Cook County Law Division Judge Leverages Decades of Trial, Judicial Experience as New ADR Systems Neutral - ADR Systems

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ADR Systems is excited to welcome Hon. Lorna E. Propes, (Ret.) to our panel of senior mediators and arbitrators. Judge Propes brings 32 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer and 12 as a trial judge to her new role.  As an attorney, she represented plaintiffs in personal injury, medical negligence, civil rights and product liability cases, as well as major corporations as trial counsel in class action and mass tort cases of national significance, including a six-month product liability class action trial. On the bench, she handled high-profile and complex mass tort and product liability cases, among others, and resolved myriad disputes in settlement conferences.

“From these experiences, I have come to believe that open, frank, and robust communication is the key to successful settlements. Litigants often see the settlement conference as, perhaps, their only chance to talk to a judge, tell their story and simply be heard,” said Judge Propes. “A mediator’s greatest skill, therefore, is listening and then translating what they hear into compromise.  I strive to help litigants see the case from a realistic perspective and urge them to appreciate how compromise is not concession but a path to achieving their goals. A mediator must always be humble, have patience, and ever be mindful of one basic truth: The lawyers know their case better than we do.”

Among the many complex cases that came before her on the bench, Judge Propes notably settled a dispute derived from an aircraft crash that resulted in the deaths of the aircraft’s crewmembers. Over the course of three lengthy settlement conferences, she corresponded with the insurance carrier and the various counsel for the four plaintiffs’ families to resolve the matter.

Judge Propes contrasts that experience with other matters that came before her involving birth injuries that resulted in severe and permanent disabilities. In those cases, the plaintiffs and their lawyers became wedded to their settlement positions. Ultimately, they lost at trial, resulting in no recovery for the children.

“These examples illustrate the risk any case faces when it goes to trial and what can be gained by mediating: control, certainty and a mitigation of risk,” said Judge Propes.

Judge Propes is the sixth neutral to join our panel – the fourth from the Circuit Court of Cook County – since the Spring of last year. Like her recent predecessors, she comes to ADR Systems after navigating the vagaries of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the legal system, which threw into sharp relief the public good that settlement conferences and alternative dispute resolution processes offer.

“Judge Propes is patient, creative, open-minded and supremely well-versed in the areas of law involved in the cases brought to us,” said Marc Becker, president of ADR Systems. “Whether working with them remotely or in person, I know Judge Propes will help our clients find the resolutions they have been looking for.”

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Hon. Lorna E. Propes, (Ret.) brings 32 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer and 12 as a trial judge to her role as a senior mediator and arbitrator. On the bench, she presided over medical negligence, personal injury, product liability, mass torts, aviation disaster, contract and FELA disputes at trial and in settlement conferences. Her goal with every case is to help litigants see the case from a realistic perspective and urge them to appreciate how compromise is not concession but a path to achieving their goals.

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ADR Systems, It’s Settled. ®

"Judge Hanlon was an amazing mediator! While I have known her for years, I have never appeared in front of her or mediated a case with her. During a 10-hour mediation with her, I marveled at how hard she worked to get this case settled, and, more importantly, how great she communicated with my clients. She was calm, measured, reassuring, and so incredibly knowledgeable on the facts and mediation tactics. Judge Hanlon will always be on the top of my list for future mediations."

Richard I. Levin, Esq.Levin, Riback & Adelman
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