Judge Propes Serves as Judge at Loyola University Chicago School of Law Annual Mediation Tournament - ADR Systems

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Hon. Lorna E. Propes, (Ret.), senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems, recently served as a judge for the 23rd Annual International Law School Mediation Tournament hosted by the International Academy of Dispute Resolution and the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, her law school alma mater.

The Tournament attracts students from across the United States and around the world to act as mediator, attorney and client in simulated mediations. During each round of the tournament, contestants received a hypothetical case in which two parties were in dispute over a legal action or policy position. Judges evaluated students according to various criteria as they negotiated and facilitated resolutions to their hypothetical disputes.

“I was honored to judge at this tournament and to be an outsider looking in on a mediation for once rather than a participant,” said Judge Propes. “We did not have these opportunities back when I was in law school. But mediation is now a regular and important part of the litigation process, and it behooves every attorney, plaintiff and defendant to weigh the costs and risks of litigation and trial vs. a private, controlled mediated negotiation. Tournaments like these help future advocates prepare for this practice in realistic, hands-on ways.”

Judge Propes’ personal reflection on how legal practice has evolved in recent decades to embrace and emphasize the importance and utility of alternative dispute resolution is precisely on point historically.

While the Federal Arbitration Act has been around since the United States Congress enacted it in 1925, it was not until 1990 that Congress passed the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act and 1996 until it amended and permanently reauthorized it. Likewise, it was not until 1998 that Congress passed the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, which directed every federal court to establish local rules for the use of alternative dispute resolution in all civil actions and to encourage their use by litigants. The State of Illinois passed the Uniform Mediation Act, 710 ILCS 35/1 et seq., in 2004.

That ADR Systems and the Annual International Law School Mediation Tournament were both established during the same stretch of time as these statutes helps to show that alternative dispute resolution’s value and importance has truly come into vogue in recent decades. The National Council of Bar Examiners has taken note of this. Their NextGen bar exam, which will debut in 2026, lists negotiation and dispute resolution among its foundational skills for would-be attorneys.

“It is an exciting time to be involved in the work and world of alternative dispute resolution,” said Judge Propes. “Substantive opportunities like this Tournament will help aspiring lawyers be practice-ready from the start.”


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 F. Keith Brown did a great job settling a very tough, complicated multi-party case that involved both personal injury and commercial matters.  ADR Systems is our first and best choice for alternative dispute resolution.  This is because of the quality and effectiveness of their neutrals, and the terrific service supplied by their staff.

Glen Amundsen, Esq.Chairman - Executive Committee, SmithAmundsen, LLC