Mr. Widman is a nationally recognized commercial arbitrator, to which he currently devotes a substantial portion of his practice. Over 34 years, parties have entrusted to him over 200 domestic and international matters with a combined value of over $2.0 billion. He has handled complex matters in diverse areas such as healthcare and biotech, employment, e-commerce, securities and financial, partnerships and corporations, construction and real estate, intellectual property, transportation, utilities and communications, environmental, and franchises.

See Arbitration Case List for cases by industry

Case Management Skills

Given his reputation and experience, Mr. Widman is usually selected as either a sole arbitrator (over 100 cases) or panel chair (over 35 cases). He applies his case management and other skills to cases so the promises of arbitration – efficiency, effectiveness, and just results – are achieved. Parties select Mr. Widman because of his tested judgment, fairness, business background, and demeanor. Hearings can be in-person or remote.

Fully Explained Decisions

Mr. Widman has authored over 70 Final or Interim Awards on case merits, and hundreds of orders or rulings on issues such as arbitration procedure, jurisdiction and arbitrability, class arbitration, discovery and motions to compel, privilege and evidentiary disputes, dispositive motions, choice of law, limitations, claim preclusion, damages and attorneys’ fees, and injunctive and equitable relief. ­­­ He believes that parties and counsel are entitled to full and thoughtful explanations of the reasons for all decisions – from mid-case matters to merits awards.

Party-Focused Approach

Mr. Widman knows that arbitrations is a matter of party consent. He works cooperatively with the parties and counsel to achieve the right balance of party-designated process and efficiency that fits the particular case. Always with a view to delivering justice cost-effectively, Mr. Widman’s arbitration philosophy includes:

Class And Collective Arbitration Practice

He has handled 14 class or collective arbitrations that raised business and consumer claims. Based upon his 22 years of experience as a class action litigator and arbitrator, Mr. Widman has applied evolving Supreme Court law in rendering dozens of orders and awards on class and collective arbitrability, class waivers, class certification, discovery, experts, and class claims merits. He is on the Class Action Panel of the American Arbitration Association.

See Arbitration Case List

Credentialed Affiliations

Mr. Widman is an arbitrator for:

He is a Fellow with the Chartered Institute of Arbitration (London) in international matters. He also accepts and self-administers ad hoc matters from parties. He has handled cases and hearings in many jurisdictions beyond Illinois, including New York, D.C., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin, and California.

Academic Scholarship

Mr. Widman is a student and leader of arbitration theory and practice. He has authored over 20 articles, guidebooks, and chapters on arbitration, and he has spoken at over 50 professional and bar association meetings on arbitration and ethics. Topics have covered a vast array of arbitration issues – process, rules and procedures, jurisdiction and arbitrability, class arbitration, and decision making. See Articles/Speaking List. In addition, since 1998, Mr. Widman has been on the select national teaching faculty of the American Arbitration Association, where he instructs new arbitrators on best practices. He has taught arbitration for the AHLA, in law school, and has consulted internationally on arbitration programs.


“It is evident that Arbitrator Widman fully considered the parties’ arguments and thoroughly evaluated and discussed the relevant case law…”
--- from 2016 judicial decision confirming healthcare award;

“You did such a fabulous job during our arbitration.”
--- from co-arbitrator following issuance of award;

“This is a truly excellent analysis and opinion. You should be on the bench (federal) so rulings like this could make law in the public arena.”
--- from co-arbitrator following issuance of evidentiary order;

“When we worked together on the arbitration, I witnessed in you the high level of professional practice, knowledge, and drive you can achieve in a long and complex matter. In sum, you became the backbone of the panel.”
--- from co-arbitrator following completion of case;

“You earned my respect and admiration. I think you are a real tribute to your profession.”
--- from party to arbitration long after completion of case;

“Thank you for your professionalism and toughness as an Arbitrator in this very contentious matter.”
--- from counsel in arbitration after confirmation and appeals of award.