Since 1935, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins attorneys have been trusted advisors to cities, towns and villages of all sizes throughout Illinois. We serve as general counsel and have assisted municipalities and local counsel on special projects and litigation. Our practice encompasses all areas of municipal operations.
- Board practices and procedures
- Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, Local Records Act and State Officials and Employees Ethics Act compliance
- Home rule and non-home rule authority
- Bidding, contract and procurement laws
- Finance and economic development
- Zoning and development
- Labor and employment law
- Liquor law
- Election law
- Property issues and tax litigation
- Construction law
Board Practices and Procedures
With our deep roots in municipal law, we bring tremendous depth to counseling municipalities on the regular practices and procedures that apply to the basic operations of all local governmental units in Illinois. This includes counseling on board practices and procedures, agenda preparation, board policies and board trainings.
Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, Local Records Act and State Officials and Employees Ethics Act
Our attorneys are well versed in counseling municipalities on compliance matters involving the Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Local Records Act and the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, including advocacy and preparation of responsive materials to the Public Access Counselor of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on OMA and FOIA matters.
We are proud of our two manuals on these topics published by the Illinois Municipal League:
- Illinois “Sunshine Laws” - The Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act
- Conflict of Interests and Liability of Illinois Elected Officials
Home Rule and Non-Home Rule Authority
Our attorneys represent both home rule and non-home rule municipalities and are well versed in the distinctions regarding authority between the two types of forms of government. We also have experience assisting municipalities who want to bring forward referenda to adopt home rule form of government.
To provide further information on this topic, we have produced two manuals for the Illinois Municipal League:
- Home Rule vs. Non-Home Rule Status (What’s Best for Your Municipality?)
- Municipal Forms of Government
Bidding, Contract and Procurement Laws
Compliance with bidding, contract and procurement laws is a critical issue for municipalities as it impacts grant eligibility and awarding of public infrastructure projects and professional services and supply contracts. We provide precise, clear advice in this area, including compliance with the Illinois Procurement Code, the Design-Build Procurement Act and the competitive contract bidding and change order laws is a significant benefit to our clients.
Finance and Economic Development
Our attorneys are skilled at navigating and protecting municipalities’ best interests in finance and economic development issues, from understanding the balance of risk and municipal financial exposure to promote development to the big-picture impact on a community.
Among other financial issues, we assist clients with:
- Business districts
- Enterprise zone incentives
- Opportunity zone incentives
- Tax increment financing
- Special assessments
- Special service areas
- Grant compliance matters
- Intergovernmental and public-private partnership arrangements
- Municipal finance
- Developer incentive contracts
Our attorneys produced the handbook, Financing Municipal Improvements on this topic for the Illinois Municipal League.
Zoning and Development
While a standard zoning ordinance consists of text and a map, complex issues related to zoning often delay projects. We counsel our municipal clients’ plan commissions and zoning boards on land use and planning matters related to annexation, zoning, subdivision, construction, general municipal growth, infrastructure installation and maintenance and development while ensuring adherence to budgetary constraints.
Labor and Employment Law
Our labor and employment attorneys provide advice to clients on matters including compliance with federal, state, county and regulatory agency laws and regulations. We have handled collective bargaining and employment matters with our municipal clients, including police, fire, dispatch, clerical, civil service and public works employees. We also handle all labor and employment disputes filed with federal and state regulatory courts and agencies, such as arbitrations, discrimination claims and grievances as well as administrative employment contract drafting and implementation.
We routinely assist clients with licensing and regulatory issues that involve the sale, service and consumption of alcoholic liquor, including compliance issues with the Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934 and the local liquor control ordinance including drafting amendments and enforcement matters as well as proceedings before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.
The manual on Liquor Licensing and Regulation published by the Illinois Municipal League was created by our attorneys to provide further information on this topic.
We assist clients with election law matters including compliance with the Election Code, referenda matters and election petition matters. Our attorneys also represent local election boards during election petition challenges.
While litigation is always a last resort, we are fierce advocates for our clients in court when situations call for it. From the simplest cases to the most complex, our litigators have the experience to win in administrative proceedings, federal and state litigation and alternative dispute forums, including mediation and arbitration. With our unique skill set, we have obtained several landmark and final judgment rulings for our clients in dispositive motion practice and trial.
Property Issues and Tax Litigation
We routinely assist clients with property issues, such as the purchase and sale of both publicly owned and private real estate property and regularly provide guidance on the complex requirements associated with property tax litigation. Depending on the goals of the municipality, we provide traditional or innovative solutions to ensure that communities maintain sustainable growth.
Our attorneys assist clients with the negotiation of construction contracts, including:
- AIA contract documents
- Bidding of projects
- Bid review and compliance matters
- Litigation of disputes and mechanics lien
- Compliance with the Public Construction Bond Act