Core Values in Action

"At Freeborn, we're committed to excellence in representing our clients in their business development, lobbying, and regulatory interactions with Illinois government, through the development and implementation of effective governmental strategies."

John Stevens is a Springfield-based Partner in the Government and Regulatory Law Practice Group.

John assists clients in areas including Government Relations, Procurement, Gaming, Lobbying, Insurance Corporate Representation and Regulatory Law.

He has more than 30 years of experience in assisting clients with legislative, regulatory, government procurement and public employee collective bargaining issues. John’s experience includes developing and implementing comprehensive government relations programs, drafting complex legislation, lobbying the legislative and executive branches of government, negotiating and administering public employee collective bargaining agreements, and counseling clients on asset privatizations, public pension issues, public finance issues and municipal bond sales.

He previously served as General Counsel to the Illinois Attorney General and two Illinois Comptrollers. His past experience also includes serving as Chief Counsel to the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (formerly known as the Illinois Bureau of the Budget), Deputy Counsel to the Governor and legal advisor to the Procurement Policy Board.

Since joining Freeborn more than a decade ago, John has planned and implemented State government relations programs, including legislative and executive branch lobbying, government procurement and contracting assistance, gaming acquisitions, licensing and regulatory compliance initiatives. He has been successful in passing, amending and defeating many legislative initiatives on behalf of his clients.

He also assists both corporate and not-for-profit clients with licensing and franchising issues, and with economic development issues, including securing State grants, loans and other economic incentives for businesses locating or expanding operations in Illinois.

Recent procurement matters:

  • Represented the successful vendor in retaining the award of the prison telephone service contract following a multi-faceted challenge from the unsuccessful vendor.
  • Represented the unsuccessful vendor in challenging the award of the Medicaid Third Party Liability contract to a competitor, resulting in the cancellation of the award to our client’s competitor.
  • Represented successful cultivation center applicant receiving one of the initial permits under the Illinois medical cannabis program.
  • Represented a vendor in challenging a RFP issued to reduce the number of vendors providing durable medical equipment to the State’s Medicaid program, resulting in cancellation of the RFP.
  • Currently representing a gaming company interested in the pending RFP for the Lottery Private Manager contract.
  • Currently representing a vendor in a multi-faceted procurement challenge to the Statewide Licensing and Permitting Solution award to a competitor.

As a member of the Firm's Transportation Team, John Stevens works with transportation clients to plan and implement government relations programs. In addition, John guides clients with public contract procurement strategies including developing legally compliant marketing programs and responding to regulatory issues such as contractor debarment and bid protests.

Honors & Awards: 
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Government Relations Practice, 2007 - present
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - Governmental, Lobbying and Administrative Law - 2017 (cited in multiple years)
Professional Activities: 
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • State Law Resources Group
  • Chicago Bar Association
Speaking Engagements: 
  • Presenter, “Changing Landscape of State Procurement and Contracting in Illinois,” Webinar (November, 2012).
  • Presenter, “Doing Business with the State of Illinois,” Illinois State Chamber of Commerce (August, 2011).
  • Presenter, “Ethics Reforms in Illinois.” Ethics CLE (June 2011).
15 Aug News

Twelve Freeborn Attorneys Ranked as “Best Lawyers” for 2017

Partners Roger H. Bickel, Theodore I. Brenner, Joel T. Cooper, Jeffery M. Cross, Ronald S. Evans, Andrew L. Goldstein, Mark R. Goodman, David C. Gustman, John E. Stevens, Eileen B. Trost, Alexander S. Vesselinovitch and Eugene F. Zelek, Jr. have been named to the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.
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J.D., Northern Illinois University College of Law
B.A., Loras College, with honors

State Bar Admissions

  • Illinois 

Federal Bar Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois