Steven M. Elrod

Partner, Elrod Friedman LLP

Steven M. Elrod

Partner, Elrod Friedman LLP


About Steve Elrod

Steve Elrod represents private and public sector clients on land use, zoning and real estate matters. He is the co-founding partner of Elrod Friedman LLP and serves as the firm’s Managing Partner.

Steve is an immediate past-president of the Chicago Bar Association, the largest metropolitan bar association in the nation. He is the Corporation Counsel for the City of Highland Park, and the Village Attorney for the Villages of Deerfield, Glencoe, Lincolnwood and Northbrook. Steve represents owners and developers in a variety of real estate and transactional projects, and is regularly engaged to secure zoning relief, entitlements, incentives and approvals from state and local governments. His practice focuses on:

  • Public-private partnerships
  • Tax incentive and abatement agreements, including tax increment financing (TIF) and special service area (SSA) financing
  • Annexation, subdivision and development agreements
  • Shopping center, multi-family residential and mixed-use developments
  • Affordable and attainable housing programs

Steve has litigated land use issues, including eminent domain, regulatory taking and inverse condemnation, RLUIPA, the First Amendment and the Second Amendment. He drafted, and successfully defended a federal court challenge to, the City of Highland Park Assault Weapons Ban ordinance.

Steve is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he teaches Local Government and Land Use Law. He is a founding member of the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, and he served as the co-chair of the legal advisory committee on the Lori Lightfoot Mayoral Transition Team.

Chambers USA 2020 rankings for Real Estate/Land Use placed Steve in the highest position in Illinois (band 1).


  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, J.D.
  • Tulane University, B.A., magna cum laude
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Chicago Bar Association, Past President
  • Chicago Bar Foundation, Board of Directors
  • Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers guide, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2012-2020
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law – Outstanding Adjunct Professor Award
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Volunteer of the Year, 2015
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law, 2005-2020; Government Relations Law, 2012-2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Chicago Land Use & Zoning Lawyer of the Year, 2018 – 2020
  • The Legal 500 USA, Real Estate & Construction: Land Use/Zoning, 2012, 2014, 2016-2019
  • Ranked No. 1 in Top Ten List of Leading Land Use & Zoning Lawyer in Illinois, Leading Lawyers Network
  • Tree of Life Award for Civic Service, Jewish National Fund
  • Lecturer of Merit Award, National College of District Attorneys


  • Elected Official Immunity in Making Local Zoning Decisions, The Urban Lawyer, June 1, 2010
  • Glossary of Zoning Terms – 2007 Supplement, IICLE – Land Use Law, 2007

Community Service

  • Chicago Bar Association Edward J. Lewis Lawyers in the Classroom Program
  • The Economic Club of Chicago
  • Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, Second Vice President
  • Illinois Local Government Lawyers Association
  • Lambda Alpha International Honorary Land Economics Society
  • North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, Board of Directors
  • Urban Land Institute, Public Private Partnership National Product Council

Speaking Engagements

  • IICLE Local Government Institute 2015-2019
  • Illinois Local Government Lawyers Association Annual Forum, 2020
  • John Marshall 2019 Kratovil Conference: Knick vs Township of Scott
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association Symposium on Gun Violence – October 13, 2017

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