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Sidney Schenkier

Hon. Sidney I. Schenkier (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

Case Manager
Kayleigh Evans
T: 312-705-9317
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606

Sidney I. Schenkier is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Hon. Sidney I. Schenkier (Ret.) joins JAMS following over 20 years of distinguished service as a United States magistrate judge for the Northern District of Illinois, including two terms as presiding magistrate judge. During his time on the bench, Judge Schenkier presided over approximately 40 jury trials, bench trials and preliminary injunction hearings, which included cases raising patent and trademark claims, employment law claims, constitutional claims, medical malpractice and other personal injury claims, trade secrets claims and other business disputes.

In addition, Judge Schenkier has mediated more than 2,000 cases involving a broad array of federal and state law claims, including major class action and multidistrict litigation cases. He works tirelessly with parties to identify an approach that will work for their matters. Judge Schenkier is known for his commitment to the process, believing that few litigated outcomes are superior to what parties can achieve by jointly taking control of the resolution of their dispute.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Judge Schenkier has substantial experience adjudicating and mediating in the following areas:

  • Business/Commercial
  • Constitutional law
  • Employment, including FLSA and FMLA
  • Trade secrets
  • Intellectual property
  • Consumer law
  • ERISA and disability insurance
  • Medical malpractice and personal injury
  • Property loss
  • Commodities and securities law
  • False Claims Act
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Defamation

Representative Matters

Illustrative jury trials, bench trials and preliminary injunction hearings:

  • Allen v. City of Chicago: Bench trial of FLSA collective action involving claims for overtime for BlackBerry usage while not on duty; ruling after bench trial affirmed on appeal (10 C 3183); verdict affirmed on appeal
  • Valdivia v. Township H.S. Dist. 214 (16 C 10333): Single-plaintiff FLSA case trial to a jury; verdict affirmed on appeal
  • Uptown Tent City Org. v. City of Chicago (17 C 4518): Preliminary injunction hearing and ruling on constitutional challenge of efforts to relocate homeless who had set up tent encampments under viaducts on Lake Shore Drive
  • Aguirre v. Turner Constr. (05 C 515): Personal injury case (construction site accident) tried to a jury; verdict affirmed on appeal
  • Gicla v. United States (03 C 7246): Bench trial of medical malpractice case; ruling affirmed after bench trial on appeal
  • Shanklin Corp. v. American Packaging Machinery, Inc. (95 C 1617): Bench trial on patent infringement case
  • Chemetall GmbH v. ZR Energy, Inc. (99 C 4334): Trade secret and contract case tried to a jury
  • Planet Hollywood v. Hollywood Casino (96 C 4660): Trademark/trade dress bench trial; decision reported at 80 F.Supp.2d 815 (N.D. Ill. 1999); settled on appeal

In addition, Judge Schenkier mediated over 2,000 matters during his time on the bench. Illustrative settlements include the following:

  • Dunn v. City of Chicago (04 C 6804): Constitutional challenge to police practices involving three classes totaling several hundred thousand members that settled after 50 separate mediation sessions over three years
  • Globefill, Inc. v. Stoller Imports, Inc. (19 C 4593): Trademark case
  • McDade v. YRC Worldwide Inc. (14 C 1500): Nine-plaintiff Title VII racial harassment case, post trial
  • Pawlik v. Cochlear (17 C 7260): Personal injury/defective product case
  • Arch v. Roy Strom (15 C 8076): Ten-party dispute involving an admiralty claim, a state court property damage claim and a federal court declaratory judgment action
  • Strong v. Tressman (16 C 4885): Wrongful conviction case
  • Virgin Enterprises v. Jai Mundi (17 C 2715): Trademark case and enforcement of settlement
  • de David v. Araron Trading (10 C3502): Commodities fraud case
  • Duffer v. United Airlines (13 C 3756): Class action settlement of USERRA case arising out of United Airlines/Continental Airlines merger
  • ACT, Inc. v. Cambridge Educ. Services, Inc. (14 C 3882): Contract, trademark and antitrust case
  • In re Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC (11 C 9308): Multidistrict patent litigation involving settlements reached with multiple parties over a three-year period
  • Sloan Valve Co. v. Zurn Indus. Inc. (10 C 204): Patent case settlement after multiple sessions over several years
  • Lands’ End, Inc. v. Eddie Bauer LLC (10 C 5084): Trade secret case
  • Shaw Suburban Media v. Thomas (07 C 3289): Defamation and Section 1983 case involving Illinois Supreme Court justice
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Distinguished Judicial Service Award, Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, 2019
  • Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University School of Law
    • Clinical Trial Advocacy, 1988–2017
    • Civil Discovery, 2006–present
  • Instructor, Trial and Deposition, National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Member, Federal Magistrate Judges Association, 2003–present
    • Circuit Representative for the Seventh Circuit, 2003–2009
    • Member (Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, President Elect, President and Immediate Past President), Executive Committee, 2009–2015
    • Recipient, Founders Award, 2016
  • Member, Magistrate Judge Committee, Judicial Conference of the United States (Appointed in 2015 by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts)

