Steven Gilford

Steven R. Gilford, Esq.

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Michael McCants
T: 312-655-9199
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606


Steven R. Gilford, a mediator and arbitrator in commercial, insurance and a variety of other types of disputes. He joined JAMS following 40 years of experience in litigation, insurance and negotiation of complex settlements. Chambers has described Mr. Gilford as having “a remarkable ability to focus on the points that really matter” and “[the] ability to talk to both sides in a clear and down-to-earth manner.”

Mr. Gilford has handled trial and appellate litigation, domestic and international arbitrations, mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. His work has encompassed a wide range of industries and subject areas, including major contract, private equity and commercial disputes, consumer and other class actions, securities cases, technology outsourcing, defamation, trademarks, trade secrets and restrictive covenants. Mr. Gilford has also served as national and regional counsel for defense and coordination of major product liability matters.

In addition to his extensive litigation experience, Mr. Gilford is nationally recognized in the areas of insurance and reinsurance. Since joining JAMS, he has acted as an arbitrator and mediator in a broad variety of insurance and reinsurance disputes. He also accepts neutral valuation assignments. In private practice, Mr. Gilford represented clients in all segments of the insurance industry, including policyholders, insurers, reinsurers, captives and brokers. His experience includes virtually every area of insurance coverage, including CGL, D&O, cyber, E&O, product contamination and recall, employment practices, political risk/transactional and first-party property and business interruption. He is also experienced with litigation and proceedings relating to insurance insolvencies and in matters involving the U.S., London and Bermuda markets.

A long-time board member of various not-for-profits and former member of state and local boards of education, Mr. Gilford has a special interest in disputes in each of these areas.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

With extensive experience in commercial and insurance disputes, Mr. Gilford is certified as an arbitrator and mediator by ARIAS U.S. and the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, and as a mediator by the Center for Conflict Resolution where he also serves on its Board of Directors.

While in practice, Mr. Gilford was involved in the negotiation of many complex and creative settlement agreements and structures, including sales of business, bankruptcy and insurance insolvency restructuring and renegotiation of insurance and computer outsourcing contracts as parts of settlements.

Mr. Gilford has extensive experience in the resolution of complex disputes, including in the following areas:

  • Insurance and reinsurance disputes, including:
    • CGL
    • Cyber
    • D&O
    • E&O (including attorneys and accountants)
    • Employment practices
    • Private equity
    • Political risk/transactional
    • Product contamination and recall
    • Products liability, asbestos and mass torts
    • Property/business interruption
    • Terrorism
  • Complex contract disputes
  • Consumer and other class actions
  • Technology contracts
  • Commercial torts
  • False advertising and covenants not to compete
  • Civil rights cases
  • Multi-jurisdictional experience (U.S., U.K., Bermuda) in both single and tripartite arbitrations

