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 a 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
  • Affordable 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 Land Use and Local Government Law. He is a founding member of the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic and serves on its Board of Directors.

Chambers USA 2022 placed Steve in its highest possible ranking level. Here is a link to the full Chambers 2022 Ranking: Link


  • 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
  • American College of Real Estate Attorneys (ACREL)
  • Chicago Bar Association, Past President
  • Urban Land Institute, Chicago Local Council
  • The Economic Club of Chicago
  • Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers guide, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Tier 1, 2012 – 2020; Star Individual, 2021 – 2022
  • CBA Vanguard Award, 2023
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law – Outstanding Adjunct Professor Award
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law – Volunteer of the Year Award
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law, 2005-2020; Government Relations Law, 2012-2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Chicago Land Use & Zoning Lawyer of the Year, 2018
  • 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

Representative Matters

  • Representation of Northwestern Medicine/Central DuPage Hospital in securing zoning and entitlements as part of a public private partnership with the Village of Winfield for the establishment of a retail and office district and expansion of hospital facilities.
  • Representation of Regency Centers in obtaining land use and TIF approvals for the Mellody Farm Shopping Center in Vernon Hills, IL.
  • Representation of Greystar Development in securing land use and zoning approvals for an age-restricted multifamily residential development complex.
  • Representation of the City of Chicago in the establishment of the multi-billion dollar Red Line Transit TIF District.
  • Representation of the Village of Lincolnwood in the redevelopment and public financing of the former Purple Hotel site for the District 1860 mixed-use Development project.
  • Representation of Buckeye Community Hope Foundation in securing a multi-million settlement in a housing discrimination lawsuit filed against the Village of Tinley Park, IL.
  • Representation of the Village of Northbrook, IL in the comprehensive redevelopment and public financing of the 105 acre Northbrook Court Shopping Center Property (ongoing).


  • IICLE Commercial Real Estate:  Financing and Transactional Issues 2021 Edition
  • IICLE Land Use Law:  Special Topics 2021 Edition
  • 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
  • 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

Speaking Engagements

  • IRMA 10th Annual Education Summit, 2023
  • ICSC Chicago Roundtable Group Leader, 2023
  • IICLE Land Use Law in Illinois, 2022
  • Chicago Bar Association – Counseling Local Governments, 2022
  • American Planning Association, Illinois Chapter State Conference 2021
  • Chicago Bar Association Local Government Committee, 2021
  • IICLE Local Government Institute 2015-2022
  • Illinois Local Government Lawyers Association Annual Forum, 2020
  • John Marshal Kratovil Real Estate Conference 2017, 2019
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association Symposium on Gun Violence October 2017

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