ADR Systems


Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.); Reinventing Your Legal Career

Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.)


Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.), is a senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems with more than 39 years of legal experience.  While on the bench, Judge Panter won acclaim for his settlement abilities.  He settled medical malpractice, construction accident, product liability, legal malpractice and motor vehicle claims.  His commercial experience includes but is not limited to: contracts, property damage and fire subrogation.  Prior to his career on the bench, Judge Panter was an active trial lawyer with more than 29 years of experience.  Having served both as a neutral and an advocate in hundreds of mediations and arbitrations, he brings a unique and empathetic approach to counsel and their clients.  While serving as a full-time faculty member at DePaul University College of Law in 2007, he founded Litigation Lab, a hands-on educational program for law students.  Judge Panter is known for his thorough and energetic approach to the dispute resolution process.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Civil Rights
  • Construction Accidents
  • Contract
  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Family Law
  • Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fraud
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Mass Torts
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Re-Insurance
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Subrogation
  • Toxic Tort
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist (UM&UIM)
  • Wrongful Death

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2015, Judge Panter has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator
  • 7-year judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County, including Associate Judge in the 1st Municipal District and the Domestic Relations Division, 2008-2010; Law Division Motion Section, 2010-2011; and Jury Trial Section, 2011-2015
  • 30-year legal career including commercial litigation at Panter, Nelson & Bernfield, Ltd.; and Michael R. Panter and Associates where he focused on personal injury and commercial litigation , 1980-2007
  • Director of Litigation Lab, DePaul University College of Law, 2007-2008
  • Adjunct Professor, DePaul University College of Law, 2007-2008

Representative Cases

  • Auto Liability: $20 million settlement in a car and truck collision with severe injuries
  • Contract: manufacturer’s distributor lawsuit over commissions
  • Fee Dispute: $1 million dispute involving attorney fees; parties settled after diligent post-mediation follow-up
  • Fraud: federal trial and appeal for piercing corporate veil
  • Fraud: trial and appeal of case vacating arbitration award
  • Guardianship: $20 million case for wrongful placement and monitoring of a foster child by a private agency
  • Insurance Coverage: case involving a manufacturer company that allegedly failed to give timely notice of a claim
  • Legal Malpractice: complex case regarding failure to timely prepare a prospectus for a private offering
  • Medical Malpractice: as a judge, settled 18 medical malpractice cases for more than $1 million each, including five cases that settled between $7-12 million
  • Medical Malpractice: $2.5 million case involving a patient who died as a result of an undiagnosed post-operative pulmonary embolism
  • Medical Malpractice: $2.4 million case involving delayed cancer diagnosis resulting in the death of an elderly patient
  • Non-Compete: tried and enforced a covenant not to compete for an electronics distributor
  • Personal Injury: $1 million settlement for loss of an infant’s arm due to physician’s failure to recognize vascular compromise and thrombosis after an IV line was inserted
  • Product Liability: $750,000 case involving a child who lost an eye due to a defective spring-launched toy airplane
  • Subrogation: Presided over a fire subrogation case that involved several lost and damaged buildings
  • Wrongful Death: $5.3 million for a construction worker killed in a crane collapse
  • Wrongful Death: $1 million case involving the suicide of a mentally ill patient following psychiatric admission

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Faculty, 2015 New Judge Seminar
  • Faculty, State of Illinois Judicial Education Conference, 2012, 2014, 2016
  • Member, Illinois Supreme Court, Committee on Discovery Procedures
  • Member, Cook County Law Division Committee on Mediation of Discovery Disputes
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association, Tort Litigation Committee and Referral Panels
  • Member, DuPage County Bar Association
  • Member, West Suburban Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Florida State Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association, Litigation and Judicial Divisions
  • Member, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member, Decalogue Society of Lawyers
  • Member, American Association for Justice
  • Member, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
  • Member, American Society of Trial Consultants
  • Member, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Member, Standard Club
  • Member, Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project
  • Member, Jewish United Fund
  • Member, Jewish Community Centers
  • Member, Jewish Agency Partnership 2000
  • Member, Illinois Supreme Court, Civil Justice Committee
  • Board Member, Young Men’s Jewish Council (JCYS)
  • Mentor, Israel Cancer Research Fund
  • Mentor, Gay and Lesbian Alliance
  • Mentor, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Featured in articles and profiles in Crain’s, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Chicago Lawyer Magazine
  • Jewish Judges Association

Presentations and Publications

  • Presenter, “Streamlining Litigation,” Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
  • Presenter, “Getting the Judge on Your Side,” Law Division & Municipal Joint Seminar
  • Presenter,” ADR in the United States,” for officials from China’s Ministry of Justice, through the University of Illinois Office of Global Education & Training, and hosted by the University’s China Executive Leadership Program
  • Presenter, “Litigation Issues,” Tort Litigation Committee
  • Presenter, “Arbitration,” Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association
  • Presenter, Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration and Mediation
  • Presenter, “Defendant’s Store Clerk – Direct Examination and Cross-Examination,” Anatomy of a Trial, ISBA Tort Law Section
  • Presenter, “Overview of Damages in Commercial Litigation,” Chicago Bar Association Seminar
  • Presenter, “Perspective from the Bench,” ITLA Medical Malpractice Seminar
  • Presenter, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Spring Symposium
  • Presenter, Auto Management Claims Group of State Farm Insurance Company
  • Presenter, Adjusters Group of Hanover Insurance
  • Presenter, Consortium of Representatives from Major Illinois Insurers
  • Presenter, DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute
  • Presenter, Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section
  • Presenter, Judge Lynn M. Egan’s Lunchtime Seminars
  • Presenter, Judge James P. Flannery Meeting of New Judges
  • Presenter, Chicago Bar Association Tort Litigation Committee
  • Presenter, PINCUS CLE Seminars
  • Presenter, Chicago Bar Association Judges’ Annual Symposium
  • Keynote Address, “Streamlining the Litigation Process,” CLM 2015 Professional Liability & Municipal Law Conference
  • Keynote Address, Commencement Exercises, Bradwell School of Excellence
  • Panelist, “The Mechanics of Jury Selection,” Circuit Court of Cook County panel discussion and seminar
  • Panelist, “Creative Solutions: How to Reduce Litigation Costs and Expedite Resolution,” Circuit Court of Cook County Lunchtime Seminar Series
  • Panelist, Chicago Bar Association, ADR Committee
  • Panelist, “Damages: What, When and How,” Circuit Court of Cook County Lunchtime Seminar Series
  • Moderating Judge, Willis Retail Litigation Symposium
  • Writing team of the Civil Law and Procedure Bench Book for the State of Illinois
  • Author, “Why Shareholders Have the Right to Accept Tender Offers,” CBA Record
  • Author, Law Division Benchbook, chapters on “Voir Dire” and “Motions in Limine”
  • Author, ITLA Civil Practice Update, “Discovery”
  • Author, “Thirty Years in 1,600 Bankers Boxes,” CBA Record


  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison,B.A.
  • St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD (“The Great Books School”)


  • Illinois State Bar
  • Florida State Bar
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Thanks to ADR Systems and its mediators, plaintiff and defense attorneys and insurance companies clearly recognized that it was prudent to settle the case for its value and avoid the expenditures and time associated with court.

Paul Wolf, Esq.Senior Partner, Mitchell Hoffman & Wolf LLC