At Hinshaw, we have decades of experience advising, counseling, and representing public officials and entities in state and federal lawsuits and as to many other legal matters. Our clients include government employees, municipalities, park districts, school districts and other public bodies.

Many of our Municipal Practice attorneys have a unique understanding of government as the core of their professional knowledge is derived from high-level federal, state and local public service. We therefore offer not only a unique ability to develop effective strategies for our municipal clients, but a talent for knowing how to do so within the context of our clients' unique restrictions.

General Counsel

Hinshaw has assisted governmental bodies function properly and smoothly through the handling of all types of legal issues confronting their government organization and operations. Among other activities, we have aided public entities by: advising on and drafting policies, procedures and legislation; handling public and private sector financial transactions; lobbying; and securing government funding assistance. We have also defended public entities in all types of federal and state litigation.

Municipal and Civil Rights Liability

Hinshaw has represented state and local officials and public entities in virtually every type of civil rights and municipal liability case imaginable. One of our senior partners wrote, and has updated regularly, the leading treatise in this area of law, "Illinois Municipal Tort Liability." This publication focuses on liability issues facing units of government and public officials in state and federal litigation. Both the Illinois Supreme Court and lower courts have cited this publication in judicial opinions.

The countless types of cases we have successfully defended have involved:

  • Claims of discrimination in the provision (or lack thereof) of governmental benefits, regulation or services
  • Claims of fabrication of evidence and/or malicious prosecution
  • Claims of false arrest and excessive force
  • Claims of illegal municipal zoning and local land use regulations
  • Claims of retaliation in violation of the First Amendment
  • Federal class action civil rights claims

Public Law and Finance

Hinshaw helps governmental entities grow and thrive by providing comprehensive assistance with public and private financial deals. We provide borrower's and underwriter's counsel services, and our Municipal Practice attorneys are supported by the firm's robust tax and real estate practice. Services we have provided include:

  • Acting as bond counsel in drafting resolutions, ordinances and other proceedings and, where appropriate, trust indentures
  • Acting as underwriter's counsel in connection with tax-exempt or taxable financing by municipalities and other public bodies
  • Advising clients of new local or state legislation
  • Lobbying before state legislatures
  • Rendering unqualified legal opinions as to the validity and, where appropriate, tax-exempt status of the securities in question
  • Representing local public entities before regulatory agency hearings

Specifically, we represent local governments generally and in connection with financing matters concerning bond issues, federal and state legislation, grant development, tax anticipation warrants, and tax issues, including tax and rate objections.

Employment and Labor

At the federal, state and local levels, we help public entities manage their human resources by providing advice, counsel and representation on labor and employment matters.

We represent public entities in employment matters involving, among other issues: breach of contract; discrimination; employer's liability; and terminations, layoffs and suspensions. Our Municipal and Employment Law attorneys also assist public bodies with drafting and revising employee and management handbooks, personnel rules and policies.

Additionally, we advise, counsel and represent public entities in labor matters such as: collective bargaining negotiations and labor contract disputes; union election campaigns and organizational drives; unfair labor practice charges; and other difficult labor situations, including dealing with the public relations aspect of strikes.

Real Estate

Our municipal and real estate attorneys routinely help public entities manage the legal aspects of their diverse and often unique property-related endeavors and challenges. The numerous construction, real estate, zoning and land use, and other matters with which we have assisted our public clients include:

  • Public bidding
  • Construction and professional services contracts
  • Construction litigation
  • Land use planning and zoning
  • Leasing, financing, sales and acquisitions of real estate
  • Property taxation
  • Performance and payment bonds and other surety matters


In addition to the many real estate services that Hinshaw provides to public entities, we also aid clients with broad-based and sophisticated environmental advice, counsel and representation. Issues on which we have frequently assisted governmental bodies include:

  • Civil and criminal environmental enforcement cases
  • Compliance counseling
  • Development of internal compliance and risk management programs
  • Disaster response
  • Sales and purchases of property
  • Self-audits

We also actively consult with clients on loss prevention and risk management issues in their new ventures and ongoing operations. Issues that we advise on in this context include: process risk management, indoor air quality, asbestos, mold and other types of potential exposure, and ongoing remediation of property.

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