Representative ADR Matters

  • As arbitrator:
    • Sole arbitrator in action under California consumer, false advertising and unfair competition statutes against major video game publisher
    • Umpire in AAA arbitration between major carrier and leading service company concerning fronting and retrospective premium arrangements in connection with coverage for defense costs and settlement in underlying class action
    • Sole arbitrator in dispute concerning extent of coverage for credit monitoring services under cyber insurance policy 
    • Party appointed arbitrator in multiple London based arbitrations concerning coverage for covid-related property damage and business interruption losses
    • Party appointed arbitrator in dispute over coverage provided by London market D&O policies for contractual damages under issued securities
    • Party appointed arbitrator in reinsurance dispute over profit sharing on specified book of business
    • Party appointed arbitrator in multiple arbitrations concerning applicability of named storm and flood limits to property/business interruption insurance claims in healthcare industry
    • Party appointed arbitrator in dispute concerning insurance coverage under product recall policy where military product rejected by military
    • Party appointed arbitrator in AAA dispute over insurance coverage for qui tam claim
    • Sole arbitrator in dispute over video gamer's claim under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)
    • Sole arbitrator in multi-million-dollar (eight figures) dispute over alleged breach of contract and demanded share buyback after termination of senior executive and equity partner in large international supply company
    • Sole arbitrator in multi-million-dollar dispute over alleged breaches of reps and warranties in the sale of business to private equity company
    • Sole arbitrator in consumer dispute with major financial service company over asserted violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    • Party appointed arbitrator in dispute over coverage under products recall insurance policy
    • Party appointed arbitrator in ICDR arbitration over performance of distribution agreement as well as claims of defamation
    • Party appointed arbitrator in insurance dispute over calculation and payment of deductibles and retrospective premiums under CGL and worker compensation insurance programs
    • Sole arbitrator on JAMS administered arbitration over Magnuson-Moss and breach of contract dispute
    • Sole arbitrator in dispute between various business entities and leading financial services company over credit card accounts
    • Sole arbitrator in consumer action against financial institution under federal Equal Opportunity Credit Act for allegedly improper account closure
    • Sole arbitrator in baseball arbitration of asbestos personal injury claim pursuant to bankruptcy trust procedures
    • Sole arbitrator in law firm collection matters
    • Arbitrator in various Cook County court-referred proceedings
    • School board hearings in student disciplinary and expulsion proceedings
  • As mediator:
    • Mediator in litigated insurance dispute over defense and indemnity coverage for CERCLA and natural resource claims involving contaminated waterway Superfund site, an industrial manufacturer and twelve insurers which issued numerous policies over a 50-year period
    • Mediation of defense and indemnity issues, including right to independent counsel and control of settlement and defense,  among multiple insurers and policyholder facing multiple suits alleging asbestos in talc products
    • Mediation concerning variety of coverage issues under cyber insurance program, including whether there was a covered event, applicability of forged instrument exclusion, definition of loss and loss measurement
    • Mediator of dispute between dental provider group and leading insurer over coverage for sexual harassment claims under EPL policy
    • Mediation of consumer class action alleging improper calculation of property values by auto insurer
    • Mediation of 12 individual claims against financial institution for alleged failure to give proper notice of account closure in accordance with the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act
    • Mediation of dispute among packaging manufacturer, recall insurer and CGL insurer over first- and third-party coverages for recall related to allegedly defective packaging
    • Mediation concerning quantum and allocation of losses under multiple product recall policies
    • Mediation of breach of contract claim regarding disputed commissions relating to investments in real estate fund
    • Mediator in reinsurance dispute between captive and reinsurers over coverage and assignment to policy years of claims related to defective road construction
    • Mediator in multi-insurer environmental coverage dispute arising from contamination from manufactured gas plant
    • Mediator in contractual dispute concerning responsibility for water damage to hotel and related insurance coverage disputes under multiple lines of first and third party coverage
    • Mediation of dispute over insurance under CGL policy sections covering property damage and personal and advertising injury as well as claims under section 155 of Illinois Insurance Code
    • Mediator in dispute concerning coverage under London Market recall policy concerning alleged loss of customers due to contamination event
    • Mediation of coverage and quantum issues relating to product contamination claim where product is asserted to have failed to meet specifications
    • Mediator in dispute over claim that policyholder was obligated to reimburse insurer for payment of settlement of substantial uninsured motorists claim
    • Mediator in dispute between school district and charter school network over contractual payment provision and rights to state aid and federal grant funds
    • Mediator in dispute between leading food company and suppliers over liability for recall of dairy product 
    • Mediator in insurance dispute over coverage for recall of romaine lettuce 
    • Mediator in insurance dispute over coverage for multiple class actions asserting defect in well-known houseware product
    • Co-mediation of BIPA consumer class action against leading retailer
    • Co-mediator of dispute between major industrial conglomerate and leading insurer over coverage for environmental and asbestos claims under multiple lines of historic insurance for acquired subsidiaries and businesses
    • Co-mediator of dispute over D&O coverage for fees and settlement in connection with regulatory investigation in foreign country
    • Numerous mediations of asbestos disputes pursuant to asbestos trust procedures 
    • Mediations of disputes concerning attorney’s fees charged in divorce proceedings
    • Mediator in numerous consumer disputes
  • As counsel: 
    • Lead counsel in London-based arbitration and successful mediation between major chemical manufacturer and Bermuda form insurer for pesticide and other exposures
    • Counsel in Ontario-based arbitration between leading restaurant company and various Bermuda and London insurers over product contamination/product recall coverages
    • Lead counsel in two-week arbitration concerning claim for reinsurance for hurricane loss and counterclaim for rescission of policy
    • Lead counsel in litigation and mediation of multiple class actions concerning alleged securities violations in connection with sale of brokered certificates of deposit by financial institutions
    • Lead counsel in mediations, Wellington arbitrations and state court litigation concerning billions of dollars of insurance coverage for hundreds of thousands of asbestos claims
    • Lead counsel in London- and U.S.-based arbitrations and mediations with multiple insurers from around the world concerning over $100 million in property and business interruption losses at major chemical manufacturing plant as a result of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina
    • Lead counsel in arbitration concerning alleged damage and right to return of waste disposal system in Arkansas
    • Successful mediation of coverage dispute concerning underlying settlement of mass tort arising from alleged chemical exposures to miners in various mines
    • Lead counsel in successful mediations of major environmental coverage disputes, involving numerous sites and hundreds of millions of dollars, among U.S. and international insurers and pipeline company, railroad and chemical manufacturer
    • Counsel in multi-party mediation resulting in “coverage-in-place” agreement among multiple insurers and bankrupt asbestos manufacturer
    • Lead counsel in successful mediation of dispute concerning insurance coverage for major property loss of leading pharmaceutical company
    • Lead counsel in arbitration and successful mediation of major property and business interruption losses among Trinidad manufacturer and insurer
    • Successful mediation of terrorism claim between London-based insurers and major U.S. airline
    • Structure and complete negotiations over $100 million technology implementation contract
    • Structure and complete negotiations over civil rights action concerning state educational funding

