Jerome Abrams

Jerome B. Abrams

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Retired Judge, First Judicial District Court, Minnesota

Case Manager
Amanda Foster
T: 612-332-8225
F: 612-332-9887
333 So. Seventh St., Ste. 2550, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Jerome B. Abrams is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Judge Abrams joins JAMS in Minneapolis after a distinguished 14-year career as a Minnesota district court judge and 27 years as a successful lawyer with a national practice based in Minneapolis. His experience as a trial lawyer and judge has given him unique insights and allow him to serve as a neutral in all types of cases. He has also received training and served as an ADR neutral under Minnesota rules.

As a judge, Judge Abrams was appointed to many of the most complicated and high-profile cases in Minnesota state courts, including many multidistrict assignments. These cases have involved hundreds of mechanic’s liens in failed housing developments and high-rises, construction defects resulting in tens of millions of dollars in claimed damages and complicated environmental cases concerning the regulation of solid waste landfills.

As a national leader for the improvement of civil justice, complex case management, court technology and e-discovery, Judge Abrams has presented on over 100 occasions to groups in the U.S. and abroad on these and related subjects. He continues to author texts on insurance coverage for business torts and e-discovery, and he wrote a bench book for business courts published by the American Bar Association.

Representative Matters

Complex and Multidistrict Judicial Assignments 

  • BFI Waste Management Systems, Inc. v. Laura Bishop in her capacity as Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 19HA-CV17-1629 (Resolved statewide action involving multiple waste haulers)
  • State v. Bernard, 859 N.W.2d 762 (Minn. 2015), rehearing den. (2015), cert. granted (U.S. Dec. 11, 2015); decided with Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 US 141 (2016)
  • City of West St. Paul v. Larry A. Dimmen, et al., 19HA-CV-13-4929, Dakota County District Court (Resolved condemnation action involving hundreds of properties)
  • In re: Minnesota Intoxylizer 5000EN Source Code Litigation (Minn. Sup. Ct. Order A09-2109, January 11, 2010); affirmed 816 N.W.2d 525 (Minn. 2012) (Resolved consolidation of over 4,000 cases)
  • In re: M.W. Johnson Construction, Inc. Mechanic’s Lien Foreclosure Litigation (Minn. Sup. Ct. Order A09-454, March 31, 2009) (Resolved actions involving hundreds of competing mechanic’s, supplier and lender liens)
  • In re: Parish Marketing and Development Corporation Mechanic’s Lien Foreclosure Litigation (Minn. Sup. Ct. Order A08-120, February 14, 2008) (Resolved action involving hundreds of competing mechanic’s, supplier and lender liens)

Private Practice Experience

 As an advocate in private practice, Judge Abrams handled over 80 jury trials for both plaintiffs and defendants, including:

  • Trials and appeals in state and federal courts, including the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Minnesota Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Mass torts experience involving asbestos, diethylstilbestrol (DES), the World Trade Center and silicone breast implants
  • Products liability trial experience
  • Environmental liability case experience
  • Complex commercial case trial experience
  • Expert witness work on the reasonable value of attorneys’ fees
  • Professional liability matters, including medical malpractice and legal and accounting malpractice
  • Coverage and insurance bad faith trial experience
  • U.S. and foreign arbitration trial experience
  • Negligence actions and Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) and Jones Act matters

Memberships and Affiliations

Judicial Leadership


  • Member, National Board of Directors, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
  • Member and Judicial Advisor, Working Group 1, The Sedona Conference
  • Treasurer, American College of Business Court Judges
  • Honorary Fellow, American College of Coverage Counsel
  • Member, American Bar Association (ABA)


  • Trial Judge of the Year, Minnesota Chapter, ABOTA, 2019
  • Member, Board of Directors, National Center for State Courts, 2015–2021
  • Judicial Member, Minnesota Court Technology Advisory Team, 2020–2022
  • Judicial Manager, Expedited Litigation Track Pilot Project, Dakota County, 2014–2022
  • Member, Executive Management Committee, First Judicial District, 2008–2022
  • Sub-Committee Chair for Rules and Litigation, Conference of Chief Justices, Civil Justice Initiative, National Center for State Courts, 2014–2018
  • Member, Board of Directors, Minnesota District Judges Association, 2009–2015
  • Member, Minnesota Civil Rules Advisory Committee, 2013–2019
  • Judicial Representative, Business Law Section, ABA, 2014–2016

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota, 1981
  • Wisconsin, 1985 (inactive)
  • Previous admissions to multiple federal courts, both trial and appellate
  • Qualified ADR neutral, Minnesota Supreme Court

Speaker on a variety of ADR topics before professional organizations, including:

