Arbitrator & Mediator Services

Arbitrator & Mediator & Attorney & Architect


Arbitrator and Mediator Experience and Services

Gary L. Cole AIA, Esq. is a Chicago-based Illinois and Florida-licensed construction and real estate attorney (20 years), and Illinois-licensed architect (25 years), and draws upon his unique dual background in law and architecture to provide arbitrator and mediator services for parties in construction, real estate and commercial disputes.  His 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.

He serves the Chicago and wider Illinois areas, and frequently travels out-of-state to serve as arbitrator and mediator. Mr. Cole can accommodate court-ordered and short-notice mediations, depending on the specifics and timing. Please see below regarding Mr. Cole’s current arbitrator and mediator fees.

Evaluative Mediations.  As a mediator, Mr. Cole draws on his dual background in law and construction, which, combined with his experience as an arbitrator, permit him to perform evaluative mediations – mediations in which he is able to examine legal and construction documentary evidence and identify the strengths and weaknesses of parties’ cases and discuss those findings confidentially and ex parte with each party during the mediation process, thereby allowing parties greater decision making power when considering settlement options.

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 for parties seeking such services.

Mr. Cole has served as arbitrator and mediator 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 mediations involving multi-day mediation conferences and multiple parties involving claims in excess of $14,000,000.

He has served as Mediator in over sixty (60) 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.

Mr. Cole has arbitrated and mediated a wide variety of project types, including:

  • Retail and commercial construction
  • Large federal and local government construction
  • Courthouse and jail facilities
  • Hotel development
  • High-rise condominium and retail development
  • Senior community, including independent and assisted living development
  • Prefabricated multi-family educational housing
  • High-rise student housing
  • Single-family residential construction
  • Public school district and private educational facilities
  • Telecom tower construction
  • Industrial and sustainable energy projects

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

  • Contract breach and performance issues under American Institute of Architects (AIA), Associated General Contractors (AGC), and other industry-standard and custom construction agreements
  • Design and construction defect claims
  • Material and structural failure claims
  • Change order disputes
  • Payment, scheduling and delay claims
  • Intellectual property, including copyright and trade dress 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  (Please contact Mr. Cole to discuss his fees for specific disputes.)

Mr. Cole intentionally keeps his arbitrator and mediator fees very market competitive, and, drawing on his extensive experience as an attorney and licensed architect brings substantial and unique value to his services as arbitrator and mediator.

Hourly and Flat Rate. Mr. Cole bills at both an hourly rate for his time spent administering and preparing for arbitration hearings and mediation conferences, and, a flat rate for each day of hearing or conference.

Mr. Cole’s hourly rate as Mediator and Arbitrator currently ranges from between $250.00/hr. to $300.00/hr., with a flat rate daily fee for mediation conferences and arbitration hearings of $3,000.00/day, depending on the nature of a dispute in consideration.  Parties are presented with a detailed fee estimate at the commencement of Mr. Cole’s services.

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.

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.