Municipal Law and Prosecution
At the core of my practice is a strong emphasis on Municipal Law and Prosecution. In this field, I have been recognized as a SuperLawyer and a Leading Lawyer, and in the past, I have been recognized as a Rising Star and Emerging Lawyer by multiple independent, merit-based rating agencies. My experience in the law is relatively vast, across multiple practice areas. The reason for this diverse experience base is simple: municipal law is a field that prepares an attorney for nearly any practice area. In representing units of government, I handle every type of issue and conflict that occurs in a business setting, and also handle the governmental-specific areas of law that are unique to public practice.
I have represented units of government ranging in size from hundreds of thousands in population down to less than a hundred in population. Over the past decade and a half, I have amassed a considerable range of experience on diverse areas of the law–and in each area, I have worked diligently to become an expert, familiar with the specific nuances and regulatory requirements. I have also become accustomed to being quick on my feet, able to respond to emergencies and urgent questions, whether under the pressure of a public crisis that is unfolding, or whether answering questions during a televised public meeting. My clients trust and rely upon my advice, and solicit it on issues that are both legal and practical in nature.
- I have prosecuted tens of thousands of cases and conducted thousands of trials, giving me the natural feel for litigation that can only come from practical, in-courtroom experience. I have prosecuted cases both as a municipal attorney, and also on behalf of the state’s attorneys office through a cross-prosecution agreement. I have also handled thousands of administrative hearings, ranging from code enforcement matters to property forfeitures and license revocations, and have defended the decisions arising out of such cases through circuit court challenges. I have successfully defended circuit court judgments in prosecution cases through the state appellate and supreme courts.
- I have been appointed as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney to represent units of government in cross-government conflict cases involving a dispute regarding the relative importance of state and county level public officials and the obligations of county government to fund specified state offices. In that case, I was specifically selected by the Circuit Court Clerk of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, out of any attorney in the state, to represent the unique governmental interests of her state office, and was able to produce an outcome that resulted in her office maintaining full staffing and funding through expanded use of statutory, restricted-purpose special funds.
- I regularly advise my clients on open meetings and freedom of information requirements and obligations, as well as compliance with similar regulatory requirements. I represent my clients in their public meetings, and when litigation arises out of their actions or decisions, I zealously represent them and uphold their decisions in Court.
- I have worked to become a knowledgeable and creative counselor with regard to public finance. In that realm, my experience ranges from devising new public/private partnership and financing methodology to enable high-impact redevelopment projects, compliance with complex regulatory requirements applicable to state and federally funded projects, and devising purchasing policies and best practices for governmental transparency and efficiency. I represent public bodies with budgets cumulatively in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and am responsible for providing clear advice regarding their duties and obligations. I prepare and review contracts and agreements for my clients for all of their purchasing, contracting and legal obligations, giving me experience in a wide array of legal fields, as detailed here.
- In one instance, when a client lost its finance director immediately before annual tax levies were required to be passed, I stepped in and prepared the full host of tax levy ordinances and memoranda, including all supporting documents, calculations and memos. That process also included the preparation of special service area tax rolls listing thousands of parcels across the community. The levies were implemented with 100% accuracy, including catching a number of errors made in previous tax levies by financial professionals–errors that were able to be corrected for prospective years through my careful attention to detail.
- I work directly with law enforcement agencies to meet their unique needs. I engage in on-the-street ride alongs and similar activity to understand the local conditions and challenges, and then work to implement ordinances that address those challenges, such as drafting and enforcing a first of its kind ‘disruptive intoxication’ ordinance. I provide my officers with practical training in use of force, search and seizure, caselaw updates and law enforcement liability concerns, including the provision of specialized training on forced/surprise entry, weapon deployment and legal/tactical decision interface for SWAT and Special Operations Teams. I have investigated and provided legal review for use of force and wrongful death cases, and have successfully defended police departments from multi-million dollar lawsuits seeking damages alleging police misconduct (up to and including allegations of wrongful death). I also maintain Level III CJIS record access certification.
- In addition to working with law enforcement agencies, I support my clients with risk management services, as detailed here.
- As detailed on this page, I have incredibly broad experience in real estate related matters at all levels. Having represented both private entities and governmental bodies, I understand the pressures and interests from both sides. With my background teaching conflict resolution and negotiation, I am able to bridge the conflicts and find integrative solutions, and then document them in clear, enforceable agreements.
