Peter M. Friedman is the practice group leader of Holland & Knight's Chicago Real Estate and Local Government Group. He has an accomplished and broad real estate and government law practice, representing both private and public sector clients in all phases of real estate finance, acquisition, development, zoning and land use matters.

Mr. Friedman was selected to serve as co-counsel and ethics officer for the transition team of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. As part of this representation, he advises the administration on all issues related to Illinois ethics, procurement, personnel, employment and government law.

On real estate and transactional projects in Chicago, throughout Illinois and nationwide, Mr. Friedman's private sector clients include property owners, pension funds, tenants, developers and private equity groups. In the public sector, he is general counsel for the city of Des Plaines, Ill., and village attorney for the villages of Lake Bluff and Winnetka, Ill.

Mr. Friedman represents numerous local and state government agencies, municipalities and counties on all aspects of real estate, development and government law. He represents the state of Illinois and the Illinois Medical District on significant public-private partnerships involving large multiuse developments as well as infrastructure and public transportation projects.

Mr. Friedman serves as general counsel to the Chicago Association of Realtors and is special outside counsel to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and its Division of Nuclear Safety as well as the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact and Commission.

Mr. Friedman counsels private and public sector clients on all aspects of zoning and land use matters, legislative authority, parliamentary procedure, personnel, contracts and other governmental issues. He regularly prepares comprehensive landmark and historic district rules and regulations, zoning and land use ordinances, tree protection regulations, sign regulations, bulk restrictions, personnel policy manuals, franchise agreements, annexation agreements, boundary agreements, tax incentive and abatement agreements, and business district redevelopment plans. Mr. Friedman also has special knowledge and experience in environmental law.

Known nationally for his First Amendment litigation experience, Mr. Friedman has successfully defended the firm's nationally known model on adult use zoning and licensing regulations against challenges in federal and state courts.

Mr. Friedman has defended numerous lawsuits challenging local zoning and land use controls. He has handled several local government lawsuits involving civil rights, annexation disputes, contract actions and environmental enforcement. Mr. Friedman has argued cases in Federal District and Appellate Courts and at all levels of state court, including successfully before the Illinois Supreme Court.

Upon appointment by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Mr. Friedman serves on the board of the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) and as chairman of the CCLBA's property acquisition committee. He previously served as judicial clerk to the Honorable Suzanne B. Conlon, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and prior to that, worked for five years on the staff and as legislative director for Congressman John Porter (IL-10) in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Friedman is an adjunct professor of law at John Marshall Law School, where he teaches Historic Preservation Law. He is a fellow in the 2012 class of Leadership Greater Chicago and a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program.


  • American University, Washington College of Law, J.D.
  • Allegheny College, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Illinois
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Government Relations Practice, 2013-2020; Land Use and Zoning Law, 2016-2020; Real Estate Law, 2017-2020  
  • Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2009, 2013-2019
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2011-2019
  • The Legal 500 USA, Real Estate & Construction: Land Use/Zoning, 2019
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star, 2014
  • Corporate Counsel Edition, Super Lawyers magazine, May 2009


Speaking Engagements