ADR Systems


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

Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.)


Hon. Michael R. Panter, (Ret.) is a highly regarded senior mediator and arbitrator with nearly 40 years of legal experience. While on the bench, Judge Panter won acclaim for his settlement abilities, frequently having been requested to settle cases from other judges’ calendars. He taught and still teaches settlement strategies to the Illinois judges at their bi-annual statewide meetings. Judge Panter is an experienced litigator, having tried numerous bench and jury trials and arbitrations before going on the bench. He is experienced in personal injury and commercial litigation and has mediated numerous cases as both a judge and trial lawyer. Judge Panter is known for his patience, persistence and his creative approach to problem solving in dispute resolution.

Types of Cases Resolved

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

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2015, Judge Panter has served as a full-time mediator, arbitrator and tri-panel chair
  • 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
  • Completed negotiation course, Harvard Law School

Representative Cases

  • Auto Liability: $20 million settlement in a car and truck collision with severe injuries
  • Construction Accidents: handled numerous cases, one requiring an evidence deposition in 1982 Communist Poland
  • Contract: manufacturer’s distributor lawsuit over commissions
  • Employment and Discrimination: tried wrongful termination cases in Human Rights Commission
  • Fee Dispute: $1 million dispute involving attorney fees; parties settled after diligent post-mediation follow-up
  • Fraud: piercing-the-corporate-veil federal jury trial and subsequent appeal; vacation of arbitration award tried successfully in chancery and upheld on appeal
  • Insurance Coverage: case involving a manufacturing 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
  • Legal Malpractice: case involving expired statutes of limitations
  • Non-Compete: case involving a non-compete agreement for an electronics distributor
  • Nursing Home: injuries included falls, bedsores, prescription errors, failures to refer, supervision and elopement
  • Partnership Dispute: as a judge, settled hundreds of highly contentious breakups, including celebrity breakups, for parents over every possible issue involved in child rearing
  • Professional Malpractice: museums sued for alleged defects in decorative barriers and entrance-ways; other cases involving commercial staircase designs, raised platforms, fences and structural failures
  • Subrogation: presided over a fire subrogation case that involved several lost and damaged buildings

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Vice-Chair, American Bar Association (ABA), Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Member, Illinois Supreme Court, Civil Justice Committee
  • Faculty, New Judge Seminar
  • Faculty, State of Illinois Judicial Education Conference
  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
  • Member, Cook County Bar Association
  • Member, Womens Bar Association of Illinois
  • Former Member, Committee on Discovery Procedures
  • Former Member, Cook County Law Division Committee on Mediation of Discovery Disputes
  • Member, Tort Litigation Committee and Referral Panels, CBA
  • Member, DuPage County Bar Association
  • Member, West Suburban Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)
  • Former Member, Florida State Bar Association
  • Member, Litigation and Judicial Divisions, American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Former Member, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA)
  • Member, Decalogue Society of Lawyers
  • Former Member, American Association for Justice
  • Former Member, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
  • Former Member, American Society of Trial Consultants
  • Member, Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project
  • Member, Jewish United Fund
  • Member, Jewish Community Center
  • Member, TIPS, Dispute Resolution Committee, ABA
  • Former Board Member, Jewish Council for Youth Services
  • Mentor, Gay and Lesbian Alliance
  • Mentor, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Member, Jewish Judges Association
  • Featured in articles and profiles in Crain’s, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer Magazine

Presentations and Publications

  • Keynote Address, “Streamlining the Litigation Process,” Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, 2015 Professional Liability & Municipal Law Conference
  • Keynote Address, Commencement Exercises, Bradwell School of Excellence
  • 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, Auto Management Claims Group of State Farm Insurance Company
  • Presenter, Consortium of Representatives from Major Illinois Insurers
  • Presenter, Defense Research Institute (DRI) Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute
  • Presenter, “Streamlining Litigation,” Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
  • Presenter, “Getting the Judge on Your Side,” Law Division & Municipal Joint Seminar, Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Presenter, “Litigation Issues,” CBA, Tort Litigation Committee
  • Presenter, “Arbitration,” Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association
  • Presenter, Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration and Mediation Program
  • 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,” CBA Seminar
  • Presenter, “Perspective from the Bench,” ITLA Medical Malpractice Seminar
  • Presenter, CBA, Young Lawyers Section
  • Presenter, PINCUS Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seminars
  • Presenter, CBA, Judges’ Annual Symposium
  • Presenter, “The Art of Mediation,” ABA TIPS Section Conference
  • 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, CBA, 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, chapters on “Voir Dire” and “Motions in Limine,” Law Division Benchbook
  • Author, “Discovery,” ITLA Civil Practice Update
  • Author, “Thirty Years in 1,600 Bankers Boxes,” CBA Record
  • Presenter, numerous CLE programs for ADR Systems on various topics


  • 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

Judge Billik did an outstanding job as a mediator in our commercial case. The other parties had the same opinion of him.  He brought great energy, common sense and credibility to the task, and tried hard to understand all sides.

Dan L. Boho, Esq.Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP