Hon. Mary Anne Mason (Ret.) has had a career spanning more than 40 years, including nearly 19 years on the bench in Cook County (Illinois). From July 2013 to her retirement, the Illinois Supreme Court assigned Justice Mason to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, where she twice served as presiding Justice. She also served on the First District Settlement Committee and mediated cases on appeal by agreement of the litigants.
Justice Mason’s 13-year tenure on the circuit court included nine years in the Chancery Division, where she handled hundreds of matters in the substantive areas of class actions, commercial and business dissolution disputes, complex insurance declaratory matters, restrictive covenants and other employment-related matters, shareholder derivative and shareholder rights litigation, trust agreements, zoning matters, environmental disputes and many others.
Prior to taking the bench, Justice Mason spent 21 years in public and private practice handling, among other types of cases, complex commercial matters, class actions, shareholder derivative and securities litigation, insurance declaratory actions, Federal Tort Claims Act cases and contract claims against the federal government. In private practice and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, she argued numerous appeals in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, and she is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.
Justice Mason has long recognized the toll protracted litigation exacts in terms of lost time and productivity, expense and uncertainty, as well as the emotional investment litigation often entails. Both as a lawyer and as a Justice, she has been committed to all forms of alternative dispute resolution.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- Served on the Illinois Appellate Court, First District Settlement Committee and mediated cases on appeal by agreement of the parties
- Chaired the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division Mediation Committee, which drafted and obtained implementation of new circuit court rules for mediating chancery matters
- Chaired the Illinois Supreme Court Discovery Rules Committee
Justice Mason has substantial litigation, judicial and settlement experience in the following areas:
- Appellate: During her tenure on the appellate court, Justice Mason authored hundreds of decisions addressing issues across the spectrum of civil and criminal law and has participated in dozens of other decisions by special concurrence or dissent.
- Business/Commercial: Justice Mason has extensive experience in all areas of business and commercial law, including corporate governance, directors and officers liability, partnership and LLC disputes and dissolutions, breach of contract claims, fraud, mechanics liens and franchise and distributorship disputes.
- Class Actions: As a lawyer and on the bench, Justice Mason handled numerous class actions in the areas of insurance, securities fraud, products liability, consumer fraud, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims and many others. As a lawyer, she arbitrated dozens of underinsured motorist insurance claims as part of the administration of a $6-million class action settlement.
- Employment: Justice Mason has presided over numerous cases involving restrictive covenants in employment agreements and has lectured to hundreds of Justices and lawyers on the topic; she has extensive experience in matters relating to employment discrimination and discipline or termination of both private and public employees, including judicial review of those decisions.
- Insurance: Justice Mason has presided over complex insurance matters involving the interpretation of insurance contracts in the areas of construction site injuries, environmental claims, coverage for asbestos and other hazardous materials, real property title disputes and automobile accidents; she authored one of the first opinions in Illinois to address insurance coverage for Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) claims.
- Professional Liability: Justice Mason has presided over cases asserting professional liability claims in a variety of contexts, including attorneys, physicians, accountants, engineers, title search companies and securities ratings agencies.
- Real Property: Justice Mason has extensive experience in matters relating to the ownership of or leasehold interests in real property, including eminent domain matters, zoning, easement disputes, homeowners and condominium association issues, and commercial lease disputes.
- Securities: Justice Mason, as a lawyer and while on the bench, has broad experience in the areas of securities fraud, SEC investigations and shareholder derivative claims.
