Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski (Ret.)

Of Counsel

During a distinguished 23 year judicial career and later as a JAMS neutral, Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski (Ret.) presided over hundreds of appeals, conducted countless trials, both bench and jury, pre-trial conferences, arbitrations, and mediations in nearly all areas of Illinois practice. He understands both sides of a dispute and is prepared to listen, carefully analyze, and assist parties and counsel to reach innovative and sensible solutions.

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities:

  • Illinois Courts Commission, 1998-2000; appointed by Appellate Court colleagues to serve on panel that adjudicates complaints alleging misconduct against Illinois judges
  • Alternate Member, Illinois Courts Commission, 1994-1998
  • Executive Committee, Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 1998-2000
  • Chairman, Executive Committee, First District Appellate Court, 1993
  • Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education, 1992-1993
  • Chairman, Illinois Appellate Court, Statewide, 1993
  • Selected by peers in a statewide survey to be among the top lawyers in Illinois, at Leading Lawyers Network as a leading lawyer in “ADR: Commercial Litigation” and “ADR: Commercial Real Estate, Environmental and Construction Law”
  • Frequent lecturer for Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education, law schools and government agencies on topics including civil procedure, motion practice, pre-trial discovery, contract law, chancery proceedings, Tort Immunity Act, appellate practice, and workers’ compensation
Practice Areas:
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution, Arbitration & Mediations
  • Appeals
Representative Experience:
  • Thomas R. Rakowski (Ret.) arbitrates and successfully mediates a wide array of disputes including business and commercial claims, charitable entity regulation and disputes, class actions, complex and mass torts, construction, employment, executive terminations, environmental, insurance coverage and bad faith, intellectual property, international, personal injury, premises liability, professional malpractice, real estate/condominium, securities, and wrongful death.
  • He is particularly adept at attorney fees disputes. Recently arbitrated attorney fee dispute between law firms regarding their joint representation in an east coast state’s groundwater contamination lawsuit against 20+ oil companies that resulted in a $860,000,000 verdict. Chaired three member panel and offered awards.
  • While in the Chancery Courts, he pre-tried, mediated and presided over trials involving all forms of relief recognizable in equity. He heard hundreds of suits involving commercial disputes, attorney fees disputes, restrictive covenants, non-competition agreements, insurance coverage and bad faith, construction disputes, mechanic’s liens, mortgage foreclosures, real estate, employment, and shareholder/officer disputes.
  • As a Law Division, Motion Section judge, he presided over the contested motion call. He heard dispositive pre-trial motions (2-615, 2-619, 2-1005) in all areas of civil law, including tort, contract, commercial disputes, employment law, and labor disputes. He managed actions involving all forms of tort relief, including personal injury, defamation, professional negligence, and medical malpractice. He managed discovery in complex litigation.
  • The John Marshall Law School
  • DePaul University, Chicago
  • Illinois