Hon. William J. Haddad, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. William J. Hadad, (Ret.)

Hon. William J. Haddad, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Judge Haddad’s extensive experience as a businessman, judge and neutral make him uniquely qualified to resolve all types of personal injury, medical malpractice and complex, multi-party commercial cases. His legal career spans more than 40 years, with 10 years on the bench. While serving in the Circuit Court of Cook County Law-Jury Division, Judge Haddad presided over major injury matters including quadriplegic, paraplegic, wrongful death, and multi-million-dollar commercial jury trials. His business credentials include managing a profitable national corporation in nine cities and successfully negotiating the sale of that company at 26 times earnings. He served as vice president of a large condominium association where he became involved in many issues, including the settlement of a multi-million-dollar weather-related property damage claim. As a mediator and arbitrator, he is known for his patience and compassion while navigating difficult situations.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • American Disability Act (ADA)
  • Auto Liability
  • Class Action
  • Condominium Board Dispute
  • Construction
  • Construction Accidents
  • Contract
  • Copyright
  • Directors & Officers (D&O)
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Harassment
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Intellectual Property
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Non-Compete
  • Nursing Home
  • Partnership Dispute
  • Patent
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Real Estate
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Stockholder Derivative Actions
  • Subrogation
  • Tax
  • Toxic Tort
  • Trademark
  • Unfair Competition
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist (UM&UIM)
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Wrongful Death
  • Wrongful Termination

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2013, Judge Haddad has served as a full-time mediator, arbitrator and tri-panel chair
  • 10-year judicial career as a Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division and Trial Section, 2003-2013
  • 40-year legal career including 18 years as a civil litigation Partner at Schlack & Associates, 1985-2003
  • Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, Felony Trial Division, 1974-1981
  • Adjunct Professor, Trial Advocacy, at John Marshall School of Law, 2004-present
  • Director and Founding Board Member, United Bancorp, dba United Trust Bank of Bridgeview, Illinois, 2000-2003
  • President, United States Mutual Association, Inc., a pre-employment service company that works with some of the nation’s largest banks, hotels and retailers, Chicago, 1998-2000
  • Approved Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County

Representative Cases

  • Business Dissolution and Contract: complicated case involving a closely held company; case mediated and buyout arrangements settled; settlement agreement included an arbitration clause in the event issues in effectuating the agreement occurred; problems arose and the parties went to arbitration; with perseverance, a valuation of the company was mediated and resolved over several months, allowing the original settlement agreement to prevail
  • Construction Accident: plaintiff suffered injury requiring multiple future surgeries; case settled due to rigorous post-mediation follow-up
  • Construction Accident: mediated case involving injuries to construction laborer after fall and loss of consciousness, resulting in brain injury symptoms; settled for $7.5 million
  • Construction Accident: mediated case involving injuries to plaintiff from collapse of utility poll during installation; workers’ compensation lien eventually waived by defendant; settled for $6.2 million
  • Construction Accident: mediated case involving plaintiff that suffered foot injuries from falling lumber; settled for $4.25 million
  • Contract: case involving property owners’ breach of construction contract policy limit claim involving code violations and faulty workmanship
  • Employment: gender discrimination case involving senior vice president of human resources with possible enormous exposure for defendant; parties settled in pre-suit mediation using a structured negotiation process
  • Franchise: multi-million-dollar suit against franchisor for breach of duty of fair trade to franchisees; resolved via a complex transfer of stores, buyouts and cash settlement
  • Franchise: resolved multiple fast food franchisee discrimination claims against franchisor involving multiple locations
  • Insurance Coverage and Property Damage: first-party property damage case; water damage from deteriorated roof; resolved questions of causation and coverage in successful mediation
  • Insurance Coverage: resolved disputes steaming from weather damage on numerous buildings, including actual cash value of damage to multiple building elements with a § 215 ILCS 5/155 issue
  • Partnership Dispute: named partner of law firm expelled from firm by other partners; dispute related to buy-out and additional Wage Act claim for unpaid time; assisted parties in reaching agreement on amount of settlement and structure of pay-out, satisfying needs of both parties and minimizing tax implications
  • Partnership Dispute: dispute between two founders of telecom company; helped parties assess proper method of company valuation and structure buy-out of minority partner
  • Personal Injury: emotionally-charged matter involving disabled plaintiff who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of an accident
  • Personal Injury: mediated case involving claims of active negligence and numerous brain and spinal injuries that resulted in plaintiff’s eventual death; settled for $4.5 million
  • Product Liability: case involving suit against distributor, manufacturer and overseas joint venturers’ parts suppliers for repair and replacement of multiple automotive products
  • Property Damage: case involving building owners’ claims for structural damage against insurer with pending declaratory action with claim of unreasonable and vexation denial
  • Property Damage: case involving claims filed for flood and mold damage to inventory and structure; fixtures denied as “fortuitous” with Section 155 asserted against insurer
  • Property Damage: resolved insurance claim involving Section 155 after determination of the valuation of loss
  • Shareholder Dispute: case involving derivative shareholder claim under Illinois Business Corporation Act, Section 12.56 (g) relating to a shareholder dispute, deadlock and buyout
  • Subrogation: jointly mediated two separate subrogation claims relating to two separate fires in different states involving the same defendant; alleged spontaneous combustion caused by cooking oil; aided parties in reaching global settlement for both disputes
  • Wrongful Death: teenager struck in the head during an altercation with the defendant that caused brain hemorrhage; case settled for $1 million
  • Wrongful Death: complicated case involving 22 defendants with multiple liability issues; mediated over a three-day period; successfully settled with all parties for $3 million