  • “A Guide to E-Discovery in Artificial Intelligence,” Law and Forensics (webinar), November 2021
  • “Caseflow Management, Civil Cases for Judges in Japan,” National Center for State Courts (online exchange), August 2021
  • “The Courts as a Service—Not a Building: How Technology Must Be at the Forefront of Court Modernization,” National Association of Court Managers Annual Meeting, San Diego, July 2021
  • “Caseflow Management: The Next Generation,” National Center for State Courts (webinar moderator), July 2021
  • “Utilizing ADR, ODR and Court Litigation to Resolve Disputes in the Era of COVID-19,” ABA Business Law Section (webinar), September 2020
  • “Access to Justice in Light of COVID-19,” ABA Business Law Section Showcase Program (webinar), September 2020
  • “Business Litigation Grab Bag,” National Center for State Courts (webinar), September 2020
  • “Labor and Employment Liability,” National Center for State Courts (webinar moderator), August 2020
  • “Jury Trials in the Age of a Pandemic,” American Board of Trial Advocates (webinar), July 2020
  • Korean Court Scholar Observation Program, May 2020 and February 2022
  • “Online Dispute Resolution and You,” ABA Business Law Section (webinar), April 2020
  • “Civil Legal System Modernization: Is Online Dispute Resolution Making a Difference in Access to Justice?”; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Judicial Integrity Initiative; Doha, Qatar; February 2020

Selected Publications

  • “Guidance for Conducting Civil Jury Trials During the COVID-19 Pandemic” (white paper), ABOTA, June 2020
  • “The Business Courts Benchbook: Procedures and Best Practices in Business and Commercial Cases,” (contributing author), ABA, 2019
  • “Global Judicial Integrity Network: Applying the Bangalore Principles to Court Administration” (podcast), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2018
  • E-Discovery Desk Book (chapter author), Minnesota CLE, 2020
  • “Business Disputes: Claims and Remedies” (chapter author), Minnesota CLE, 2020
  • “An Electronic Discovery Primer,” 40 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 427, 2014 (contributing
  • author)
  • “Failure to Allocate? Nobody Pays: Using Miller-Shugart Settlements In Cases of Questionable Insurance Coverage,” 4 Wm. Mitchell J. L. & Practice 2, 2010
  • Judge, Minnesota District Court, 2008–2022
  • Mentor (part-time), University of St. Thomas, 2010–present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law (Advocacy), 2014
  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, University of Minnesota (Complex Litigation), 2008–2014
  • Abrams & Smith, P.A., 1997–2008
  • Austin & Abrams, P.A., 1988–1996
  • Austin & Roth & Associates, 1982–1987
  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, 1981
  • B.A., Beloit College, 1977

Counsel Comments

    • “Judge Abrams will be an excellent addition to JAMS’ alternative dispute resolution roster. Having practiced in front of him many times, I know that he knows the ins and outs of complex civil litigation and how to get cases resolved. He will be a valuable asset in affording parties a knowledgeable and trusted neutral.”
    • “I had cases against Jerry Abrams for 20 years before he went on the bench. Without a doubt, he was the smartest and hardest-working adversary that I had. At the same time, he was friendly, cordial and accommodating in all respects—quite a combination. He is a wonderful man, and I am confident he will be able to resolve even the most difficult disputes.”
    • “Judge Abrams is a highly respected jurist who is experienced in a wide variety of civil matters both as a practicing lawyer and in his years as a highly regarded member of the Minnesota district court bench. He has the knowledge, expertise and patience to assist parties in resolving even the most complex disputes. He is a fine addition to the JAMS panel of neutrals.”
    • “Judge Abrams brings a unique perspective and a diverse set of tools to the resolution table—a stellar career as a litigator handling some of the most complex cases of the day, followed by an equally distinguished career on the bench. This, together with an approachable demeanor and affable personality, makes him exceptionally suited to his new role as an eminent neutral. His services will rightfully be in high demand. “
    • “I chuckled when I learned of Jerry’s position with JAMS because I knew when he left the bench and began a mediation practice that there would be no work for other mediators! Jerry is a great guy, is smart and knows civil litigation, and he will serve all parties to disputes exceedingly well.”
    • “Judge Abrams’ intellectual rigor and patience, along with his practical approach to resolving complex civil cases, make him an ideal addition to JAMS. As a former civil trial lawyer, Judge Abrams has a keen sense of what it takes to successfully try cases, which is, in part, what makes him such an effective mediator.”
    • “Judge Abrams got involved shortly before trial to discuss each party’s settlement position. He was able to tactfully and with empathy close the settlement gap between the parties. He was willing to put in a little extra time to speak with the parties to ensure their concerns were heard, while also balancing the weaknesses in the case.”



Practice Areas

  • Agribusiness & Food Law
  • Business & Commercial
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Employment Law
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More