Hon. Geraldine Soat Brown (Ret.)

T: 312-655-0555
F: 312-655-0644

Locations

Engineering and Construction

Hon. Geraldine Soat Brown (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2016 following 16 years as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, including 4 years as the Presiding Magistrate Judge. 

Before joining the bench, Judge Brown had 25 years of experience in commercial and construction litigation and alternative dispute resolution. As an attorney, she represented owners, architects, and contractors in court and in arbitrations, and in drafting construction contracts for commercial, condominium, residential, and public buildings.

Judge Brown previously served as an arbitrator in construction disputes relating to commercial, residential, and condominium buildings as well as public works.

Representative Matters

  • Arbitrated, as sole arbitrator or as a member of a panel, construction disputes relating to commercial, residential, and condominium buildings and public works, and contract disputes relating to real estate, franchising, and partnership
  • Mediated multiparty construction dispute arising from default of subcontractor in school expansion project
  • Conducted preliminary injunction hearings in numerous cases, including claimed breach of restrictive covenant, replevin of leased equipment, and award of public contract
  • Mediated settlement of copyright and unfair competition claim by architectural firm against competing firm
  • Mediated settlement of claim by surety against defaulting family-owned contractor, including disputes among family members and claim against surety alleging failure to mitigate in selection of replacement contractor
  • Mediated settlement of claim under office building lease for defective construction and repairs by lessor
  • Mediated settlement for damages based on leak of hazardous materials from adjacent building

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Selected Speaking Engagements

• Presenter, Developments in E-discovery, National Subcontractors Alliance Attorneys Council, October 20, 2017
• Co-Presenter, Thinking Strategically about Settlement, DRI Retail and Hospitality Committee, October 6, 2017
• Co-Presenter, Litigation Zombies: Settlements that Don’t Stick and Sanctions After Litigation, CLE day at JAMS, June 15, 2017
• Presenter, Ten Things You Should Know about Practicing Before Magistrate Judges, Union League Club Lawyers Group, May 24, 2017
• Co-Presenter, Tips of the Trade: Settlement Conferences, Illinois State Bar Association, May 10, 2017
• Co-Presenter, E-discovery in Construction Cases, Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, April 18, 2017
• Panelist, Mediation Roundtable, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Western Division, February 13, 2017
• Panelist, Littler Women’s Leadership Initiative, Littler Mendelson, Nov. 9, 2016

Selected Memberships and Professional Activities

  • American Arbitration Association, Construction and Commercial Arbitrator and Mediator Panels, 1976-2000
    • Chicago Region Construction Arbitration Advisory Committee
      • Member, 1982-1996
      • Chairwoman, January 1987-December 1988
    • Member, Commercial Arbitration Advisory Committee, 1998-2000
  • Illinois Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinating Committee
    • Member, 1992-1993
    • Expert Advisor, Illinois Judicial Conference Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinating Committee, 1994-2000
  • Mediator, Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR), 1992-2000
  • Member, Federal Magistrate Judges Association, 2000-2016
    • Member, Rules Committee, 2008-2016; Chair, 2013-2016
  • Member, American Bar Association, 1978-present
    • Member, Litigation Section, 1978-present
    • Member, Dispute Resolution Section, 1995-present
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association, 1975-present
    • Member, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, 1987-present; Chair, 1999-2000
    • Member, Alliance for Women, 1994-present; Co-Chair, 2003-2004
    • Member, Architecture and Law Committee, 1981-1985
  • Member, Chicago Council of Lawyers, 1975-present
    • Chairwoman, Judiciary Committee, 1977-1978
  • Member, Federal Bar Association, 2000-present
  • Member, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, 1993-present
    • Member, Committee on the Administration of the Hooton Trust, 1997-2000
  • Board of Directors, Cook County Court Watching Project, Inc., 1979-1982
  • Adjunct Professor, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1993-1995

Author of numerous articles including the following:

  • Author, “The Top Five Things to Know about the New Federal Discovery Rules." The Circuit Rider 10 (Nov. 2015)
  • Author, “When is a Foreigner Diverse?:  Diversity Jurisdiction in Cases Involving Foreign Citizens and Businesses,” 62 The Federal Lawyer, No. 1, 66 (Jan. 2015)
  • Contributor, “Symposium:  The Restyled Federal Rules of Evidence,” 53 William and Mary Law Review, No. 5, 1470 (2012)
  • Author, “Reining in E-Discovery,” 37 Litigation, No. 4, 18 (2011)
  • Author, “What Happens to Cases that Don’t Settle,” 11 Dispute Resolution Magazine, No. 3, 25 (2005)
  • Co-author with Michael L. Shakman and Barry A. Miller, “Primer on Acting Rationally When Lawyers Relocate,” 14 CBA Record, No. 2, 24 (2000)
  • Author, “One Firm’s Tradition of Breaking Traditions,” Breaking Traditions, American Bar Association (1993)
  • Author, “Differences Between Private Arbitration and Mandatory Court-Annexed Arbitration,” 5 CBA Record, No. 4, 20 (1991)
  • Author, “Some Practical Thoughts on Arbitration,” The Corporate Litigator, American Bar Association (1989)
  • Editor, The Practical Guide to Illinois Preservation Law. Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section (1984)

Admissions

  • United States District Court, N.D. Ill. (1975), E.D. Mich. (1994)
  • United States District Court Trial Bar (1983)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1980), Sixth Circuit (1993)
  • United States Supreme Court (1979)
  • Illinois State Bar (1975)

Background and Education

  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • Presiding Magistrate Judge, 2012-2016
    • Magistrate Judge, 2000-2016
  • Miller, Shakman & Hamilton (and predecessor firms)
    • Partner, 1980-2000
    • Associate, 1975-1980
  • Arbitrator, Mandatory Arbitration Program of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, 1990-2000
    • Member, Mediator Panel for the Law Division Voluntary Mediation Program, 1993-2000
  • Federal Defender Panel
    • Attorney Member, 1999-2000
    • Attorney Intern, 1998-1999
  • J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1975
  • B.A., summa cum laude, University of Dayton, 1972

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