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Founding President, Suburban Bar Coalition of Cook County
  • Past Chair, Board of Visitors, Northern Illinois University College of Law
  • Past President, West Suburban Bar Association
  • Past Chair, Crime Prevention Awards Committee, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Founding President, Arab-American Bar Association of Illinois
  • Past Chair, Legal Affairs, Mayor’s Advisory Council
  • Founding President, United States Mutual Association
  • Former Vice President, Lombard Green Condo Association
  • Former Vice-President, Arab American Business Association
  • Former Member, Supreme Court Capital Litigation Trial Bar Screening Committee
  • Former Member, National District Attorneys Association
  • Former Member, Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Former Board Member, Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Church
  • Former Member, Governor’s Anti-Terrorism Transition Task Force
  • Vanguard Award, Chicago Bar Association
  • Professional Service Award, Illinois State Bar Association Board of Governors
  • Crime Stoppers Special Recognition Award
  • Leadership Award, Chicago Human Relations Commission
  • Award for Excellence in the Field of Law, St. Ignatius College Prep
  • Leadership Award, Northern Illinois University College of Law
  • Building Bridges Award, Decalogue Society (AABAR)
  • Distinguished Service Award, Cook County Suburban Bar Coalition
  • Life-Time Achievement Award, Arab American Bar Association
  • Distinguished Service Award, Arab American Business Association

Presentations and Publications

  • Author, “Sole Proximate Cause: The ‘Empty Chair’ Defense in Illinois,” Illinois Bar Journal
  • Author, “Authenticating E-Mail Evidence,” Illinois Bar Journal
  • Author, “Damage Photos & Experts,” Illinois Bar Journal
  • Author, “Crawford, The Public-Records Hearsay Exception,” Illinois Bar Journal
  • Author, “Illinois Courts Consider Right to Jury Service,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
  • Author, “7th Circuit Develops New E-Discovery for Illinois Courts,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
  • Presenter, “Commercial Property Damage Insurance Claims,” Arab-American Bar Association CLE Program
  • Presenter, “Proximate Cause Issues in Medical Malpractice Cases,” Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA)
  • Presenter, “Judicial Perspective on Settlements & Liens,” ITLA & Southwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Forum on Civil Litigation – Empty Chair Defense,” Northwest Suburban Bar
  • Presenter, “How We Can Improve the Litigation Process in Illinois,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Judges Symposium
  • Presenter, “Judicial Forum on Civil Trial Litigation,” National Business Institute
  • Presenter, “Anatomy of a Trial,” Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Tort Law Section
  • Presenter, “Electronic Evidence,” ISBA Continuing Legal Education Seminar
  • Presenter, “Video Surveillance in Private Sector,” Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Presenter, “Ethics and Professionalism for Prosecutors,” Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
  • Presenter, “NIU International Law Program,” Bordeaux School of Law: Agen, France
  • Presenter, “Annual Francis Riley Lecture on Professionalism,” Northern Illinois University College of Law


  • JD, DePaul University College of Law
  • BS/BA, Marquette University
  • Certificates of Advocacy, ITLA College of Advocacy and NITA
  • Diplomat of Trial Advocacy, Court Practice Institute (A. Morrill)


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


I was a sitting judge for over 11 years, have practiced law and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2013. 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.

My mediation at ADR Systems proved to be extremely successful, thanks to the professionalism of our mediator.  Judge Kelley adeptly settled a very complex case involving serious injuries.  His patience, knowledge of the case, and considerate treatment of the parties involved all contributed to reaching a settlement that both sides found acceptable.  Kudos to Judge Kelley and ADR Systems for an experience I hope soon to repeat.

Thomas P Cernek, Esq.Law Offices of Thomas P. Cernek & Associates