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  • Holland & Knight's Steven Elrod to form new law firm

    Big law firm billing pressures are spotlighted in an exodus by?a former Cook County sheriff's son and nine other lawyers.

    Steven Elrod

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    Steven Elrod, who built a municipal government practice at Holland & Knight after the law firm opened a Chicago office in 2000, is leaving to start a firm with the 10-lawyer group, showcasing billing pressures at large law firms.

    The practice has represented mostly North Shore communities in thorny development issues, including Northbrook’s annexation in the late 1980s of 770 acres known as Techny and Lincolnwood’s dealings with the notorious Purple Hotel. More recently, Elrod defended Highland Park’s ban on assault rifles against the Illinois State Rifle Association.

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    79彩票注册网址Elrod, 62, says the move will allow him to freeze hourly billing rates for government clients at about one-third of the “upper $800s” standard amid “tremendous pressure” at big law firms to increase those rates.

    79彩票注册网址“You could imagine the problem it creates in the firm, the tension,” he says. “Our local governments don’t need the (broad geographic) platform Holland & Knight provides.” He adds, “The split makes sense on a number of levels”--including giving younger attorneys leeway to expand their practices.

    79彩票注册网址David Wirt, who succeeded Elrod last year as executive partner of the Chicago office, declined to comment. A spokeswoman said the firm, with 67 remaining attorneys here, doesn't plan to replicate a municipal government and zoning practice in Chicago, though it does want to expand its commercial real estate practice locally.

    79彩票注册网址Peter Friedman, 57, the other name partner in Elrod Friedman, is Winnetka’s village attorney and represents redevelopers of McDonald’s former headquarters and other 79彩票注册网址en Arches sites in Oak Brook. He also helped City Hall establish the Chicago Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

    79彩票注册网址The new firm, at 325 N. LaSalle St., will retain the group's 18 public-sector clients, which account for about 60 percent of overall business, according to Elrod.

    He is the son of the late Richard Elrod, who was Cook County sheriff for 16 years and a judge. Grandfather Arthur, a Russian immigrant, was an aide to political kingmaker Jacob Arvey and succeeded him as a Chicago ward committeeman when Arvey served in World War II.

    Elrod says he hasn’t been tempted to continue the tradition: “I enjoy representing the public sector as a lawyer rather than being the public sector itself.” He did, however, recently finish a term as president of the Chicago Bar Association.

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