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About Kate

In-depth counsel for obtaining land use and zoning approvals

Kate Duncan advises organizations, institutions and developers in real estate transactions, with extensive experience and an in-depth focus on zoning and land use issues. She helps clients obtain approvals for:

  • Planned developments
  • Zoning amendments
  • Special uses
  • Variations
  • Subdivisions
  • Vacations
  • Dedications
  • Various governmental permits and licenses

She develops trusted working relationships with government officials and staff, and she has an in-depth understanding of interpreting land use and zoning codes. She is an established leader in the community and serves as an elected trustee in the Village of Barrington, Ill.

Kate is the former chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section Council and previously served as commissioner of the Plan Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Village of Barrington, Ill.

Experience in Action

  • Applies in-depth understanding of zoning, land use and real estate transactional skills to help owners, developers, institutions and public entities achieve their goals.
  • Advises clients on and obtains approvals for planned developments, zoning amendments, special uses, variations, subdivisions, vacations, dedications and various governmental permits and licenses.
  • Successfully represents clients on acquisitions and dispositions, development and leasing of commercial properties.
  • Has developed trusted working relationships with government officials and staff in the Chicago area and other markets nationally.


  • Represented a park district in the development of its new headquarters, including a new state-of-the-art field house and community park. Obtained planned development approval and street and alley vacations to assemble the land for construction.
  • Represented a developer on a complex land entitlements approval process for the construction of a large mixed-use tower, including amendments to an existing planned development and master plan, an approval under the Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance, the vacation and dedication of public rights-of-way and air rights, negotiation of easements for a new roadway system and the expansion of a major public right-of-way.
  • Represented a hospital in obtaining planned development approval and various required City of Chicago business licenses.
  • Represented an athletic club in the expansion of its flagship location. Work included adoption of a new planned development and extensive negotiation on the inclusion of a hotel as part of the expanded facilities.
  • Represented developer in its reuse of a Chicago landmark. Her work included approval by the Chicago Landmarks Commission for reuse of a Chicago landmark building.
  • Represented multimodal transportation company in its dispute of the denial of a business license to operate a service in the City of Chicago.
  • Represented client in the extension of a water service line to an unincorporated area. Work included negotiation of easements with approximately 40 property owners and negotiation of agreements with multiple governmental bodies including a road district, a municipality and a county board.

Professional Recognitions

  • Crain’s Chicago Business “Chicago’s Notable Women in Law” (2020)
  • Leading Lawyers "Leading Lawyer" (2018-2023), “Emerging Lawyer” (2015-2017)
  • Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, Outstanding Community Support Award (2021)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Urban Land Institute Chicago, Chicago Product Council (2023)
  • Barrington Village, trustee (2019-present)

  • Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW) Chicago, Network Liaison Committee, co-chair
  • CREW Chicago, CREW Network Member Education Committee (2021-2022)
  • Lambda Alpha International, Ely chapter, member (2013-present)
  • American Bar Association, member
  • Illinois State Bar Association, ADR Section Council, chair (2011-2012)

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