James Ferolo’s practice is concentrated on counseling local government entities and special districts in the areas of local government law, economic development matters (annexations, business districts, enterprise zone incentives, tax increment financing, special assessments, special service areas, letters of credit and performance and payment bonds, economic development incentives), employment law, real estate law, construction law, federal and state grant compliance matters, municipal finance, library law, Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, Local Records Act, State Officials and Employees Ethics Act compliance matters, meeting procedure matters, contract matters , including Intergovernmental Agreements, planning and zoning matters, including representation of clients in civil litigation, administrative proceedings and alternative dispute resolution forums in the state and federal court systems.
He also engages in corporate law representing multiple businesses in the formation and management of ongoing corporate entities including guiding corporate entities in compliance matters.
James currently serves as the principal attorney for the Village of Wheeling, Village of Vernon Hills, the City of Highwood, and the Village of Beach Park. He also represents several other governmental entities in litigation matters.
His public sector litigation experience includes: Section 1983 federal claims and other federal and state statutory cases, tort immunity, zoning appeals, condemnations, pension and employment matters.
James graduated from Northwestern University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, double majoring in Economics and Political Science. He was recognized for academic excellence in Political Science earning membership into Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honor Society).
He received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1992. While attending law school, James was a member of the Dean’s List and was named a Semi-Finalist in the Loyola University Intra-School Moot Court Competition. James served as a Student Intern in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. James is admitted to practice in the state of Illinois, the United States District Court for the Northern District and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
- James is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association. He also has served on the ISBA’s Local Government Committee since 2015 and is the current Chairperson of the ISBA Local Government Litigation Committee.
Awards and Recognition
- James has been named a Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media, a peer-recommended distinction awarded to fewer than 5% of attorneys in Illinois.
- Chapters on “Municipal Finance and Taxation” and “Zoning Controls” – co-author, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education
- Chapter on Open Meetings Act– co-author, Illinois Township Clerk’s Handbook, 2014
- “Duties of the Local Election Official” and “The Election Objection Process” – co-author, Illinois Municipal Review, 2016
James is also a contributing author to the following publications of the Illinois Municipal League Manuals:
- The Sunshine Laws (OMA & FOIA)
- Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Acts
- Manual on Police and Fire Disciplinary Matters
- Manual on Conflict of Interests and Liability of Illinois Elected Officials
- Home Rule versus Non-Home Rule
- Municipal Forms of Government
- Financing Municipal Improvements
- James has spoken on a variety of municipal law topics at seminars and annual conferences conducted by various organizations including the Illinois Municipal League where he presented on Bidding, Conflicts of Interests, Freedom of Information, Tort Immunity; the Illinois Institute for Local Government Law regarding Special Service Areas; the Lake County Municipal League regarding Clerk Responsibility During Elections and Cannabis Legalization; the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education – Local Government Law Institute and the National Business Institute.
- He is a founding faculty member of the Local Government Law Institute formed in 2012. Annually, the Institute speaks to over 100 practicing municipal attorneys regarding various topics of interest to local governments.