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Hon. Sidney I. Schenkier (Ret.)

Hon. Sidney I. Schenkier (Ret.)

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business & Commercial
Civil Rights
Class Action & Mass Tort
Education Law
Employment Law
Federal Law
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury/Torts
Professional Liability
Special Master/Discovery Referee
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

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

ADR Representative Matters:

  • Arbitrated an alleged deceptive and fraudulent practice in violation of the CA Consumer Legal Remedies Act, CA Unfair Competition Law, CA False Advertising Law.
  • Selected to arbitrate a dispute over management and accounting fees remaining after payment of health insurance.
  • Arbitrated a consumer credit dispute.
  • Selected to arbitrate an emergency arbitration involving claims of breach operation agreement and fiduciary duty.
  • Arbitrated a dispute between a real estate investment and development platform and its’ investors dealing with $100 million in capital raised and billions of dollars in active deals with investment partnerships with large banks and investor families.  
  • Served as neutral in a class action Mediation-Arbitration case involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act Service.
  • Successfully mediated a contract dispute over contract termination and if there still remains a 120-day transition after termination or if there is a minimum spend obligation.   
  • Served as mediator between large telecommunications service providers for breach of a non-disclosure agreement between the parties.
  • Successfully mediated a breach of a consulting agreement and for contractually mandated payments tied to profitability.
  • Served as mediator in a breach of contractual obligations between two financial institutions. 
  • Successfully mediated a wrongful death case of an inmate in custody.
  • Selected to arbitrate a workplace discrimination and termination case for a major discount retailer.
  • Successfully settled a mediation in an employment discrimination case for a global science and technology manufacturer. 
  • Successfully settled a mediation regarding an employment breach of contract for failure to pay commission. 
  • Successfully settled a mediation involving a claim by an employee against a healthcare data company alleging disability discrimination and retaliation. 
  • Successfully settled a mediation regarding claims under Title VII for race and ancestry discrimination and retaliation as well as termination of employment between an employee and an international freight shipping company.
  • Successfully settled a mediation between a former in-house counsel for a pharmaceutical company and her termination over alleged age discrimination. 
  • Successfully settled a mediation involving a claim for sexual harassment, hostile workplace and constructive discharge.
  • Successfully mediated an employment discrimination case regarding a claim that a national bank forced an employee to resign after she took maternity leave while pregnant. 
  • Successfully mediated a contract dispute between a University and a faculty member.
  • Successfully settled a mediation involving a claim for sexual harassment, hostile workplace and constructive discharge.
  • Successfully settled a mediation over claims of wrongful discharge under the Illinois Whistleblower Act.
  • Selected as one of three arbitrators as part of a panel for a dispute over denied insurance coverage for a business-interruption loss that was caused by a fire.
  • Successfully settled a mediation involving a claim for reimbursement under ERISA health insurance benefits for a medical procedure where the parties disputed coverage. 
  • Successfully served as mediator for an ERISA dispute concerning insurance coverage for an accidental death.
  • Successfully mediated a contract dispute between a supplier of paper goods and a national retailer.
  • Successfully settled a mediation involving a claim by an employer that former employees violated non-compete covenants.  
  • Successfully mediated a class action claim under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act involving faxes that were allegedly unsolicited advertisements. 

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

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

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

  • Honoree, Outstanding Contributions to the Operation and Administration of Justice in the Federal Courts, American Bar Association, National Conference of Federal Trial Judges, Judicial Division, 2022
  • 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

Background and Education

  • 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


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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