Thomas Rakowski

Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski (Ret.)

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

Case Manager
Deborah Stewart
T: 312-655-9192
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606


Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski (Ret.) brings over 40 years of experience to his JAMS practice, including 23 years as a 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.  Judge Rakowski manages the arbitration process fairly and efficiently, keeping parties and their counsel focused on the issues at hand.

The Judge’s long arbitration experience includes:

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
  • Business/commercial claims of all kinds, including:
    • Construction and public infrastructure disputes, including claims involving delay, lost profits, procurement and scheduling 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 and violations of the overtime and minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Insurance coverage, including environmental insurance coverage and related bad faith claims
  • Claims of personal injury and wrongful death
  • Breach of contract and interest accruing pursuant to municipal government Prompt Payment Act
  • 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
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
  • 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



Practice Areas


Available nationwide


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