerships of a top-tier motorcycle manufacturer over the services of a key salesman with a cult-like customer following and the validity of a non-compete agreement
  • Non-Compete and Trade Secrets: disagreement between highly compensated executive and company involving executive going to work for competitor and downloading trade secrets on the way out the door
  • Partnership: parties were involved with ‘flipping’ 500-600 properties based on an oral agreement; when real estate crash occurred, defendant abandoned partnership; plaintiffs’ claims demanded contribution toward millions in losses and an accounting
  • Partnership: oral agreement by attorneys to share fees and expenses regarding defense of legal malpractice claims
  • Real Estate: complex easement agreement recorded by developers of two high rise condominium buildings, imposing weight limits on trucks; agreement prevented one of the buildings from having access to easement for refuse service
  • Real Estate and Land Use: case involved ownership and easement rights to advertising billboard and revenues; billboard straddled two individual properties
  • Real Estate: claims of interference with easement of support on a party wall and violation of municipal code; case arose from the excavation by landowners of 140-year-old rowhouse in upscale area of city
  • Retaliatory Discharge and Wrongful Termination: corporate officer sought damages for retaliatory discharge and wrongful termination after filing a shareholder derivative suit against corporation
  • Trusts and Estates: mediated case regarding whether defendants were considered co-trustees of an estate and the extent to which they violated fiduciary duties; settled for $540,000
  • Trusts and Fiduciary Duty: claims by beneficiaries against trustee (second wife) alleging conversion and breach of fiduciary duty in the dissipation of $1.5 million in trust assets from 92-year-old owner of trust
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist: mediated case involving motor vehicle accident with uninsured defendant, resulting in sternal and vertebral fractures, epidural hematoma and placement in a knee immobilizer; settled for $255,000

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Former Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinating Committee; appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court
  • Former Member, Legislative Committee; appointed by Illinois Supreme Court
  • Former Member, Judicial Conference; appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court
  • Former Chair, Legislative Committee on Transportation and Public Way
  • Former Member, Legislative Committees on Finance; Zoning and Land Use; Aviation
  • Former Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Former Member, Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
  • Former Board Member, Irving Park YMCA
  • Former Board Member, Portage Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Board Member, Belmont Central Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Wright College Advisory Council
  • Board Member and Former President, Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago
  • Member, Our Lady of Victory Chicago Holy Name Society
  • Member, United States Handball Association
  • Labor Man of the Year, Greater Chicago and Vicinity Port Council, Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO
  • Arthur Dunne Award, Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago
  • Wright College Service Award, Wright College Advisory Council
  • CARES Award, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center

Presentations and Publications

  • Author, “BIPA battles continue to play out as courts weigh class-action suits,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
  • Panelist, “Eight O’clock Call,” CBA
  • Panelist, “Trial Prep: Top Tips from Cook, DuPage and Will Counties,” Lunchtime Seminar Series
  • Presenter, various ADR Systems presentations and CLEs, including “Mediating Complex Commercial Cases”


  • JD, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law
    • Honors
  • Illinois Benedictine University
    • Cum Laude


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


I was a sitting judge for over eight years, have practiced law and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2019. Many attorneys have tried cases in my courtrooms or mediated or arbitrated a case with me.

Additionally, I have a family member working as a trial attorney in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.

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

I appreciated the professional and courteous treatment we received at ADR Systems.  We could not have been more pleased with the staff and the facilities.  Kudos to ADR Systems for providing a valuable service.

Keith Aeschliman, Esq.Assistant State's Attorney, Civil Division - Will County, Illinois