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J. Michael Williams

Partner
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Direct line: 312-658-2209

Mike Williams has tried numerous civil cases for both plaintiffs and defendants in the State and federal courts and has argued in both the Illinois appellate court and the Illinois supreme court. He has also arbitrated and mediated numerous cases. His clients have included title insurance companies, lenders, borrowers, property owners, manufacturers, distributors, and individuals. The disputes in which he has represented such clients have involved, among other things, contract claims of all kinds, title insurance coverage, lien validity and priority, easements and other claims to or defects in title to real estate, sales and negotiable instruments under the Uniform Commercial Code, business fraud and torts, employment and restrictive covenants, compliance with State regulations, and claim allowance, preference, and fraudulent transfer proceedings in the bankruptcy courts.

Mr. Williams joined the firm in 1999. Prior to that, he was a partner at the Chicago law firm Holleb & Coff, which dissolved in 2000.

Practice areas

  • Business litigation
  • Real estate litigation
  • Title insurance litigation on behalf of title insurance underwriters and their insureds.

Court Admissions
Illinois Supreme Court, 1986
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1986, admitted to the Trial Bar, 1991
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2002

Education
The University of Chicago, J.D., 1986
The University of Chicago, M.A., 1983
Arizona State University, M.A., 1976
Arizona State University, B.A., 1973

Professional Associations

Chicago Bar Association – Chair, Civil Practice Committee, 1997-1998
Seventh Circuit Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association
American Bar Association

Community Leadership

Oak Park (Illinois) Regional Housing Center, board member, 2005 to present
Oak Park (Illinois) Plan Commission, 1995-2002 , Chairman, 1999-2002

Notable Cases

First Midwest Bank v. Stewart Title Guaranty Company, 218 Ill.2d 326 (2006). This case, which Mr. Williams handled from the trial and appellate courts to the Illinois supreme court, resolved a split of authority in the Illinois appellate courts. The result was a unanimous ruling from the supreme court holding that title insurance companies are not liable in negligence to their insureds for failing to disclose, in a title commitment, defects in title appearing in the public records.

Lakeshore DeCaro v. M. Felix, Inc., 371 Ill.App.3d 1103 (1st Dist. 2007). In this case, the Illinois appellate court agreed with Mr. Williams’ client that a purchase money mortgage lender whose financing pays off an existing lien on the property is subrogated to (i.e., “steps into the shoes of”) the lien position of the paid-off lien holder and enjoys such prior lien position as against an intervening lienor who records a lien between the date that the first lien is recorded and the date that the purchase money mortgage is recorded.

Cohon Raizes & Regal LLP represents clients in Chicago and the surrounding major counties.