Submit a Case Submit Case Find a Neutral Search Neutral
John Griffin

Hon. John C. Griffin (Ret.)

Case Manager
Lauren Smith
T: 314-334-5267
F: 314-944-5054
71 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606

John C. Griffin 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.


Hon. John C. Griffin (Ret.) joins JAMS in Chicago after over a decade of service to the Illinois judiciary. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Griffin was in private practice for over 30 years, with a wide-ranging litigation practice that allowed him to argue before the chancery, law, probate, county and municipal divisions in the Circuit Court of Cook County and the surrounding collar counties. He also practiced in federal district court and bankruptcy court. As an attorney, he did appellate work in the state court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

In addition, Judge Griffin’s practice included extensive transactional experience, particularly in the construction field, where he represented numerous builders and developers in zoning, developments and related corporate matters. He negotiated and prepared annexation and development agreements with municipalities. He prepared documents for hundreds of condominium, townhouse and single-family home developments.

Judge Griffin is passionate about ADR, believing party autonomy leads to the best outcomes. He uses his keen facilitation skills in many volunteer capacities for the betterment of Chicago communities, including long-standing service and leading roles at Chicago Gaelic Park, Moraine Valley Community College and other area educational institutions.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Supervised the Commercial Section of the Cook County Circuit Court Law Division during implementation of the Illinois Supreme Court’s mandatory arbitration program; preparation of the Commercial Section bench book
  • Served terms as settlement judge and presiding judge on the Illinois Appellate Court
  • Chair-Qualified arbitrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Mandatory Arbitration Program
  • Successfully resolved many matters during pre-trial at the request of parties in the Commercial Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Presented settlement strategies and techniques to Illinois judges at two state-wide judicial education conferences (2016 and 2018)

Representative Matters

  • Adjudicated or resolved during pre-trial thousands of mortgage foreclosure actions in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Chancery Division during the 2008 Great Recession
  • Successfully mediated a multi-party, complex asbestosis class action involving approximately 800 plaintiffs
  • Facilitated lengthy labor negotiations for Moraine Valley Community College
  • Adjudicated $27-million construction defect claim involving renovated interiors to Terminals 2 and 3 at O’Hare International Airport
  • Adjudicated mechanic’s lien claim in excess of $1 million involving mansion complex in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood after a six-week trial
  • Member, Committee on Judicial Education, Supreme Court of Illinois, 2009–2020
    • Presenter, Settlement Strategies and Techniques: Bench Trial Nuts and Bolts, Judicial Education Conference, 2018
    • Presenter, Settlement Strategies and Techniques, Judicial Education Conference, 2016
  • Board Member, South Suburban Housing Center, 2008–2010
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association, 1977–present
  • Member, Southwest Bar Association, 1982–present
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association, 1978–present
    • Member, Committee on Evaluation of Candidates, Investigation and Hearing Division, 1981–1992
  • Board Member, Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, 1990-2015
    • Director, 1990–present
    • Treasurer, 1990–2015
  • Board Member, Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago, 1986-2021
    • Director, 1986–present
    • President, 2018
  • Board Member, Chicago Gaelic Park Inc., 1986-2013
    • Director, 1986–2013
    • President, 1991–2011
  • Member, Advisory Council, School for Continuing and Professional Studies, St. Xavier University, 2007–2010
  • Certificate of Completion, 40-Hour Mediation/Arbitration Training, Illinois State Bar Association, 2014
  • Certificate of Completion, Advanced Workshop for Improved Negotiations Skills: Sophisticated Strategies for In-Person and Virtual Mediation, Chicago Bar Association, 2020

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Illinois, 1976
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1976
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1977
  • United Sates Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 1980
  • Supreme Court of the United States of America, 1980
  • Trial Bar, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1983

Elected Office

  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 2010
    • Trustee, Moraine Valley Community College, 1986 - 1991
    • Chairman, Board of Trustees, 1988–1991
    • Chairman, Finance Committee, 1987–1988
    • Chairman, Building Committee, 1986–1988

Selected Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, The Ethics of Conflicts of Interest Webinar, Clifford Law Offices, 2015
  • Presenter, Symposium With the Judges, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Annual Symposium, 2014–2016
  • Profile, “How Judge Griffin Breaks an Impasse,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Sept. 28, 2016
  • Frequent speaker at Chicagoland primary and secondary schools, including the “Courtroom in the Classroom” series and “Page It Forward,” developed by and given on behalf of the Illinois Judges Association
  • Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District, First Division, 2018–2020
  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook Court, 2008–2018
    • Judge, Law Division, Commercial Calendar, 2011–2018
      • Supervising Judge, 2013–2018
    • Judge, Chancery Division, Mortgage Foreclosure/Mechanic’s Lien Section, 2008–2011
    • Appointed Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 2008
  • Partner, Griffin & Gallagher, 1977–2008
  • Chair-Qualified Arbitrator, Mandatory Arbitration Program, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1990–1996
  • Part-Time Law Clerk to the Honorable Leo F. Poch, Court of Claims, State of Illinois, 1980–1992
  • Part-Time Hearing Officer, Illinois Secretary of State, 1978–1980
  • Of Counsel, Walter M. Ketchum Ltd., 1977–1986
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable John F. Hechinger, Chancery Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1976–1977
  • J.D., cum laude, DePaul University College of Law, 1976
  • B.B.A., with honors, Business Administration, University of Notre Dame, 1973

Counsel Comments

    • “Griffin is an exceptional judge in a division of outstanding commercial judges, and he has a great track record of getting cases resolved.”

      - “How Judge Griffin Breaks an Impasse,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Sept. 28, 2016


    • “Justice Griffin is hardworking and well regarded for his knowledge of the law, broad experience, and excellent legal ability.”

      - Evaluation for the Appellate Court, Chicago Bar Association, July 2019



Practice Areas

  • Appellate
  • Arbitration
  • Business & Commercial
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Construction Defect
  • Employment Law
  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee


Available nationwide


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