- Profile, “After 19 years, Justice Mason retiring from bench,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, July 18, 2019
- Co-Chair, Joint Chicago Bar Association-Chicago Bar Foundation Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law and Innovation, 2019-2020
- Honorary Fellow, Illinois Bar Foundation, 2017
- Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, 2000–present
- Member, Appellate Court Conference Committee, 2014–2019
- Faculty/Lecturer, Appellate Court Conference, 2014–2019
- Member, Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Conference, 2003–2009
- Committee on Discovery Procedures
- Chair 2006–2010
- Member, 2001–2010
- Faculty/Lecturer, Illinois Judicial Education Conference, 2006–2018
- Adjunct Professor, Advanced Legal Writing, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 2009–2010
- Member in Good Standing:
- Illinois Judges Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- Secretary, 1995–1997
- Member, Board of Managers, 1993–1995
- Chair, Class Litigation Committee, 1992–1993
- Chicago Bar Foundation
- Member, Board of Directors, 2012–present
- Secretary, 2018–present
- Co-Chair, Circuit Court of Cook County Pro Se Advisory Committee, 2013–2016
- Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
- Member, Advisory Council, Women’s Bar Foundation, 2016–present
- Past Member:
- Federal Bar Association, Board of Directors, 1990–1993
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Volunteer Moot Court Judge:
- Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, 2014–present
- National Trial Competition, Regional Finals, 2014
- Annual Citywide High School Mock Trial Competition, 2004, 2006, 2008
- Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2006, 2008, 2011
- Notre Dame University, Trial Practice Program, 2006
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Appellate Moot Court Competition, 2005
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Panelist, ADR in the 'Next Normal:' Tips and Techniques to Succeed with Virtual ADR, Nixon Peabody, August 2020
- Speaker, Reimagining Law: Panel Discussion on Regulatory Reform, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, August 2020
- Moderator, Insurance Roundtable Discussion, JAMS, August 2020
- Panelist, What You Don’t Know Might Cost You: How To Be A Few Steps Ahead When Negotiating And Mediating Disputes, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, March 2020
- Moderator, Trending Issues in the Appellate Court, Annual Appellate Court Conference, 2016–2019
- Second Biennial Appellate Practice Seminar, Illinois State Bar Association, 2018
- Panel Member, Crafting Effective Arguments on Appeal
- Presenter, The Appellant’s Burden, Presumptions and the Standard of Review in Appellate Decision-Making
- Presenter, Biannual Judicial Education Conference:
- Common Issues in Civil and Criminal Cases, Feb. and April 2018
- Please Release Me: Analyzing the Enforceability of Restrictive Covenants in Employment Agreements, Feb. and April 2016, Feb. and April 2014
- You Had Me at “Hello”: Judicial Disclosure, SOJs and Recusal Considerations, Feb. and April 2012
- Reading the Fine Print: Insurance Declaratory Judgment Actions, Feb. and April 2010
- Presenter, Best Practices for Administrative Law Judges, Annual Administrative Law Judge Conference, 2013, 2016
- Presenter, Remedies, Chicago Bar Association Commercial Litigation Committee Seminar, 2011
- Panel Participant, E-Dialogue with Judges, Corporate E-Discovery Forum, 2009
- Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 2013–2019
- Assigned to the Appellate Court by order of the Illinois Supreme Court, 2013–2019
- Presiding Justice, Second Division, 2018–2019
- Presiding Justice, Third Division, 2015–2016
- Member, First District Executive Committee, 2017–2018
- Member, First District Settlement Committee, 2014–2015
- Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 2000–2013
- Chancery Division, 2004–2013
- Chair, Chancery Division Mediation Committee, 2006–2013
- Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Department, Juvenile Justice Division, 2001–2004
- Selected as one of two courtrooms to pilot program for female minors utilizing all female probation officers
- First Municipal District, Traffic Section, 2000
- Chancery Division, 2004–2013
- Forde Law Offices, LLP (formerly Kevin M. Forde, Ltd.), 1985–2000
- Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, 1979–1985
- Judicial Law Clerk, Chambers of Justice Daniel J. McNamara, Illinois Appellate Court, 1977–1979
- J.D., Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 1977
- Lead Articles Editor, Loyola University Chicago School of Law Journal, 1976–1977
- Author, “Miranda Warnings Do Not Per Se Attenuate the Taint of an Illegal Arrest,” 7 Loy. U. Law J. 227 (1976)
- Leadership and Service Award, 1977
- Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Foundation Scholarship, 1977
- Loyola University School of Law Scholarship, 1976
- B.A., magna cum laude, English and Philosophy, Boston College, 1974
- Thank you for your follow up. [The matter did settle after the mediation session.] Your contribution as a mediator was a catalyst to a…swift resolution. And I was impressed by your strong preparation and your approach to the mediation.
- Thank you again, Judge for your assistance [during our mediation session]. It was invaluable.
- Judge, thank you so much for your invaluable help.
- Thanks so much for your amazing work.
- A sincere thank you for your efforts today. [My clients] said you were even more impressive than my descriptions of you, which were effusive. This means a lot to them.
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