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Hon. Mary Anne Mason

Hon. Mary Anne Mason (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

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

Representative Matters

  • Appellate
      • Chaired panel of three appellate neutrals evaluating claims for damages in excess of $100 million in dispute brought by technology software developer
      • Chaired, under JAMS Optional Arbitration Appeals Procedures, three-person appeal panels considering appeals from arbitrator awards
      • During her tenure on the Illinois Appellate Court, authored hundreds of decisions addressing issues across the spectrum of civil and criminal law and participated in dozens of other decisions by special concurrence or dissent
  • Business Commercial
      • Chaired tripartite panel in dispute involving multiple breach of fiduciary duty claims and counterclaims pertaining to a limited liability company
      • Arbitrated claim by franchisor for franchisees’ breach of multiple franchise and guarantee agreements
      • Mediated trust dispute among family members and financial institution regarding stock in closely held corporation
      • Mediated dispute between institution of higher learning and former President involving claims of breach of contract and violation of constitutional rights
      • Mediated dispute between hotel owner and hotel management company regarding alleged mutual defaults under management agreement
      • Chaired tripartite panel in dispute involving claims of breach of contract and fraud arising from acquisition of software development company
      • Mediated breach of contract dispute relating to financing for cryptocurrency ATMs
      • Mediated dispute between medical device developer and fabricator regarding faulty packaging
      • Arbitrated claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and elder abuse arising out of personal services agreement
      • Arbitrated multiple consumer cases against banks and credit card companies
      • Conducted multi-day mediation between Japanese company and U.S. distributor relating to component parts for automobiles
      • Both as a lawyer and jurist, has extensive experience in all areas of business and commercial law, including corporate governance, directors’ & officers’ liability, partnership and LLC dissolutions and disputes, breach of contract claims, fraud, mechanics liens and franchise & distributorship disputes
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Mediated multiple class actions under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act
      • As a lawyer and on the bench, handled numerous class actions in the areas of insurance, securities fraud, products liability, consumer fraud, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims. As a lawyer arbitrated dozens of underinsured motorist insurance claims as part of the administration of a class action settlement
  • Employment Law
      • Arbitrated multiple employment matters, including commission, bonus, and IWPCA claims
      • Arbitrated claims by major insurance broker against departing agents involving issues regarding the enforceability of non-competes
      • Mediated race discrimination claim by senior employee of nationwide organization
      • Mediated sex discrimination claim by former employee at law firm
      • While on the bench, presided over numerous cases involving restrictive covenants in employment agreements, claims of employment discrimination, and cases involving discipline or termination of public and private employees
  • Insurance
      • Served as public hearing Officer for Illinois Department of Insurance regarding first-in-the-country restructuring of major insurance company’s legacy book of business
      • Mediated coverage dispute between nursing home operator, multiple insurance carriers, and insurance broker
      • Mediated construction defect claim by condominium association against general and subcontractors and their insurance carriers
      • Mediated insurance coverage dispute between corporate officers and carrier relating to claims of former shareholder
      • Mediated claim by homeowner against general contractor, remediation company, and their insurers arising out of extensive damage to residence
      • As a judge, presided over complex insurance matters involving interpretation of insurance contracts in the context of construction site injuries, environmental claims, coverage for asbestos and other hazardous materials, real property disputes, and automobile accidents; authored one of the first opinions in Illinois to address insurance coverage for BIPA claims
  • Professional Liability
      • Arbitrated attorney malpractice claim arising from trust documents relating to private art collection valued at over $125 million
      • Arbitrated claim by discharged law firm for breach of retainer agreement by former client and client counterclaims of unethical conduct
      • On the bench, presided over cases asserting professional liability claims against attorneys, physicians, accountants, engineers, title search companies, and securities ratings agencies
  • Real Property
      • Mediated multiple matters involving disputes under the Illinois Condominium Act between associations and unit owners
      • Extensive judicial experience in matters relating to ownership of leasehold interests in real property, including eminent domain matters, zoning, easement disputes, and commercial lease disputes
  • Securities
      • In private practice and on the bench, had broad experience in the cases involving claims of securities fraud and shareholder derivative claims
      • Represented the CFO of a Fortune 500 Company in SEC investigation

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

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

  • 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
      • Member, Emeritus Council, 2022-2023
    • 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, 2012–2021
      • Secretary, 2018–2021
      • 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, “Negotiation/Mediation Workstream for Litigators,” September 2022, JPMorgan Chase
  • Moderator/Panelist, “Employment Mediations”, June 2022, JAMS CLE Week
  • 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

Background and Education

  • 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
  • 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


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

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