Arbitrator & Mediator Services

Arbitrator & Mediator & Attorney & Architect


Gary L. Cole AIA, Esq. may be contacted at:  (312) 404-6155 /


General Legal and Architectural Experience

Gary L. Cole AIA, Esq. is a Chicago-based Illinois and Florida-licensed construction and real estate attorney (19 years), and Illinois-licensed architect (24 years), and draws upon his unique dual background in law and architecture to provide arbitrator and mediator services for the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and ad hoc for parties in construction, real estate and commercial disputes.

As an arbitrator and certified mediator, he is a member of the AAA’s 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.

As a construction and real estate attorney with two of Chicago’s largest law firms, Winston & Strawn LLP and Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and one of Florida’s largest retail developers, The Sembler Company, and in his own current law practice, he has represented clients in many types of domestic and international construction and real estate disputes and transactional matters ranging from $10,000 to $200,000,000 in costs. Projects include single-family and multi-family residential, shopping centers and big-box retailers, mixed-use retail, office, national chain restaurants, luxury and historic hotels, banks, historic rehabilitation, hospitals, school districts, large universities, municipalities, telecom, solar power, industrial, and infrastructure.

Mr. Cole is a licensed architect with extensive residential, commercial and government practice experience, a former construction contractor and a former visiting Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Architecture, where he taught classes in building investigation and material pathology, forensics, hands-on construction techniques and historic preservation.

Arbitrator and Mediator Experience and Services

Mr. Cole has served as arbitrator and mediator for both pro se and represented parties in many commercial, residential, government construction and real estate disputes involving a wide variety of complex dual-party and multiparty claims and counter-claims between owner-contractor, owner-architect, contractor-subcontractor, federal agency-architect, homeowner-developer, lender-borrower parties, and commercial landlord-tenant involving contract performance and breach issues under American Institute of Architects (AIA) and other industry-standard and custom construction and sales agreements for disputes ranging from $5,000 to over $10,000,000 in claimed damages, with arbitration hearings and mediation conferences lasting from one (1) day to thirteen (13) days in length.

He has served as Chair Arbitrator on a three-arbitrator panel in multi-party Large, Complex Construction Dispute arbitration involving domestic and international parties with claimed damages in excess of $10 million.  Mr. Cole has served as mediator in complex multi-party, multi-day mediation conference with total claims in excess of $8 million, and has served as Mediator in over fifty-five (55) disputes.

As an attorney, licensed architect, arbitrator and mediator, Mr. Cole has complete familiarity with design and construction industry documentary evidence such as construction documents and specifications, project manuals, bid documents, photo-documentary evidence, material samples, change orders, project scheduling and administrative records, expert testimony and forensic reports, and has conducted on-site existing conditions inspections as an arbitrator.  This technical understanding allows him insights into disputes that result in fairer arbitration awards and evaluative mediations with a high record of settlement.

Mr. Cole has arbitrated and mediated project type disputes including:

  • retail and commercial construction
  • large government contracts and construction
  • hotel development
  • high-rise condominium and retail development
  • prefabricated multi-family educational housing
  • single-family residential construction
  • school district HVAC performance issues
  • telecom tower construction

Mr. Cole has arbitrated and mediated disputes involving claims of:

  • contract breach and performance issues under American Institute of Architects (AIA) and other industry-standard and custom construction agreements
  • design and construction defect claims
  • material and structural failure claims
  • change order disputes
  • scheduling and delay claims
  • non-payment claims
  • mechanics lien claims
  • cost overruns
  • fraud allegations
  • unforeseen site conditions
  • development partnership agreement disputes
  • owner-tenant cost and maintenance sharing disputes
  • loan modification


Arbitrator and Mediator Fees (Subject to Change without Notification)

Arbitrator Fees:  $300 per hour for all time spent administering the arbitration and preparing for arbitration hearings.  Flat rate of $2,700 per day for each day of arbitration hearing.

Mediator Fees:  $300 per hour for all time spend administering the mediation and preparing for mediation conferences.  Flat rate of $2,700 per day for each day of mediation conference.

Travel, Reimbursable and Cancellation Fees:  Mr. Cole will travel anywhere in the continental U.S. as arbitrator and mediator at no travel 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.

Full deposits to be received thirty (30) days prior to scheduled arbitration hearings or mediation conferences.  No cancellation fee for written cancellations greater than 48 hours prior to the scheduled commencement of any arbitration hearing or mediation conference, unless travel expenses are involved.