Sought-After Pretrial Judge Joins ADR Systems - ADR Systems

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ADR Systems is excited to announce that Hon. Christopher E. Lawler, (Ret.) has joined its panel of neutrals as a senior mediator and arbitrator. Judge Lawler previously served in the Circuit Court of Cook County Law Division’s Motion Section, where he handled over 2,000 cases and 1,200 pretrials during his tenure.

“We are thrilled to welcome Judge Lawler as we open our offices for in-person cases again,” said Marc Becker, president of ADR Systems. “An astute jurist and an accomplished litigator before that, he brings diverse legal knowledge and hands-on dispute resolution experience to the many mediations and arbitrations ahead of him.”

Judge Lawler’s work as a pretrial judge helped numerous litigants resolve their disputes – especially during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, when civil jury trials were suspended. His talent and demand as a pretrial judge were such that he often conducted pretrials on the weekends to serve more lawyers and their clients.

“I opened an avenue to resolution at a time when court access was severely, but necessarily, curtailed,” Judge Lawler said. “Amid worsened backlogs because of the pandemic, I am eager to continue with dispute resolution work in a new forum as a retired judge and neutral.”

His ample dispute resolution experience is supplemented by his ability to manage highly complex litigation and his long-running commitment to volunteerism.

For two-and-a-half years, Judge Lawler presided over complex legal and discovery issues involving millions of electronically stored documents related to a toxic tort case in which seven-hundred plaintiffs alleged exposure of ethylene oxide, a potential carcinogen, in a suburban town – one of the largest cases in Cook County history.

“I worked with some of the best lawyers in the city, if not the country, while that case was before me, ensuring fair hearings and equitable rulings that continued to move the case forward,” said Judge Lawler. “This is the approach I will take with each case before me as a neutral. Litigants mediate and arbitrate to cut costs, save time and control more of the process. It is my job to master the facts of the case and ensure procedural fairness for every party while facilitating the resolution of the dispute.”

Additionally, for 25 years, Judge Lawler has served on the Board of Directors for a large not-for-profit organization and as a recurring volunteer at soup kitchens and related charitable organizations. He likewise served as Chairman of the Board for Marist High School. His volunteer work, he says, has provided a broader view of the experiences of people from various backgrounds and class levels, insight he believes will help him better understand the pressures and legal issues that parties face.

To learn more about Judge Lawler, click here.


Hon. Christopher E. Lawler (Ret.) has more than 33 years of experience in personal injury and commercial matters as a respected litigator and sought-after pretrial judge. As a jurist, he pre-tried over 1,200 cases, handling some of the largest cases in Cook County history. Judge Lawler applies his legal knowledge and his experience from decades of community involvement to his mediations and arbitrations. His volunteer service has given him important insight into the needs of a wide variety of people, helping him to better facilitate the resolution of disputes.

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ADR Systems, It’s Settled.®

Our law firm handles only medical malpractice cases—a type of case that is very difficult to settle except by mediators who understand the complex emotions involved and what is at risk when such cases go to trial.  I trust ADR Systems' panel of mediators.  They have settled cases I truly thought incapable of settlement. I highly recommend them.

William A. Cirignani, Esq.Cirignani, Heller & Harman, The Medical Malpractice Lawyers
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