When companies want to build new apartment towers, shopping centers or distribution facilities in and around the city of Chicago, they turn to Liz Butler, an outstanding zoning and land use attorney with Elrod Friedman LLP. When they need creative land use planning and legal analysis to plan for the disposition or acquisition of property, they seek her counsel. And when they need to decipher Chicago and suburban zoning requirements? They rely on Butler’s expertise and keen insights.
There's a reason for all of this: Butler gets results. She is an integral part of Elrod Friedman’s premier land use and government law practice, which serves both public and private sectors throughout Illinois.
Butler works closely with the owners and developers of institutional, residential, commercial and industrial property when these clients want to buy land or buildings, dispose of their residential or commercial properties or navigate the often-complex zoning requirements in Chicago and its surrounding communities.
She advises clients in the private sector every day on their interactions with the City of Chicago and suburban communities. Her goal is always the same: to build consensus between neighboring property owners, government representatives and community residents.
This is rarely an easy job. Just ask Mary Dempsey, president of DePaul College Prep in Chicago. Butler represented the not-for-profit institution before the Chicago Plan Commission, Chicago City Council Committee on Zoning, and Department of Planning and Development when DePaul College Prep sought an amendment to a planned development for its new campus.
DePaul College Prep was working on a short deadline to open its new institution. Then COVID hit and slowed the process down considerably. Millions of dollars of renovations would be on hold until DePaul College Prep received the approvals it needed.
Butler, though, was unflappable, Dempsey said. She guided the project through the process and the many layers of approval, even as COVID protocols caused delays. DePaul College Prep's applications were approved, and the $12.6 million renovation and construction of the institutional campus was completed on time.
"Liz is unflappable, a strategic thinker and a skillful advocate," Dempsey said. "At every step of our rather complicated matter she was fully prepared, well-spoken, pleasant and gracious. Our matter proceeded through the sometimes-lengthy procedural steps and approval processes because she was responsive, thoughtful and straightforward throughout the process, and because she knew the law and applied it to the facts of our case."
Richard Gertson, Assistant Director of Planning and Development Services with the City of Arlington, Texas, knows, too, just how strong Butler's legal skills are. He hired Butler as an urbanplanner for the City of Mesquite, Texas' Department of Planning and Development Services. He said that Butler's experience as an urban planner has helped her build her now thriving legal career.
"Knowing how public agencies operate and what motivates them, Liz is able to position her clients for success,” Gerston said. “Liz is adept at making presentations to planning commissions and other regulatory bodies. Her poise, presentation style and clarity help the client put their best foot forward and offer decision-makers well-grounded reasons for approval."
Butler also donates her time taking on pro bono work. She has represented affordable housing and religious institutions, not-for-profit arts organizations in zoning matters and federal prisoners seeking clemency for non-violent low-level drug offenses.