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Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski

Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski (Ret.)

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General Biography
Practice Areas
Class Action/Mass Tort
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Personal Injury/Torts
Professional Liability
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski (Ret.) brings over 40 years of experience to his JAMS practice, including 23 years as a Judge at both the trial and appellate levels.  Since joining JAMS in 2000, Judge Rakowski has mediated or arbitrated hundreds of matters in all areas of Illinois practice.

He understands both sides of a dispute and is prepared to listen, carefully analyze, and assist parties and counsel to reach innovative and sensible solutions.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Extensive experience in arbitration and mediation of nation-wide class actions
  • Arbitrates and successfully mediates a wide array of complex business/commercial disputes
  • Particularly adept at mediating contentious disputes

Representative Matters

  • Nationwide class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), involving auto-dialing, “cramming,” junk faxes, unauthorized cell phone calls and unsolicited texts
  • Extensive experience in class actions on the bench:
    • Sampson v. Kodak, a worldwide class action by owners of Kodak cameras, one of the largest class actions in Illinois history
    • Chicago Flood Litigation, authored all Appellate Court opinions involving damage claims resulting from the great Chicago flood
    • In re: Audi, Presided over nationwide products liability class against manufacturer of Audi autos
  • Business/commercial claims of all kinds, including:
    • Construction and public infrastructure disputes
    • Intellectual property
    • Premises liability, including municipal premises
    • Professional malpractice
    • Commercial real estate
    • Securities actions and shareholder/officer disputes
  • Employment/executive terminations, including non-compete agreements
  • Insurance coverage, including environmental insurance coverage and related bad faith claims
  • Claims of personal injury and wrongful death

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

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

  • Illinois Courts Commission, 1998-2000; appointed by Appellate Court colleagues to serve on panel which adjudicates complaints alleging misconduct against Illinois judges
  • Alternate Member, Illinois Courts Commission, 1994-1998
  • Executive Committee, Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 1998-2000
  • Chairman, Executive Committee, First District Appellate Court, 1993
  • Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education, 1992-1993
  • Chairman, Illinois Appellate Court, Statewide, 1993
  • Appointed by peers in a statewide survey to be among the top lawyers in Illinois, at Leading Lawyers Network as a leading lawyer in "ADR: Commercial Litigation" and "ADR: Commercial Real Estate, Environmental and Construction Law"
  • Frequent lecturer for Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education, law schools and government agencies on topics including civil procedure, motion practice, pre-trial discovery, contract law, chancery proceedings, Tort Immunity Act, appellate practice, and workers' compensation

Background and Education

  • Justice, Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, 1989-2000
  • Justice, Appellate Court of Illinois, Industrial Commission Division, 1991-2000 (In addition to his First District responsibilities, Justice Rakowski was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as First District representative to a five member panel hearing all Illinois Worker’s Compensation appeals.)
  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1980-1989 (Chancery Division, 1987-1989; Law Division, Motion Section, 1984-1987)
  • Associate Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1977-1980
  • Private practice of law, Sole Practitioner and Partner in local law firm, 1971-1977
  • Assistant State's Attorney of Cook County, 1970-1971
  • J.D., The John Marshall Law School, Chicago; staff member of the John Marshall Journal of Practice and Procedure (currently the John Marshall Law Review)
  • B.S., Finance/Economics Major, De Paul University, Chicago


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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