Judge Berger Speaks at 8th Annual WBAI Domestic Relations Roundtable - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. Helaine Berger, (Ret.), senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems, was the sole mediator chosen as a panelist at the 8th Annual Domestic Relations Roundtable in Chicago. This continuing legal education seminar focused on complex family law issues surrounding modification of maintenance and relocation of one parent out-of-state. In addition to Judge Berger, the panel consisted of a dozen sitting judges from the Domestic Relations Division, Circuit Court of Cook County.

Panel members provided best practice tips for litigation and mediation of family law cases. “In the courtroom, judges want attorneys to know their case and the rules of evidence, bring the last order, practice civility and be prepared. In mediation, attorneys should focus on their clients’ interests and be open to creative solutions,” said Judge Berger.

The panel of judges also noted their pet peeves. Their most common pet peeve: the lack of attorney civility inside and outside the courtroom.

In addition to analyzing various case scenarios regarding relocation and modification of maintenance, the panel discussed the benefits of using mediation in family law cases. Judge Berger discussed a key benefit of mediation. “Sitting judges are limited to certain outcomes by law resulting in ‘all or nothing’ results for the divorcing parties. In contrast, mediation allows for ‘win-win’ outcomes,” Judge Berger said.

Before coming to ADR Systems, Judge Berger served for 19 years as a judge in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Domestic Relations Division and the Child Protection and Juvenile Justice Department. Her high settlement rate is a testament to her innate ability to very quickly relate to people personally, even in the most difficult and emotionally charged situations.

To view Judge Berger’s full bio, click here.

To check Judges Berger’s availability, click here.

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Judge Burke mediated a settlement in a matter where the parties were extremely far apart, with almost no common ground.  He pushed both sides to rethink their positions, outlined a post-conference approach and made himself available on short notice.  I do not believe anyone else could have settled the matter.  He will be my first choice for future mediations.

Lisa M. Lilly, Esq.Lisa M. Lilly Law