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Senior Mediator

Senior MediatorThis mediator has at least 100 hours of mediation training, 500 hours of mediation experience, agrees to take part in at least 12 hours per year of continuing mediation education, and subscribes to's required standards of mediation practice.Premium Member

Gary Cole

Gary L. Cole AIA, Esq. is a Certified Mediator and Arbitrator and a Chicago based Illinois and Florida licensed attorney (20 years), and Illinois licensed architect (25 years). He draws upon his dual expertise in law and architecture to provide Certified Mediator and arbitrator services for parties in construction, real estate, commercial, ADA and historic preservation disputes.

His combined legal and construction industry experience allows him unique insights into disputes that result in fairer arbitration awards and mediations with a high record of settlement. His dual professional backgrounds allow him to fluently communicate with disputing parties and their counsel in the industry-specific languages of law, design and construction.

He is also an experienced member of the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) construction and commercial panels of arbitrators and mediators, including its Fast Track, Regular Track, Large, Complex Construction Dispute Panel and its Large Complex Commercial Dispute Panel. He can also serve ad hoc as arbitrator and mediator if so requested.

Mr. Cole serves the Chicago area as well as Central Illinois, and has served out-of-state as arbitrator and mediator in such states as Wisconsin, Indiana and North Dakota. He can travel anywhere in the United States to provide Certified Mediator and arbitration services. Mr. Cole can accommodate court-ordered and very short notice mediation, depending on the specifics and timing.


  • ATTORNEY: Illinois (1998) / Florida (2001)
  • LICENSED ARCHITECT: Illinois (1993)

ADR Experience

GARY L. COLE, AIA, ESQ. has served as both a Certified Mediator and an arbitrator in over seventy-five (75+) construction, commercial and real estate-related disputes, ranging from $10,000 to over $15,000,000 in claims involving a wide variety of complex dual-party and multi-party claims and counterclaims under American Institute of Architects (AIA) and other industry-standard and custom construction agreements and real estate documents.

He has arbitrated and mediated many complex condominium and single-family homeowner disputes between owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors and home owner associations. He frequently mediates and arbitrates pro se cases, where one or more parties represents themselves without an attorney.

DISPUTED ISSUES have included contract performance failure and breach, claims involving design and construction defects, material and structural failure, change order disputes, uncompleted punch list issues, HVAC non-performance, scheduling and delay claims, non-payment and mechanics lien claims, cost overruns, unforeseen site conditions including foundation and caisson issues, fraud allegations, code compliance, partnership development agreement issues, alleged intellectual property and related copyright infringement issues, foreclosure, loan modification and asset relinquishment, and a wide range of other construction and commercial claims and disputes.


Mr. Cole tailors each mediation’s approach to the needs of the dispute and desires of the parties. He draws from his backgrounds as an experienced construction and real estate attorney, and as a licensed architect to provide an “Evaluative/Facilitative” mediation approach, which includes examining the parties’ pre-mediation conference document submissions to understand each parties’ allegations, arguments and documentary evidence.

Prior to a mediation conference, he discusses separately and confidentially with each party their positions and goals along with what he considers to be each parties’ positions’ strengths and weaknesses based on his review of the parties’ document submissions. These informed evaluations allows parties to evaluate and consider whether a mediated settlement is in their best interest, or, whether binding dispute resolution such as arbitration or litigation offer better possible outcomes.

During the mediation conferences, he guides the parties through discussions of the more legally and technically problematic aspects of their disputes. These discussions, along with his pre-mediation conference confidential evaluations of each parties’ positions’ strengths and weaknesses, allow the parties to continuously evaluate and re-evaluate their positions and their settlement options as the mediation conference progresses.

Mr. Cole is happy to discuss his mediation approach with the parties, and to tailor it to their desires and expectations for achieving the best opportunity for resolution and settlement.



  • Bachelor Of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago (1988)
  • Master of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1992)
  • Juris Doctor, Loyola University Chicago (1998)

Areas Of Practice

  • ADA
  • Art
  • Business
  • Civil (general)
  • Commercial
  • Construction
  • Contracts
  • Copyright
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Environmental
  • Foreclosure
  • General
  • Intellectual Property
  • International
  • Land Use
  • Landlord - Tenant
  • Non Profits
  • Nursing Home
  • Oil and Gas
  • Online Mediation
  • Organizational
  • Partnership
  • Real Estate
  • Small Claims
  • Technology
  • Trademark

Additional Services

  • Arbitrator
  • Collaborative Professional
  • Facilitator
  • Fact-Finder
  • Mediating Lawyer
  • Mediation Consultant
  • Mediator-Arbitrator
  • Online Arbitrator
  • Representational Lawyer

Fees and Provisos

Mr. Cole’s fees include an hourly rate of $300.00 per hour for his time spent administering and preparing for mediation conferences and arbitration hearings, and, a flat rate of $2,700.00 for each day of conference or hearing. Upon request, he is happy to provide an estimate of his total fees prior to commencement of his mediator or arbitrator services.

Mr. Cole will travel anywhere in the continental United States as arbitrator and mediator at no cost for either travel time or direct travel expenses to parties for arbitration hearings or mediation conferences that last three (3) days or more. For arbitration hearings or mediation conferences lasting one (1) or two (2) days, direct reimbursable travel expenses and reasonable travel time are billed to the parties as agreed upon between Mr. Cole and the parties at the commencement of his services.

Liability Insurance

  • Yes

Professional Associations

  • AAA - American Arbitration Assoc.
  • AAA - American Arbitration Association