Law and Business in Chicago

Based in the heart of Chicago’s downtown, CIDRA offers a private, multicultural setting designed explicitly to serve business interests. CIDRA has formed affiliations with arbitral institutions in other countries, such as the Polish Arbitration Association and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, North American Branch, and looks forward to extending its network of reciprocal relations throughout the world. The organization sponsors and participates in educational and training programs to encourage alternative dispute resolution and to improve the competence of arbitrators, mediators, fact-finders and advocates. CIDRA also works with law students, helping teams from area law schools prepare for the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna and Hong Kong.

Early in its history, CIDRA drafted a law that encourages arbitration of international commercial disputes in Illinois. With the help of the Chicago Bar Association, CIDRA developed a statute and default rules for parties who choose to settle their disputes by arbitration. The Illinois International Commercial Arbitration Act (ICAA) is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law and provides the legal framework for arbitrating transnational disputes in Illinois.

Chicago is one of America’s premier commercial cities and a familiar forum for resolving international business disputes. The city’s unique attributes make it one of the international business person’s best options when negotiating choice of forum clauses in contracts. Chicago has long been a connecting point for all industries – a place where business relationships are bred. Chicago is internationally known as “the City that Works.”

Chicago offers a rich environment of legal and business expertise. It serves as headquarters to some of the largest and best-known law firms in the world, as well as many Fortune 500 companies. Chicago is home to six nationally respected law schools, and two of the top ten U.S. business schools – Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Chicago is the second largest financial and insurance center in North America. The City is home to the Chicago Board of Options Exchange and the recently merged Chicago Mercantile Exchange/Chicago Board of Trade, now known as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, or the CME Group ( Chicago is also at the center of the aviation industry, serving as the headquarters of Boeing Corporation and the hub city for United Airlines and American Airlines.

Chicagoans speak over 100 different languages. The City has 26 different ethnic groups with populations greater than 25,000. Chicago is a multi-national, multi-cultural center for international trade and commerce. It also offers a remarkable array of hotels, restaurants and convention facilities, as well as renowned museums, theatre, art, music, dance and sports teams. The Chicago skyline includes some of the world’s tallest buildings, and the city overlooks Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of fresh water. With its distinctive architecture and such popular attractions as Michigan Avenue, Millennium Park and Navy Pier, Chicago is a year-round destination for tourists as well as business people (

Chicago has expanded its global reach to Asia. In 2007, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced the opening of the Chicago China Development Corporation (CCDC) office in Shanghai, China. The CCDC is a public-private, non-profit corporation chaired by Mayor Daley who appoints its Board of Directors from among Chicago’s business leaders. It was established to help Chinese companies expand into the United States and to assist Chicago companies with business interests in China.

Chicago is home to one of the largest Consular Corps in the United States. There are some 78 foreign Consulates General and Honorary Consulates housing diplomats and country representatives, and over 100 foreign trade and investment offices with ethnic/national Chambers of Commerce. Enhancing these official diplomatic and trade links are the efforts of Chicago’s Citizen Diplomats through the International Visitors Center of Chicago ( Together, this diversity of global contact and opportunity marks Chicago as a premier destination for foreign trade and commerce. provides details on the City’s diverse international activities from its website at

Beyond law, sport, business and diplomacy, Chicago is also a world hub for transportation and communication. It is a leading city for global air travel. Chicago is within a four-hour flight to all major North American business destinations, less than 10 hours from most European cities, and offer frequent non-stop flights to Asia and South America. Its railroad, trucking and intermodal capacities make it an important distribution center for the entire U.S., as well.

The city's major newspapers include the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, and some of the country's largest television and radio broadcasts originate from this city. In online technology, the Chicago Network Access Point is the world’s largest exchange point by volume and is located in Chicago’s central business district. With hundreds of thousands of high-tech workers employed in the region, there are more high-technology and information technology personnel in Chicago than in almost any other American city. As a global leader in technology, Chicago is a forward-looking venue for arbitration and mediation proceedings.

Against this impressive backdrop lies a wealth of expertise in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.