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

ADR Systems


Tom Allen5x7

Hon. Thomas R. Allen, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Judge Allen has more than 40 years of legal experience. On the bench, he stood out as an exceptionally intelligent and even-tempered jurist. His colleagues describe him as pragmatic and fair, with a great sense of humor. Judge Allen served most of his judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Chancery Division where he settled many commercial and business-related cases. As a senior mediator and arbitrator, he brings a tremendous depth of experience to his practice having worked as a litigator for more than 30 years before becoming a judge. He values courtesy and respect and shows the same to parties and their counsel throughout the dispute resolution process and beyond.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Bad Faith
  • Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)
  • Business Dissolution
  • Class Action
  • Condominium Board Dispute
  • Construction
  • Construction Defect
  • Contract
  • 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

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: mediated cases involving numerous claims of violating the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) via the non-consensual collection of fingerprint information through time-keeping equipment; settled cases for $450,000, $675,000, $1.0 million and $1.2 million
  • Class Action: resolved class claims relating to alleged failure by employer to comply with BIPA requirements regarding written consent, the storage and use of biometric identifiers and the lack of a retention and destruction policy for that data
  • Class Action: settled a putative class action suit involving purported BIPA violations regarding the collection and storage of fingerprints and handprints of numerous current and former employees without written consent
  • 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

  • Panelist, “Eight O’clock Call,” CBA
  • Panelist, “Trial Prep: Top Tips from Cook, DuPage and Will Counties,” Lunchtime Seminar Series


  • 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 want to thank you on behalf of my client and me, and especially thank Judge Casciato, who did such an excellent job getting our case settled during a remote Zoom mediation. I always recommend ADR Systems and your great mediators to attorneys who ask me. In fact, in my judgment, your firm put alternative dispute resolution (ADR) on the map in Illinois. ADR Systems provides a cost-effective means of resolving lawsuits in a mutually satisfactory manner. Keep up the excellent work!  

Mark P. Standa, Esq.Mark P. Standa, P.C.