Jerry Callaghan is a Partner in the Real Estate Practice Group and has more than 30 years of experience in handling a broad range of land use matters involving residential, retail, office, industrial and mixed-use developments.

Jerry routinely represents clients in zoning matters involving complex planned unit developments. He negotiates and drafts agreements relating to annexation, subdivision development, TIF financing, public infrastructure improvements, sales tax sharing and host community benefits.

Jerry counsels clients on environmental permitting issues related to land development. He represents national waste companies with regard to the siting of landfills and waste transfer stations and power companies with regard to generating facilities.

He regularly appears before planning commissions, zoning boards, village boards and city councils. He has handled numerous trials and appeals involving land use issues, including zoning, impact fees, eminent domain and takings.

Jerry is a frequent speaker on land use and real estate topics and has spoken at seminars and conferences of the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Municipal League, American Planning Association and American Bar Association.

Jerry Callaghan focuses on Development, Government Relations and Regulatory Law, and Land Use and Zoning. He is particularly adept in serving transportation clients by applying his experience in TIF financing, public infrastructure improvements, host community benefits, and facility siting. He served as counsel to the State of Illinois in connection with the Joliet Arsenal redevelopment, represented a major railroad in securing development incentives in connection with a $140 million redevelopment of a switching yard and is currently representing an industrial development company with the redevelopment of a 200-acre site for a major distribution facility.

Jerry also contributes to The Freeborn Dispatch Blog, the firm's transportation blog. 

Representative Matters

  • Land use entitlements and TIF financing for a mixed-use development in northwest Indiana.
  • Land use entitlements for light industrial developments in three Chicago suburbs for a high-tech manufacturer.
  • Zoning and royalty agreements for several landfill gas-to-energy projects. 
  • Land use entitlements for thousands of single-family, townhome, condominium and apartment units in the Chicago suburbs.
  • Coal and Natural Gas Power Plant Siting Projects in the Chicago suburbs.
  • Trial counsel for a Chicago-area county, defending the first transportation impact fee ordinance in Illinois.
  • TIF financing for a student housing project in downstate Illinois.
  • Zoning approvals for sound walls along a railroad right-of-way.
  • Trial counsel for owner of 1,200 acres in Texas, challenging the constitutionality of zoning.
  • TIF and special service area financing for several residential developments.
  • TIF financing for the redevelopment of a 400-acre rail yard in northwest Indiana.
  • Land acquisition counsel for a local government that acquired more than 2,000 acres of open space.
  • Development approvals for a 950-acre pharmaceutical and research facility.
  • Edge tax credits for a Chicago-area manufacturer of medical equipment.
  • Land use entitlements, TIF financing and sales tax sharing for numerous big-box-anchored shopping centers in the Chicago area.
  • Development approvals and special service area financing for a development containing two national corporate headquarters.
  • High impact business incentives from the State of Illinois for an out-of-state company locating in Illinois.
  • Land use entitlements and business district financing for a 600,000 sq. ft. suburban shopping center.
  • Land use entitlements for a corporate campus that serves as the international headquarters for a large corporation.
  • TIF financing for hotel projects in Illinois and Indiana.
  • Structuring and obtaining $59 million in upfront development incentives for a lifestyle shopping center in suburban Chicago.
  • Development approvals for 1.7 million sq. ft. high-tech office and research campus.
  • Siting approvals and environmental permitting for numerous solid waste landfills and transfer stations.
Honors & Awards: 
  • "AV® Preeminent™" under the Martindale Hubbell® Rating System - highest possible rating
  • Leading Lawyers Network Magazine - Top 100 Real Estate-Related Lawyers - 2016
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2017 (cited in multiple years)
Speaking Engagements: 
  • Moderator, "Cities Within Suburbia: Mixed-Use & Transit-Oriented Developments & Trends" Panel, State of The Chicago Suburbs, Presented by Biznow (May 11, 2017)



J.D., University of Illinois College of Law
B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

State Bar Admissions


Federal Bar Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois