View All People

Michael P. Crooks


Photo of Michael P. Crooks

Michael P. Crooks


  • Telephone

  • Fax

    (608) 316-3145

  • Email

  • Office

    10 East Doty Street
    Suite 900
    Madison, WI 53703

Mike Crooks is a Shareholder in the firm’s Litigation and Risk Management Practice Group. He focuses his practice on commercial litigation, legal malpractice and other professional negligence claims, accounting malpractice, insurance defense and coverage issues, bad faith litigation, product liability work, premises liability, breach of contract, personal injury defense and third-party recovery. Mike is also an experienced mediator and is frequently called upon to resolve disputes.

Mike is a frequent lecturer for many organizations including the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Judicial College, the Wisconsin Defense Counsel and the University of Wisconsin Law School.

My name is Mike Crooks and I have been practicing litigation for the last 33 years; the last 15 or so, of which, have involved a fair amount of mediation, I would say 50% of my practice now is dedicated to mediating cases. I think I've trialed about one hundred jury trials and I've mediated thousands of cases.

What’s your mediation style?

Sympathetic evaluative; and what I mean by that is, I evaluate the case for the parties and give them my thoughts, but I also think it's an opportunity to give people an experience to state their case and indicate why it is that they're aggrieved and how they want me to solve their problem.

What types of cases are you skilled at mediating?

The types of cases I typically mediate are personal injury, products liability cases – I would say that constitutes about 50% of my mediation practice – another 20% is professional negligence cases – either medical, legal, and sometimes accounting malpractice – another 20% involves commercial or business disputes, and then, believe it or not, 10% are family business breakups and farm breakups.

What makes you a successful mediator?

I think I'm successful at mediation because I have an in-depth understanding of what goes on in the courtroom. Like I said earlier, I've tried in excess of one hundred jury trials, and so I know how the evidence is likely to play out and I can predict for the parties what I think is likely to happen so that they can evaluate whether it makes sense for them to resolve the case at what we can accomplish that day or go on and let twelve people they don't know resolve the case.

What should parties do prior to mediation?

What I would like the parties to do prior to coming to the mediation is at least make sure that the counsel has communicated with one another and that they are confident that both sides are going to give a fair effort to resolving the case. The other thing I would like parties to do in personal injury-type cases, is make certain that they've talked to the health insurers and the segregated carriers and that they understand the respective strengths and weaknesses of the case so that when I call them during the mediation process I don't surprise them and they’re ready to deal.

Parting thought:

A parting thought, I would encourage folks to give serious consideration to zoom mediation. Since COVID, Zoom mediation has increased significantly, and I would say now probably 75% of the cases I mediate are via Zoom. And frankly, the success rate is either the same or higher as in-person and I've been trying to figure out why – and I think I've come to the conclusion that people feel comfortable in a Zoom setting because they're either at their own lawyer's office or they're at home and we get the involvement of more executives and claims adjusters who are willing to participate by Zoom rather than travel here from afar.

  • University of Wisconsin, J.D., cum laude, 1990
  • University of Notre Dame, B.A., cum laude, 1987

  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit

  • American Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Associate Member (past President)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, Wisconsin Chapter
  • International Society of Barristers
  • Board Certified Trial Lawyer (2004)
  • Wisconsin Defense Counsel (President 2005-2006, former Board of Directors) 
  • James E. Doyle Inn of Courts (former Treasurer)
  • Defense Research Institute
  • State Bar of Wisconsin

  • Best Lawyers® Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year" Madison (2017 & 2021 & 2024)
  • Best Lawyers® Insurance "Lawyer of the Year" Madison (2016 & 2018 & 2023)
  • Best Lawyers® Product Liability Litigation - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year" Madison (2020)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Insurance (2007-2024), Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants (2011-2024), Product Liability Litigation - Defendants (2013-2024)
  • "Top 10: Wisconsin Super Lawyers®" (2023)
  • "Top 25: Madison Super Lawyers®" (2011-2023)
  • "Top 50: Wisconsin Super Lawyers®" (2009-2023)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers® (2006-2023)
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®