Selected Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • Reflections on 21 Years Behind the Bench: An Interview with Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier, Litigation Journal, American Bar Association, May 13, 2020
  • Worked Up: United States Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier (Akerman Employment Law Podcast), September 4, 2019
  • Judicial Profile, Hon. Sidney I. Schenkier, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Northern District of Illinois, The Federal Lawyer, May/June 2014
  • Judge Schenkier is a sought-after speaker on discovery, including e-discovery and electronically stored information and settlement. Representative presentations include the following:
  • Federal Bar Association Employment Law Program, 2020
  • ACI Paragraph IV Disputes Conferences, 2015, 2018 and 2019
  • Pincus Federal Court Boot Camp, 2018 and 2019
  • Sandpiper Partners/United Lex Innovations in E-Discovery, 2016, 2018 and 2019
  • Federal Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Mediation Panel, 2018
  • Intellectual Property Lawyers Association of Chicago, Best Practices Panel, 2018
  • Linn Inn of Courts Program, “Judicial Perspectives on Settlement Conferences,” 2018
  • PLI Patent Litigation 2017, “Advances Techniques and Best Practices,” 2017
  • Illinois State Bar Association Settlement Seminar, 2017
  • Linn Inn of Court Panel on Mediation, 2017
  • ABA National Session on E-Discovery, Judges Panel, 2016
  • Illinois State Bar Association Panel, “ADR Options in Illinois Federal Court,” 2016
  • National E-Discovery Leadership Institute Program, 2015
  • ABA Annual Conference, “How Judges Approach E-discovery Dispute and View Proposed Changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” 2015
  • Federal Bar Association, Employment Law Chapter, “Litigating Noncompetes in Federal Versus State Courts,” 2015
  • Illinois State Bar Association, “Settlement in Federal Court Cases,” 2015


  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Illinois State Bar
  • Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1998–2020
    • Presiding Magistrate Judge, 2008–2012
    • Member ex officio, District Court Executive Committee, 2008–2012
    • Member, District Court Rules Committee, 1999–2020
    • Member, James B. Moran Second Chance Program, 2010–2020
  • Partner, Litigation, Jenner & Block, 1981–1998
  • Bigelow Teaching Fellow, University of Chicago, 1980
  • Law Clerk, Chambers of U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1979
  • J.D., magna cum laude, Northwestern University, 1979
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.S., Journalism, with distinction, Northwestern University, 1976

Counsel Comments

    • "Thank you again for getting us [to resolution], and for checking in throughout. You bring wisdom, class, heart and humor to every settlement conference. It was a pleasure to have you participate in this case and we look forward to working with you again."
    • "Thank you for your great skill and tireless effort to help us get this resolved.  It was clear you had really dug into the facts and the law, which was enormously helpful.  I also appreciated your professional approach and good humor, which made the entire process as easy as it could be.  I will certainly recommend you to my colleagues for future mediations."
    • "Thank you for your excellent services in mediating the dispute between our client and his former employer. You were the “right” mediator to facilitate a resolution between the parties. I enjoyed working with you and hope there will be occasions to do so again."
    • "This one is wrapped up. We also want to thank you for your hard work getting this over the finish line. We too enjoyed working with you, and look forward to the next opportunity."
    • "We have finalized the settlement. Thanks so much for staying on top of us, and for helping get this to the finish line."
    • "Judge, your efforts were pivotal here. Thanks for you preparation, time and skills."
    • "Thanks so much for your extremely able assistance.  We certainly would not have gotten the matter resolved without you."
    • "Thank you, Judge Schenkier, for your persistence in getting this resolved. I will let [your referee] know how much we enjoyed working with you."
    • "Thank you very much [Judge Schenkier] for your hard work in getting the settlement. We would not have achieved [it] without your efforts and persistence in pursuing a resolution.... Again, thank you for keeping the negotiation going and arriving at a solid number."
    • "[T]hank you for helping us get this resolved. I can't say I suffered even one pang of regret yesterday about having left the litigation practice some 28 years ago, but I can say if I had more experiences working with people like you, I might have stuck it out little longer."
    • "Thank you again, Judge. In a case fraught with emotion... your efforts were instrumental in achieving settlement."



Practice Areas

  • Business & Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Education Law
  • Employment Law
  • Federal Law
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee


Available nationwide


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