Jerald A. Kessler

Top rated Alternative Dispute Resolution attorney in Libertyville, Illinois

Attorney & Mediator
Jerald A. Kessler
Attorney & Mediator

Practice Areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Family Law; view more

Licensed in Illinois since: 1973

Education: The University of Chicago Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2015, 2017 - 2024
Virtual Appointments Free Consultation

Attorney & Mediator

14047 Petronella Drive
Suite 202 A
Libertyville, IL 60048 Visit website


AVAILABLE FOR ZOOM MEDIATION.       Additional offices in Northfield and Chicago Loop.

The founder of his own firm, Jerald A. Kessler, is an Attorney and  full-time professional Mediator.  Mr. Kessler mediates  via Zoom (and also has offices located in Libertyville,  Northfield and Chicago). Jerald A. Kessler devotes his practice to mediation and the training of new and experienced mediators.  He has mediated more than 2500 cases. Serving clients in the Chicago area and throughout Cook and Lake counties (and all of metropolitan Chicago), his practice is almost exclusively the mediation divorce and family issues.  However, because of his experience and expertise, he has also been called upon to mediate other types of conflicts including probate, family business disputes, and adult guardianship cases.  He has been requested to mediate disputes for government programs for cases arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disputes with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Postal Service.  Online mediation via Zoom is available.

Mr. Kessler's approach to this form of alternative dispute resolution entails focusing on the parties' interests and needs and assisting them in reaching an agreement. He first meets with the parties individually in order to identify the issues that are at the heart of the dispute. Mr. Kessler then assists in the gathering of all pertinent information, reviews it with the parties and discusses the various options that may be available before coming to an agreement. The parties make the decisions - not Mr. Kessler.  Mediation is private, voluntary, confidential and cost-effective.  In the case of divorce mediation, the agreement becomes a part of the divorce decree - preferably after the parties have an opportunity to review it with an attorney.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in political science with special honors from The University of Chicago in 1969, Mr. Kessler went on to attend The University of Chicago Law School and was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1972. He was admitted to practice before all Illinois state courts in the following year.  In 1991, he decided to concentrate on mediation.  He is considered a leading figure in the growth of mediation in Illinois.

Since 2008, Mr. Kessler has served as an adjunct professor in mediation and negotiation at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology.  Mr. Kessler is one of the founders of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the Illinois Chapter of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, and the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.  He frequently gives presentations to groups such as the Mediation Council of Illinois, the Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc., the Illinois State Bar Association, and other legal and mediation organizations.

Available in Libertyville, Northfield, Chicago Loop and via Zoom.

Practice areas

Alternative Dispute Resolution, Family Law

Focus areas

Divorce, Mediation

  • 90% Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • 10% Family Law

First Admitted: 1973, Illinois

Professional Webpage:

Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Advanced Practitioner, Academy of Professional Family Mediators
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • President, Mediation Council of Illinois, 1995 - 1999; 2020 -
  • Illinois, 1973
  • Incorporator, Founding Secretary, Fellow (2002 - present), Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, 2002 - 2004
  • Chairman, Lawyer Referral Committee, Lake County Bar Association, 1998
  • Founding Treasurer, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Illinois., 2013
  • Board Member, North Suburban Service Council, 1994 - Present
  • President, North Suburban Service Council, 2001 - 2003
  • Chairman, Lawyer Referral Committee, Lake County Bar Association, 1994-1996
  • Secretary, Association of Women Attorneys of Lake County, 2000 - Present
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Board of Directors, Mediation Council of Illinois, 1993 - Present
  • Member, Family Law Committee, Lake County Bar Association
  • Member, Matrimonial Law Committee, Chicago Bar Association
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Judge, International Law School Mediation Competition, Loyola University, Chicago, March 23, 2012 and March, 2016
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • "Triage of New Clients for ADR" Association of Family and Conciliation Court, Illinois Chapter, Chicago, October 7, 2014
  • “Introduction to the Role of Parenting Coordinator”, co-presenter, Annual Conference of the Mediation Council of Illinois, Harper College, Palatine, Illinois, May 3, 2013
  • Confidentiality in Mediation,” Lake County Bar Association, February, 2013
  • “Voluntary Mediation Program” for McHenry County family Law Judges and Mediation Committee, Woodstock, Illinois, January 31, 2013
  • "Mediation Ethics”, McHenry County Bar Association and Family Mediation Advisory Council, McHenry, Illinois, October 28, 2011
  • Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc., Advanced Mediation Training, Springfield, Illinois, September 23-24, 2016
  • Loyola University Law School, Applying Neurobiology in Negotiation and Mediation, Jeremy Lack, Esq., (of Geneva, London, New York), August 16, 2016
  • Annual Conference, Mediation Council of Illinois, May 6, 2016
  • Annual Conference, Wisconsin Association of Mediators, March 17-18, 2016, Johnson Creek, Wisconsin
  • Advanced ADA Training, Key Bridge Foundation, June 11 and 18, 2015
  • Dispute Resolution Institute, Advanced Mediation Training, September 19-20, 2014, Springfield, Illinois. Prof. C.J. Larkin, Washington University School of Law
  • Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc., Advanced Mediator Training, Springfield, IL, September 27-28, 2013, Prof. C.J. Larkin, Washington University School of Law
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, “Nuts and Bolts of Parenting Coordination: Helping High Conflict Parents Resolve Disputes,” March4-5, 2013, Chicago, Joan B. Kelly, PhD
  • Eldercare/Adult Guardianship Mediation Training, Mediation Training and Consultation Institute, Chicago, November 29-December 1, 2012, Zena Zumeta
  • Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc., Advanced Mediator Training, St. Louis, MO., October 28-29, 2012; Prof. C.J. Larkin, Washington University School of Law, Trainer
  • "What Lawyers Can Do to Facilitate Mediation", Family Law Seminar, Lake County Bar Association, 2003
  • Annual Conference, Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, Chicago, June 6-9, 2012
  • Visiting Lecturer, undergraduate and graduate level Conflict Resolution, North Central College, 2000-2003
  • Instructor, DePaul University College of Commerce, 1980-1981
  • Instructor, DePaul University College of Commerce, 1987
  • Lecturer, Legal Writing and Research, ITT – Chicago Kent College of Law, 1973-1976
  • Co-Presenter, "The Ethics of Mediation Style", Emerging Issues in Mediation Conference, University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Association of Mediators, Madison, Wisconsin, 2003
  • "Divorce Mediation -- The Civilized Alternative", The Lilac Tree, Evanston, Illinois, 2003
  • Annual Guest Lecture, "Power, Power Imbalances and Caucus", Combined Conflict Resolution Classes, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1998 - Present
  • Mediator Training, "Screening for Impairments to Mediation", 19th Judicial Circuit Family Mediation Program, Grayslake, Illinois, April 12, 2003
  • "Power Imbalances and Anger in Mediation - No Problem", Family Law Seminar, Lake County Bar Association, 2002
  • Co-Presenter, "Working with Attorneys in Mediation", Association for Conflict Resolution Seminar, Family Section Conference, Savannah, Georgia, March 2, 2002
  • ADR: "Appropriate Dispute Resolution", Association of Women Attorneys, Lake County Illinois, Approved Continuing Legal Education Seminar, January 11, 2008
  • Mediating in the Face of Strongly Held Beliefs, National Conference Association for Conflict Resolution, Philadelphia, 2006
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Mediation and Negotiation, ITT-Chicago Kent College of Law, 2008 -present
  • Co-trainer and coach, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Continuing Studies, Basic Mediation Training, November 12-13, 2015
  • Advanced Training for 19th Judicial Circuit Mediators, July 30, 2015, Waukegan, Illinois
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, Advanced Mediation Training, November 7-8, 2015, Chicago, Illinois, Presenter, 2015
  • Advanced Mediation Training, Perri Mayes co-presenter, Carbondale, Illinois July 29, 2016 for Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc.
Educational Background:
  • University of Chicago, B.A., Major: Political Science, Honors: Special Honors, 1969
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Approved Panel Member, Lake County Bar Association Mediation Program
  • Mediation, Center for Conflict Resolution, Chicago, mediation of cases for Illinois Department of Human Rights and Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Cerfied Mediator, Domestic Relations Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, 2014
  • United States Postal Service REDRESS Program since 1999
  • Founding Member and Advanced Practitioner Member, Academy of Professional Family Mediators
  • Approved Panel Member, Mediation Council of Illinois Referral Service
  • Agriculture Mediation Program, U.S.D.A., certified program for Illinois (mediation of USDA programs such as environment, contract disputes, land use, lending, housing)
  • Mediator, Americans With Disabilities Act Claims, Key Bridge Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Mediation, federal EEO claims for the Social Security Administration
  • Approved Panelist for Association for Conflict Resolution Referral List
  • Certified Mediator, 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois - Family Mediation Panel
  • Certified Mediator, 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois - Civil Mediation Panel
  • Certified Civil Mediation, 19th Judicial Circuit Certified Mediator, Probate Division, 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois
  • Advanced Practitioner Member, Association for Conflict Resolution
Industry Groups:
  • Mediation
  • providing consultations for other mediators.
  • training mediators

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

“Jerald Kessler is the very best family law attorney to hire for sensitive dispute resolution of highly contested family law matters, including mediation, collaberative law.”

“Very knowledgable and a man of great integrity. He excels at alternative dispute methods and is well respected.”

“One of the best in the business--without doubt--attuned to the nuances of the law and the individuals with whom he works, Jerry is great at what he does.”

“Very good ADR lawyer.”

“Jerald Kessler is an outstanding mediator. With decades of experience and wisdom, Mr. Kessler achieves outstanding results. ”

Office location for Jerald A. Kessler

14047 Petronella Drive
Suite 202 A
Libertyville, IL 60048

Phone: 847-367-4500


11 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2015, 2017 - 2024

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