Michael L. Morkin

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Michael L. Morkin is the former managing partner of the Chicago office and a recognized practitioner in international arbitration and reinsurance matters. Having successfully managed a significant business to record headcount, brand recognition, revenue and profit, Mr. Morkin brings this unique commercial understanding to his already successful track record as counsel. Mike's extensive experience and expertise has resulted in arbitration awards valued in excess of USD 1 billion, as well as industry recognition including 40 Under Forty Hall of Fame and two Chicago International Arbitration Lawyer of the Year awards. Mike teaches at the University of Chicago Law School, and is an author and frequent lecturer throughout the US, Europe and Asia.

Practice Focus

Mike has handled arbitrations in Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean and throughout the US, under the rules of institutions including the ICC, ICDR, SIAC, UNCITRAL, AAA, London Maritime Arbitrators Association and numerous ad hoc arbitrations. He has successfully arbitrated disputes in reinsurance, health care, pharma, energy, shipping, post-acquisition, intellectual property, derivatives and other commercial arrangements.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Successful defense of pool of six global reinsurance companies in USD 28 million ad hoc reinsurance arbitration, and obtained partial rescission on counterclaim worth in excess of USD 90 million.
  • Successful defense (and recovery on USD 5 million counterclaim) of a state-owned company in ICC arbitration pending in Taiwan, relating to a USD 450 million supply contract to construct a power plant.
  • Successful defense of ICC arbitration in Taipei seeking to invalidate government contract used in the annual purchase of USD 500 million in coal for power plants, and recovery of USD 800,000 counterclaim plus lawyer fees.
  • Successful defense of a Chinese airline in a USD 65 million ICC arbitration brought by a German aircraft manufacturer for breach of contract, plus recovery of USD 2.5 million counterclaim and costs.
  • Successful defense of a USD 44 million ICC arbitration in Switzerland alleging breaches of joint development and patent license agreements involving elastomer technology.
  • Successfully represented a Taiwanese charterer in a USD 185 million London maritime arbitration brought by a Chinese ship owner, involving attachment of bank accounts in New York and attempted seizure of vessels in Australia, Brazil, Iraq, UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong (settled on very favorable business terms).
  • Successful defense of six TROs and preliminary injunctions in parallel proceedings pending in New York Federal Court, Texas Bankruptcy Court, and the courts of Bermuda, Taiwan and Singapore, involving default on USD 22 million in corporate loans and subsequent foreclosure on a majority interest in a publicly-held company.
  • Obtained an award in excess of USD 4 million (including USD 1 million in fees and costs), plus successful defense of USD 20 million counterclaim on behalf of US company in ICC arbitration pending in Paris relating to the construction of a port facility in Yemen.
  • Recovery of USD 7.5 million from a Chinese state-owned reinsurer in ad hoc arbitration pending in four venues and involving 121 reinsurance treaties.
  • Representation of a life reinsurer in USD 206 million parallel ad hoc arbitration and litigation proceedings relating to the number of occurrences stemming from the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • World Business Chicago - Executive Committee & Chair of Legal Advisory Board


  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois~United States (1990)
  • Illinois~United States (1990)


  • University of Illinois College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif) (1990)
  • Augustana College (A.B., cum laude) (1987)


  • English


Author, "3rd Edition Arbitration Checklists, Drafting Arbitration Clauses Chapter," Juris Publishing, 2004 (updated 2017)

Author, "Enforcement of Money Judgments Abroad, United States Chapter," Matthew Bender Supp, 2001 (updated 2017)

Author, "Attachments, United States Chapter," Matthew Bender Supp, 2001 (updated 2017)

Author, "Compelling and Staying Arbitration in Illinois," Practice Note for Practical Law, Thomson Reuters, June 2017

Author, "Enforcing Arbitration Awards in Illinois," Practice Note for Practical Law, Thomson Reuters, Fall 2016

Author/Editor, "International Negotiations Handbook: Success through Preparation, Strategy and planning," Private International Law and Policy Group (Editorial Board), 2007