State and Local Government - Illinois

Illinois state government has grown in size and complexity due to increased services provided to citizens, federal mandates, technological advances and emphasized federalism. Professional legislators work within a system of legislative committees and staffs, organized interest groups, political action committees, administrative agencies and constitutional officer executive staffs – all under the intense scrutiny of a mature media corps and public interest groups.

As the state capital, Springfield is the hub of these governmental activities. Informed and effective Illinois governmental representation of business and trade association clients requires targeted, frequent services. Clients with significant interests to protect and advance may find it daunting to reach decision-makers in a multifaceted government structure; in Illinois, state government embraces 144 distinct agencies, boards, commissions and offices, from Springfield to Chicago.

Barnes & Thornburg draws on the experience of its registered lobbyists to directly advocate client interests with constitutional officers, legislators, departmental directors and their staffs. Our lawyer-lobbyists include individuals who have served as counsel to Illinois legislative leaders, constitutional officers, and statewide political parties. Barnes & Thornburg lawyer-lobbyists are regularly present at the Illinois Statehouse during sessions of the General Assembly, providing clients timely political information and an ability to quickly react to sudden developments. We provide communication and legislative reports tailored to the specific needs of clients. The firm has around-the-clock access to the state's computerized Legislative Information System.

We assemble a team of skilled attorneys and support personnel, based on the needs of the client. Many times, it is necessary to deal with an issue on several fronts at one time. For example, firm attorneys may simultaneously pursue administrative rulemaking, legislative advocacy and the defense of a sophisticated commercial lawsuit. Such a multidisciplinary and collegial approach allows us to help clients effectively defend and advance significant interests within Illinois state government.

County and City Government

Barnes & Thornburg lawyer-lobbyists regularly represent clients before the legislative and executive offices of major county governments and cities, such as the city of Chicago. We concentrate on advocating public policies for our clients, including zoning, purchasing, beverage sales and tax matters. We also have represented counties and cities before the U.S. government and Illinois state government, primarily on project funding matters.