Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins provides customized legal representation to a variety of special districts, including:

  • Fire protection districts
  • Park districts
  • Townships
  • Forest preserve districts
  • Sanitary sewer districts

Our experience serving special districts across the state means we understand the unique budgetary, property, political and personnel issues these entities face.

As a full-service local government firm, we serve as general counsel to special districts as well as advise on unique or discrete projects, tapping our strong team of litigators and others with particular strengths as needed.

We counsel special districts on a wide range of issues including:


We regularly assist our clients in addressing the legal complexities and requirements associated with budget, bonds, tax levy, debt financing and other specialized financial issues, including tax increment financing, special assessments, special service areas and the impacts of downtown redevelopment projects and developer incentive agreements.

Property Issues

Our attorneys are experienced in all property issues and transactions affecting local governments. Examples of the types of property issues we can assist special district clients with include condemnation work, development and preparation of impact fee ordinances or agreements with developers, the purchase and sale of public real and personal property, property tax and property tax exemption issues, the granting and obtaining of easements for various purposes and providing advice and guidance on the construction of new buildings and methods of financing such construction.

Construction Law

We have experience in public sector construction law and litigation, including the contract process, bid and subcontracting issues, acquisition and development, mechanics’ liens, letters of credit, surety bonds, leasing, lending, foreclosures, methods of financing public construction projects and general assistance in ensuring timely completion of projects within the agreed upon budget. While litigation is always a last resort, we are fierce advocates for our clients in court in situations that call for it.

Zoning and Development

We have counseled our municipal and special district clients in the need for or impacts of annexation, zoning, subdivision, construction and general community growth.

Labor and Employment Law

We bring the full power of our labor and employment practice to bear for our special district clients, including ensuring compliance with legal requirements related to personnel policies and handbooks. We also counsel on the hiring, retention, discipline and removal of employees, as well as issues or claims related to compliance with state and federal laws, including employment discrimination, personnel records, prevailing wage requirements, overtime, family and medical leave requirements, HIPAA and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Collective Bargaining

We have extensive experience negotiating various contracts for local government clients across the state. Our attorneys have successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements with the Federation of Police, the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association. Clients also benefit from our experience with labor board cases and related litigation.

Board Practices and Procedures

With our deep roots in local government law, we bring tremendous depth to counseling special districts on the regular practices and procedures that apply to the basic operations of all local governmental units in Illinois. This includes counseling on the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act, board practices and procedures, agenda preparation, board policies and board trainings.

Election Law

Our election law team regularly counsels special districts and other local governmental clients on their obligations in complying with the Illinois Election Code and related statutory requirements. We advise our clients on the critical documents and procedures for the placement of referenda questions on the ballot, preparation of nominating petitions and related documents, campaign finance reporting and recording requirements.