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Richard J. Veenstra

Partner

Practice Areas

Education

  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 2003
  • Elmhurst University (formerly Elmhurst College), B.S. in Finance and Political Science, conferred magna cum laude, 2000

Bar Admissions & Licenses

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

Rick Veenstra has over 25 years of experience in Illinois state and local government.  Rick concentrates his practice on matters related to local government, including serving as the chief legal officer to Illinois’ second largest city, and advising clients on development and zoning, procurement, legislative, licensing, ethics, and compliance issues.

Rick interned for the Illinois House of Representatives throughout college and law school. Following his admission to the bar, Rick was appointed an assistant state’s attorney for DuPage County, serving first as a criminal prosecutor and later an attorney representing county government. After working in private practice and in government relations representing municipalities, Rick returned to the State’s Attorney’s Office as deputy chief of its civil bureau and head of its governmental representation and special litigation division. In 2017, Rick was appointed corporation counsel of the City of Aurora and led successful efforts to modernize its Code of Ordinances and reorganize its law department. Since joining Schain Banks, Rick has provided legal representation to many of its public and private sector clients. From 2023 – 2024, Rick served as president of the DuPage County Bar Association, the largest county-based bar association in Illinois, after previously serving as chair of its local government section. He remains active in the DCBA and has taken on leadership roles within the Illinois State Bar Association, including service as Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Government Lawyers and as Secretary of the Local Government Law Section Council.

Over the years, Rick has drafted numerous laws and ordinances to protect vulnerable victims of crime and promote ethics in government. He developed the process that became known as the “DuPage Model” of local government consolidation that is codified as Division 5-44 of the Counties Code and now available statewide. A former township trustee with over a decade of service on municipal planning and zoning commissions, Rick understands the challenges public officials face balancing competing interests when making decisions on behalf of their constituents.

  • • Member and Past President, DuPage County Bar Association
  • • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • • Member and Secretary, Local Government Section Council, Illinois State Bar Association
  • • Member and Past Chair, Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Government Lawyers
  • • Member and Past Chair, Illinois Municipal League Home Rule Lawyers Committee
  • • Member and Past Chair, DuPage County Bar Association Local Government Section
  • • Assembly Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • • Member, Illinois Local Governmental Lawyers Association
  • • Past Member, Kane County and Chicago Bar Associations
  • • Past Member, Illinois Prosecutors’ Bar Association
  • • Special Commendation, DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office - 2009, 2017
  • Former Township Trustee
  • Former Planning and Zoning Commissioner
  • Financial Secretary, Knights of Columbus Council #17359
  • Past Officer and Director, Elmhurst College Alumni Association
  • Chief legal officer for the City of Aurora, Illinois
  • Former Deputy Civil Bureau Chief and head of the Governmental Representation and Special Litigation Division, DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office
  • Drafted dozens of ordinances for clients, including those related to ethics, governmental operating procedures, liquor and tobacco licensing, and planning and zoning
  • Successfully sued street gangs and shut down gambling and prostitution operations in DuPage County
  • Trained municipal administrative hearing officer
  • Former felony prosecutor
  • • Beyond the Block Button: Social Media Use by Public Officials and Its Implications After Lindke v. Freed, April 2024, Local Government Law, vol. 60, no. 3, Illinois State Bar Association (with Jack Spellman)
  • • The Remap Continues: Judicial Subcircuits Coming to DuPage County in December 2024, 34.5 DCBA Brief, 16,16-19 (2022)
  • • Better Late than Never? Remapping Illinois’ Judiciary, 34.2 DCBA Brief, 6, 6-11 (2021)
  • • Illinois State Bar Association, “You Can’t Sue the King…Except When You Can: Proper Litigation Techniques for Suing and Defending a Unit of Local Government,” June 2024
  • • DuPage County Bar Association – Local Government Seminar, “Ethical Considerations in Local Government,” April 2024
  • • Rick Veenstra and Nick Standiford speak at IML Conference
  • • Illinois Municipal League Attorneys Conference, “Nuisance Abatement Strategies for Municipal Lawyers,” September 2023
  • • Kane County Bar Association “Ethical Considerations in Local Government,” June 2023
  • • Chicago Bar Association, “Local Government Inter-Cooperation,” April 2022
  • • Illinois State Bar Association, “Engaging in Election Activities: A Guide for Government Attorneys,” October 2021
  • • Kane County Bar Association, “Local Governmental Ethics,” May 2021
  • • Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, “Intergovernmental Conflicts and Agreements,” December 2018
  • • DuPage County Board Ethics Training Sessions, 2013-2016.
  • • DuPage County Bar Association, “An Overview of the County’s Ethics Code and Related Processes,” March 2014
  • • DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, “Ethics Ordinance of 2012,” February 2013