Steven M. Elrod is a Chicago attorney who represents private and public sector clients on land use, zoning and real estate matters. He is the co-chairman of Holland & Knight's National Land Use and Government Team. He served as the executive partner of the firm's Chicago office and on Holland & Knight's national directors committee for two consecutive terms.

Mr. Elrod currently serves as president of the Chicago Bar Association, the largest metropolitan bar association in the nation. He is also the corporation counsel for the City of Highland Park, Ill., and the village attorney for the Villages of Deerfield, Glencoe, Lincolnwood and Northbrook. Mr. Elrod 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 and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities

Mr. Elrod has extensive experience in the litigation of land use issues, including eminent domain, regulatory taking and inverse condemnation, RLUIPA, the First Amendment and the Second Amendment.

Mr. Elrod is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he teaches Local Government and Land Use Law. He is also the past chairman of the board of directors of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing law-related and civic education to elementary and high school students. Mr. Elrod served as a co-chair and legal advisor on the Lori Lightfoot Mayoral Transition Team.


  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D.
  • Tulane University, B.A., magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Illinois
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Urban Land Institute, Public/Private Partnership Product Council
  • Chicago Bar Association, President
  • Chicago Bar Foundation, Board of Directors
  • Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, Second Vice President
  • Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, Board of Directors
  • Lambda Alpha International Honorary Land Economics Society
  • The Economic Club of Chicago
  • Highwood Park - Highwood Legal Aid Clinic, Board of Directors
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2012-2019
  • 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, 2016
  • Tree of Life Award for Civic Service, Jewish National Fund
  • Lecturer of Merit Award, National College of District Attorneys
  • Outstanding Adjunct Professor Award, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law


Speaking Engagements