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Donald P. O'Connell

In 2006 Judge Donald P. O'Connell was selected for his private mediation success as one of the "LawDragon 500" outstanding public and private judges in America. Early in his judicial career, Judge Donald P. O'Connell received his mediation training at the National Judicial College. Since becoming a judge in 1978 and continuing after his retirement from the bench, Judge O'Connell has successfully mediated more than 10,000 complex tort and commercial cases.

Donald P. O’Connell served in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County for his entire judicial career. Complex tort and commercial cases are filed in the Law Division. No other judge in the history of the court served his entire judicial career in the Law Division. All other judges commenced their careers in divisions hearing traffic, misdemeanor, criminal, minor civil, domestic relations or other divisions of the court before ascending to the Law Division. When Judge O’Connell was asked to administer the 100 judges in the First Municipal District in 1984, that division of the court was besieged with problems. O’Connell agreed to assume administration of the troubled division as its Presiding Judge only if allowed to maintain his Law Division calendar of complex tort and commercial cases.

After bringing respect back to the First Municipal District, Judge O’Connell became the Presiding Judge of the 65 judges in the Law division. In that capacity he instituted many reforms including dedicated commercial calendars, court annexed voluntary mediation, local rules to expedite and streamline case management and many other changes resulting in significant reductions in the average age of Law Division cases. He administered the Law Division while continuing to maintain his own calendar of complex Law Division cases.

As Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Judge O’Connell continued to institute improvements in the court. Again, he did so while maintaining his own calendar of complex Law Division cases.

While a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, each year O’Connell successfully conducted over 500 mediations of complex tort and commercial cases.

Upon retirement from the court, Judge O’Connell began his private, independent mediation practice designated “O’Connell Mediation Services.”

Since his retirement from the court in 2001, O'Connell has successfully mediated in excess of 6000 cases. Donald P. O'Connell achieved special recognition from Leading Lawyers Network for: "ADR: Commercial". (See below).

Recognized in 2012 by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine as among the top mediators in the State of Illinois.