Gregory T. Smith

Partner, Elrod Friedman LLP

Gregory T. Smith

Partner, Elrod Friedman LLP


About Greg Smith

Greg Smith is an economic development, land use, and local government focused attorney. As a partner at Elrod Friedman LLP, he works as general counsel and special counsel for public and private sector clients. Greg serves as Village Attorney for the Village of Berkeley, special economic development counsel for the City of Aurora, Plan Commission counsel for the Village of Oak Park, and assists in representation of many of the Firm’s other clients.

Greg’s economic development experience spans a wide range of incentives and public-private partnership structures focused on improving economic conditions and generating additional tax revenues through high quality developments. He has a deep understanding of development incentives such as tax increment financing (TIF districts), special service areas, sales and utility tax sharing, and property tax abatements. Greg works with multidisciplinary teams on projects across real estate sectors including industrial, warehousing, gaming, office, retail, mixed-use, and residential, including affordable housing.

Greg’s land use work includes preparing and implementing development agreements, zoning approvals, annexations, leases, easements, real estate dispositions, and construction contracts. He also advises public and private sector clients on compliance with statutory and constitutional requirements applicable to processing land use development applications. Greg also advises on real estate transactions including purchases, sales, leases, and license agreements.

For public sector clients, Greg provides counsel on sunshine laws, contracts, ethics, intergovernmental relationships, taxation, and code compliance. His work includes negotiating and advising on software agreements, capital improvement projects, ordinances, and numerous municipal policies.

Greg also has broad litigation experience in Federal and State courts, with a focus on claims for breach of contract, equitable relief, and zoning disputes.


  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D.
  • DePaul University, B.S.
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


  • IICLE Municipal Law: Financing, Tax, and Municipal Property 2022 Edition
  • IICLE Land Use Law: Practice and Procedure 2021 Edition
  • Illinois Municipal League Manual on Municipal Business Regulation, Taxation and Licensing, 2020 Edition
  • Illinois Municipal League – The Sunshine Laws: Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Acts, 2020 Edition

Representative Matters

  • Representation of Vermilion Development in obtaining complex development and finance approvals for mixed-use, multi-facility public-private partnership for a University of Illinois project.
  • Representation of the City of Aurora in negotiating sales and property tax incentives for a US Foods facility.
  • Representation of the City of Aurora in negotiating economic incentives and land use development agreements for the Hollywood Casino relocation project and the Avalon Heights mixed use project.
  • Representation of a board of education in litigation culminating with the Illinois Supreme Court confirming the contiguity requirements in the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act.
  • Representation of a local government in negotiating and drafting an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority resulting in millions of dollars of additional compensation being paid by the Authority related to its condemnation of public property.
  • Representation of a local government in litigation resulting in millions of dollars of Federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery assistance being obtained and used to relocate dozens of homes and to acquire flood-prone property.

Community Service and Public Service

  • Illinois Municipal League Home Rule Attorneys Committee
  • Illinois Local Government Lawyers Association
  • Chicago Bar Association, Local Government Committee

Speaking Engagements

Greg has presented on more than  80 occasions on a variety of land use and government topics, including the following:

  • Illinois Municipal League Annual Conference “Anticipating & Getting Ahead of the Next Economic Slowdown,” 2019
  • Illinois Municipal League Annual Conference “Consolidating and Dissolving Units of Government: Getting Ahead of the Curve,” 2017
  • Illinois Municipal League Annual Conference “Economic Incentives Beyond TIF Districts: Creative Solutions to Promote Development,” 2017
  • Illinois Municipal League Annual Conference “Intergovernmental Relationships: Lessons Learned and Best Practices,” 2016


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