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and Trial Bar

Memberships and Professional Activities

  • Fellow, American College of Coverage Counsel (ACCC), 2014 - present
    • ADR Committee, 2018 - present
    • Panelist/Moderator, Arbitration Clauses and Related Issues, Annual Meeting of American College of Coverage Counsel, September 2021 
  • Certified Arbitrator and Mediator, ARIAS U.S.
  • Certified Arbitrator and Mediator, Cook County Circuit Court, Law and Chancery Divisions
  • Mediation Certifications, Northwestern University and the Center for Conflict Resolution
  • Member, Board of Directors, Center for Conflict Resolution, 2017–present
    • Secretary and Executive Committee, 2018–present
  • Senior Lecturing Fellow, Insurance Law, Duke University Law School, 2015–2019
  • Member, ABA Litigation Section, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee 
  • Member, Board of Directors, Illinois State Board of Education, 2009–2017
    • Vice Chair, 2014–2017
  • School Board Member, Evanston Township High School, 1993–2005
    •   President, 1996–1998, 2004
  • Board Member, Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services, 2003–present
    • Chairman, 2005–2007
  • Director, Metropolitan Family Services, 2002–present
    • Executive Committee, 2018-present 
  • Director, Head Start Board, Metropolitan Family Services, 2015–present

Selected Publications

  • Co-Author, "How the UK and US are dealing with COVID-19-related insurance claims," Westlaw Today and Thompson Rueters, August 2021
  • Author, "Benefits of Virtual ADR in Insurance Disputes: Ten Reasons To Consider Resolving Disputes Virtually," JAMS Blog, March 2021
  • Author, "Co-Mediation Presents Unique Opportunities for Settlement," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (CDLB), October 2020
  • Author, "Co-Mediation of Insurance Issues in Bankruptcy Cases," JAMS Blog, August 2020
  • Panelist, "Virtual Mediation  - Adapting to our New Normal," American College of Coverage Counsel Dialogue, August 2020
  • Author, "Virtual Mediations are Here to Stay," Association of Corporate Counsel Docket, May 2020
  • Author, "Benefits of ADR in the Cyber Context," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, December 2019
  • Author, "Planning for a Successful Mediation," JAMS Blog, November 2019
  • Author, “Insurance Coverage for Data Breaches and Unauthorized Privacy Disclosures,” Chapter 16, Proskauer on Privacy: A Guide to Privacy and Data Security Law in the Information Age (updated annually)
  • Various presentations to major law firms on virtual arbitration and mediation
  • Panelist, 2018 ARIAS Annual Meeting, "Expanding ARIAS-US to Policyholder and Direct Insurer Disputes: Providing the Best Arbitration and Mediation for all Insurance Disputes"
  • Co-Author/Presenter, Issues in Settling Cases Involving Insurance, JAMS CLE Day, 2018
  • Author, “Alternative Dispute Resolution: The Importance of Proactive Counseling,” Inside the Minds: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Settlement and Negotiation, 2006
  • Author, “Prior Attention to Arbitration Clauses Helps Ensure Fairness,” The Review: Worldwide Reinsurance, 1995
  • International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) Corporate Insurance Coverage Committee, CPR Mediation Principles for Insurer-Insured Disputes

Selected Awards

  • Chambers USA: Illinois: Insurance: Dispute Resolution (Star Individual), 2003–2018
  • Chambers USA: Nationwide: Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder, 2016–2018
  • Chambers USA: Illinois: Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Reinsurance, 2006–2014
  • Expert Guide to Leading U.S. Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers, Euromoney Legal Media Group, Euromoney’s Insurance and Reinsurance Expert Guide, 2002–2018
  • Best Lawyers in America, in the practice area of Insurance Law, 2006–2022
  • The Legal 500, United States Hall of Fame
  • Burton Award for Legal Achievement (Distinguished Writing Award in Law), 2012
  • Partner, Proskauer, 2008–2018
    • Chicago Office Head, 2008–2012
    • Co-Head, Insurance Practice, 2008–2017
  • Partner, Mayer Brown, 1988–2008
  • Associate and Partner, Isham, Lincoln & Beale, 1978–1988
  • J.D., Duke University, 1978 (Order of the Coif)
    • Administrative Law Editor and Editorial Board Member, Duke University Law Journal
  • M.A., Public Policy, Duke University, 1978
  • A.B., summa cum laude, Dartmouth College, 1974

Counsel Comments

    • "The person to go to when you have a large conceptual problem to get around."
      - Chambers USA
    • "Remarkable ability to focus on the points that really matter."
      - Chambers USA
    • "I want to thank you for your assistance in getting this resolved.  You were dealing with tough issues and complicated business relationships and managed to navigate those waters amazingly."
    • "We cannot thank you enough for your hard work helping get the parties across the finish line."



Practice Areas

  • Appellate
  • Arbitration
  • Business & Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Cybersecurity & Privacy
  • Education Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Federal Law
  • Insurance
  • International & Cross-Border
  • Personal Injury/Torts


Available nationwide


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