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


During a distinguished, 23-year judicial career and later as a JAMS neutral, Judge Rakowski has presided over hundreds of appeals and conducted countless bench and jury trials, pre-trial conferences, arbitrations, and mediations in nearly all areas of Illinois practice. Judge Rakowski understands both sides of a dispute and studies, listens, carefully analyzes, and assists parties and counsel to reach innovative and sensible results.

Representative Matters

  • High Rise Structures: Mediated an emotional matter involving a high-end condominium and water infiltration resulting in extensive property damage and mold infestation along with insurance coverage and allocation issues
  • Manufacturing Facilities: Mediated a matter involving a manufacturing plant, alleged design defect, and the efficacy of a water purification system for non-potable water needed in the manufacturing process
  • Public Buildings: Mediated a matter involving a community college and a state agency regarding defective roof and mold infestation
  • Storage Facilities: Mediated a matter with multi-million dollars at issue involving a major food purveyor, food storage, an ammonia leak, reliance on material information, and insurance coverage
  • Underground Tunnels: Authored all Appellate Court Opinions involving damage claims, including issues of tort immunity and economic loss, that ensued after a construction accident provoked the Great Chicago Flood
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


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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