Biography

Mary Patricia Benz, an experienced trial and appellate attorney, opened a solo practice in downtown Chicago concentrating on professional responsibility counseling, litigation, administrative hearings, appeals, and alternative dispute resolution.

Ms. Benz has over 30 years of experience in state and federal courts. She focuses on all types of dispute resolution for individuals and businesses, including lawyers, educators, and other professionals. She served for over ten years as a volunteer hearing board member and chair for Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC). Ms. Benz is an Arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association.

 Ms. Benz is also active in several bar associations, including the Appellate Lawyers Association, where she served as membership co-chair, and the Chicago Bar Association. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee for several years, and is a current Board Member of the Association of Attorney-Mediators, and a volunteer mediator for the Center for Conflict Resolution in the Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. She also serves as a mediator in the Circuit Court of Will County Illinois.

Ms. Benz graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 1978 where she was selected for the  Order of the Coif. While in law school she also served as a legal writing instructor. Ms. Benz received her bachelor of arts with distinction in psychology from the University of Illinois in Chicago. She is a frequent author and presenter on the topics of mediation, litigation, appeal issues and professional ethics.

 Ms. Benz  has been an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law teaching trial practice. She served as an adjunct professor teaching a trial advocacy course at Northwestern University School of Law for 20 years and was an instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Midwest Deposition Program for over 14 years.

Ms. Benz has been consistently named by Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top attorneys in Illinois from 2005 – 2011 for general litigation. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named by Super Lawyers Magazine. Ms. Benz is also the recipient of the Chicago Bar Association, William J. White Award (2004) for service to the Judicial Evaluation Committee for multi-year contribution of time and expertise, and for the vigor and integrity of managing a particularly challenging year as Chair of the Investigation Division.Ms. Benz was recently honored by the ARDC and Supreme Court of Illinois "in recognition and appreciation of substantial contribution to the public, the legal profession and the courts, by serving with distinction as a Member of the Attorney Disciplinary System". In December 2013, Ms. Benz was inducted into the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN), in recognition for levels of excellence in the practice of mediation and arbitration.

Previously, Ms. Benz spent ten years as a litigation partner at Winston & Strawn LLP. Prior to that, she was a partner at the Chicago firms of Quinlan & Crisham Ltd. and Phelan Pope & John, Ltd.

Teaching Experience 

  • Adjunct Professor of Law (Trial Practice), Loyola University Chicago School of Law (Fall, 2010).
  • Adjunct Professor of Law (Trial Advocacy Course), Northwestern University School of Law (1989 to 2002, 2005 – 2009, 2013-14).
  • Instructor, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Midwest Deposition Program (1989 to 2003).
  • Instructor, Winston & Strawn Training programs in Deposition and Trial Skills. (2010 to present)

Bar Associations and Groups

  • American Bar Association
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (Illinois Chapter)
  • Association for Conflict Resolution (Chicago Chapter)
  • Association of Attorney-Mediators (Illinois Chapter)
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Women's Bar Association of Illinois
  • Appellate Lawyers Association