- I support fire departments and EMS providers through all aspects of their operations, including HIPAA and health care regulatory compliance. In addition, having previously served as a licensed volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician, I have a unique insight into the practical side of fire and emergency medicine that enables me to be far more effective in counselling my clients.
- With both police and fire, the nature of my practice is to be available 24/7, to respond to emergency calls and provide immediate insight. On known high-volume days and at times of special events, I go out with my firefighters and police officers to provide in the field, tactical level advice on search and seizure, forced entry, use of force, appropriate charges, and mitigation of EMS liability. I partner directly with the service providers in the agencies I serve, as a peer and trusted source of reliable information and advice. I provide my co-employees with tools to de-escalate and to approach conflict from alternative directions, seeking peaceful and productive outcomes.
- I have researched, developed and implemented comprehensive, ordinance-based regulatory models to address and resolve complex community issues, and have lead the interdisciplinary teams that enforce those codes in the field. I lead my teams from the front, participating in the execution of search warrants and inspections, so that I can directly experience and understand the issues presented by a given property or entity, and so that I can be an effective advocate for the interests of the communities I represent.
- I have designed and implemented full licensure and inspection programs, providing clear regulatory standards and also providing a full range of procedural due process for those subject to regulation. For example, I created and implemented a hotel licensure ordinance providing for the routine inspection and certification of hotels in one community, based upon documented public health and safety concerns. I then lead an interdisciplinary team of police officers, firefighters, building inspectors and code enforcement officers in implementing that licensure process and establishing inspection standards. When the inspections revealed that one large (roughly 120 room) hotel was woefully inadequate in terms of code compliance, I prosecuted the administrative hearings that resulted in the revocation of its license, and its ultimate closure–clearing that site for potential future redevelopment and abating a significant public safety hazard.
- I counsel my clients in compliance requirements under Housing and Urban Development regulations, Federal Transit Administration regulations, state and federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations and a host of other similar obligations.
- I have successfully defended my clients’ use of tax-advantaged special service area backed bonds against an Internal Revenue Service audit alleging improper, non-exempt use of millions of dollars of funding.
- I have worked with whole communities, to implement comprehensive sanitary sewage conveyance and treatment systems, on multiple occasions, to address long standing environmental law violations–in multiple cases under circumstances where the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency was threatening to condemn individual houses, and in one case where an entire town was threatened for condemnation. In instances such as these, I partner and work collaboratively with engineers and other professionals to develop a comprehensive and detailed approach to what can be truly existential threats to a community.
- I have served as general counsel for a number of private civil engineering firms engaged in municipal law work, and have both negotiated their professional services agreements and also defended them in litigation ranging from allegations of design defects to a federal lawsuit alleging a civil RICO conspiracy against a municipality and its consultants. This background has given me a well-rounded view of professional services agreements and the risks inherent in them for both parties, which enables me to more effectively negotiate and draft such agreements. Based on that experience, I also singlehanded developed a methodology to reduce professional services expenses by combining duplicative services included in water rate studies, operating license renewal submittals, plant expansion studies and long-term capital budgeting into an integrated engineering proposal that is anticipated to reduce planned engineering expenses for a client by approximately 40% over a five year period.
- I have represented multiple clients before the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) with regard to Facility Planning Area (FPA) determinations. Under state and federal law, CMAP is the agency responsible for determining the areas within which Chicagoland municipalities can provide municipal wastewater services, and thus it serves as a significant barrier to planned growth for some communities. My work with CMAP has enabled my clients to engage in responsible growth served by well-planned public infrastructure projects.
- I have negotiated and drafted an intergovernmental development agreement providing planning and zoning authorization for a $50M wastewater plant expansion/reconstruction in the heart of a community’s residential and commercial corridor.
- I have defended clients from state and federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory inquiries into alleged deviations from operating standards, unplanned sanitary sewer surpluses and unpermitted discharges, and similar regulatory inquiries and charges. In addition, I have worked directly with the EPA on pilot programs that expand the variety of treatment methods available for the treatment and discharge of wastewater, including a pilot program to utilize treated effluent for irrigation of residential areas.
Explaining the entirety of my municipal law experience on one page is simply not possible, because in the course of my career, I have embraced challenges as opportunities and have counseled my clients through incredibly difficult moments, so that they can achieve great successes.
Frieders Law, LLC
P.O. Box 1009
St. Charles, IL 60174