Stuart Palmer

Hon. Stuart E. Palmer (Ret.)

JAMS Arbitrator, Mediator, Neutral Evaluator, Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Sandra Dicken
T: 312-655-9191
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606


Hon. Stuart E. Palmer (Ret.) joins JAMS after a highly regarded 22 year career as a Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court and Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Throughout his judicial career, Justice Palmer presided over the trials and settlement of many of the most complex matters that came before the courts, including thousands of civil and criminal matters at all stages of litigation. As a chancery judge and an appellate justice, Palmer received consistent high praise for his handling of a wide variety of complex commercial disputes.
Throughout his career on the bench, Justice Palmer has been a proponent of pretrial settlement as well as arbitration in order to avoid the expense, delay and uncertainty of protracted litigation.

His class action experience includes the following areas/matters:

Representative Matters

  • Presided over numerous class actions including litigating discovery disputes, class certification, class decertification, appointment of class counsel and a steering committee
  • Motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, as well as settlement discussions, approving class settlements, and resolving objections to class settlements by class members, including:
    • an action against a major auto manufacturer
    • an action against a major drug manufacturer (consolidated from several circuits in Illinois and brought before Justice Palmer)
    • an action against the city of Chicago
    • an action against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
    • an action against Illinois Bell/SBC
    • an action against a local sanitary district
    • an action against a nationwide fitness facility company (consolidated from other circuits and the federal system for the purpose of mediation before Justice Palmer at counsel's request and with the consent of the other state and federal judges)
    • cases brought pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)


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

  • Member, Character and Fitness Committee, Illinois Board of Bar Admissions
  • Member of the Board, Illinois Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board
  • Member, Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Commission
  • Certificate of Completion, Advanced Arbitration Academy, University of Southern California-JAMS Arbitration Institute, August 2016
  • Certificate of Recognition by the Illinois Supreme Court for excellence in the delivery of judicial education programs
  • Recipient, Seymour Simon Justice Award, Jewish Judges Association of Illinois
  • Certificate of Appreciation, DePaul College of Law for contributions to the Lawyering Skills Program
  • Diploma of Judicial Skills, American Academy of Judicial Education
  • Member, Illinois Supreme Court:
    • Special Committee on Evidence
    • Committee on Education
    • Committee on Legislation
    • Special Committee on Courthouse and Judicial Security
    • Special Committee on Capital Cases
  • Member, Illinois Judicial Conference
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Fellow and lecturer, ASTAR (Advanced Scientific and Technological Adjudication Resource Project), National Science and Technology Resource Judges Program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Frequent Judge for the Annual National Trial Competition and the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition, ABA Criminal Justice Section
  • Member/Past Board member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Board member, Jewish Judges Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, Decalogue Society of Lawyers
  • Member, Chicago Inn of Court
  • Member, American College of Business Court Judges
  • Frequent faculty member, Illinois Judicial Conference seminars for judges, the biannual Education Conference, and the New Judge Seminar
  • Frequent lecturer at Chicago Bar Association, Decalogue Society and local law firm CLE presentations
  • Frequent Guest Lecturer, local area high school classes
  • Adjunct Lecturer, DePaul College of Law
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Chicago School of Law
  • Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Chair and Editor, Illinois Judicial Benchbook on Criminal Law
  • Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 2012-2016
  • Assigned to the Appellate Court by order of the Illinois Supreme Court
  • Presiding Justice, 5th Division, September 2014-September 2015
  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, 1994-2012
    • Chancery Division, 2005-2012
    • Criminal Division, 1994-2005
    • First Municipal District, 1994
  • Law Offices of Stuart E. Palmer, January 1993-January 1994
  • Hearing Officer, Illinois State Police Merit Board, October 1988-January 1994
  • Partner, Kanter & Mattenson, Ltd., April 1988-January 1993
  • Partner, Kulwin & Palmer, April 1987-April 1988
  • Assistant State's Attorney, Cook County State's Attorney's Office, November 1979-April 1987
  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 1979
  • B.A., cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1976

Counsel Comments

    • "Thank you, Judge, for sticking with all of us through the long day. We are appreciative of your involvement and guidance. Very nice to have now met and worked with you. All the best until next time."
    • "It was a pleasure working with you and, suffice to say, we would not have been able to resolve this without you."
    • “I mediate cases across the country. You and [JAMS colleague] rank as the finest mediators I've encountered. Thank you again for your excellent work yesterday. I look forward to working with you again.”
    • “It was a real pleasure, thank you for your excellent help. I am sure we will cross paths again, I have spent much time over the years with some of your other colleagues at JAMS, great to now have worked with you as well.  I hope all of you stay well and continue with ZOOM meetings, it worked great.”
    • "I just completed a mediation before Judge Palmer. It was a vigorously contested commercial fraud case with at least one party emotionally invested in the case and the parties miles apart in settlement proposals. Not only did Judge Palmer conduct a successful mediation, he did so without pressuring or squeezing the parties. His calm, but persistent approach, focusing on the merits of each side’s case was perfect in defusing the rancor and getting the parties to come to an agreement. I highly recommend Judge Palmer as a mediator."
    • “I wanted to say thank you again for all of your work on the case. Wednesday’s result was great for the class, and I know that wouldn’t have been possible without you. So, thank you!”
    • “Thank you, Judge Palmer, for your assistance along the way – very much appreciated.”
    • “My view: you did an excellent job. I do not doubt that is the view of all the parties and counsel involved.”
    • “Make this the second time this week you have caused all of the parties and their lawyers to agree on something, Judge Palmer.  Your hard work, wisdom, and guidance were invaluable.  Thank you.”
    • “We appreciate your skillful assistance in getting this dispute resolved at such a preliminary stage.”
    • "Justice Palmer is highly regarded for his knowledge of civil and criminal law, judicial experience, work ethic, and excellent judicial demeanor"
      -Chicago Bar Association, Retention evaluation, 2012
    • He is praised for being especially hard-working and diligent
      -Evaluation for the Appellate Court, Chicago Council of Lawyers, 2009



Practice Areas


Available nationwide


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