Zimmermann, John J. Of Counsel

Zimmermann, John J. Of Counsel

Practice Focus

John J. Zimmermann entered the practice of local government law more than 40 years ago. His distinguished career has included serving as general counsel to numerous local government organizations in Northern Illinois, founding and managing a law partnership that has became a multi-generational leader in the practice of Illinois municipal law, and playing a key role in the creation of innovative legislation with impact on communities the length and breadth of Illinois.
Mr. Zimmermann has been lead counsel in some of the most significant economic development projects and annexation efforts in Illinois history, and has led and is a charter member of major professional associations dedicated to the practice of municipal law, co-founding one of them.

Having served twice as the Acting Village Manager for Mount Prospect, Illinois, Mr. Zimmermann brings another valuable aspect to the practice of municipal law. He has a unique “in their shoes” understanding and appreciation of the problems managers and administrators encounter on a day-to-day basis. He knows firsthand that the responsibilities of a municipal counsel require handling numerous sensitive situations, often on short notice and with minimal administrative help.

Although he has had a general practice of law throughout his career, his local government practice has included serving the following major clients as chief legal officer: City of Highland Park; Village of Mettawa; Village of Mount Prospect, where he also served twice as Acting Village Manager (while retaining and performing the duties of his Office as Village Attorney) for a total of 18 months; Mount Prospect Public Library; Village of Schiller Park and City of Wood Dale.

Mr. Zimmermann has represented the cities of Highland Park and Wood Dale for more than 20 years each, the Village of Mettawa for more than 30 years, and has counseled the Villages of Mount Prospect and Schiller Park for more than a decade each. On all of these assignments, either as in-house or outside counsel, Mr. Zimmermann has had responsibility for his clients’ administrative and transactional legal matters as well as their litigation.

Professional Background

Mr. Zimmermann joined Tressler LLP in March 2012, when Raysa & Zimmermann, LLC merged with Tressler.
After serving as Mount Prospect’s “in-house” Village Attorney from 1967, in 1979 he co-founded Bradtke & Zimmermann, which merged with Raysa & Skelton in 2001, becoming Raysa & Zimmermann, a leader in the practice of Illinois local government law.

In February 2003 he received the “Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement”, bestowed by the Illinois Local Government Lawyer’s Association (formerly, the Illinois Institute for Local Government Law), and in September 2011, he was presented with the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s “Marvin J. Glink Private Practice Local Government Attorney Award.” In addition to the traditional qualities of excellence in the practice of law, the latter award recognizes a practitioner who has provided outstanding service to the public, and who possesses an exemplary reputation in the legal community, the highest of ethical standards, and who is devoted to mentoring young lawyers and educating lawyers in local government law.

Mr. Zimmermann was listed as an Illinois Super Lawyer® list in the area of Government / Cities / Municipalities for eight years.

Memberships & Affiliations

Mr. Zimmermann has co-founded, led and is a charter member of major professional associations dedicated to the practice of local government law. His professional affiliations and activities reflect his personal reputation in municipal law. These include:

  • International Municipal Lawyers Association (formerly known as National Institute of Municipal Law Officers ― “NIMLO”), Director (1991-2003, one of 18 Directors elected nationwide to this Board) and President (2001-2002); Served on the Committee on Annexation, Chairman (1981-84); Committee on Building and Fire Codes, Chairman (1974-75); Committee on Communications and Cable TV; Committee on Ordinance and Ordinance Enforcement; Committee on Municipal Bonds, Chairman (1982-83); Illinois State Chairman (1985-86); Regional Vice President (Region 7: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin - 1986-1991)
  • Illinois Local Government Lawyer’s Association, formally known as the Illinois Institute of Local Government Law, Co-Founder and Director (1992-present); President (2001-2002)
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member; ISBA Local Government Law Section, Member, having also served as a member of the ISBA Local Government Law Section Council, (1979 – 1991); and has been a member on the Administrative Law, Federal Tax, and Civil Practice Sections
  • Chicago Bar Association, Member; Local Government Committee, Member (1969-present); Chairman (1983-1984)
  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association, Member
  • Illinois Municipal League, Served on the Legislative Committee; Home Rule Attorneys Committee, Charter Member (1971 – present); Vice-Chairman (1978); Chairman (1979)
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 1985-86, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1991-92, and 1993-94 editions
  • Who’s Who in the World, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1991-92, 1993-94, and 1995-96 editions

Representative Experience

  • Paramedic Program in Illinois: While working with Mount Prospect, drafted the enabling legislation that created the pilot program for this state-wide service.
  • On behalf of Wood Dale, drafted the legislation permitting electronic traffic enforcement throughout the state and helping promote safety at railroad grade crossings.
  • Adult Use Regulations: While Corporation Counsel for Schiller Park, drafted the implementing ordinance for one of the area’s first adult use zoning regulations, which has since survived multiple First Amendment challenges.
  • Regional Plan Commissions: In the late 1990s, drafted several significant state statutes affecting municipal law
  • The Town of Fort Sheridan, Highland Park/Highwood: Served as lead counsel for
  • Highland Park on the annexation and intergovernmental agreements facilitating this project
  • Downtown Streetscape, Highland Park: Lead attorney for this massive project that in the 1980s revitalized an ailing downtown
  • Port Clinton Square, Highland Park: Lead counsel for the city in its acquisition and development of this square block as a key part of the Downtown Streetscape renewal program.
  • Renaissance Place/Sax Fifth Avenue, Highland Park: Lead counsel for Highland
  • Park in the city’s acquisition and development of this square block in western downtown, along Green Bay Road.
  • Woodland Falls, Mettawa: Negotiated and drafted an agreement annexing some 85 acres adjacent to Interstate 94 to this then all-residential Village
  • Tax Rebate Program, Mettawa: Architect of this program, for distribution of a potion of the revenue streaming from the above development, which has returned as much as $480,000 to the residents annually.
  • Old Orchard Country Club, Mount Prospect: Lead counsel in this commercial and residential development, which eliminated nine of 27 golf holes but allowed the historic 18-hole course to flourish to this day.
  • Huntington Commons, Mount Prospect: Responsible for several significant annexations of territory to the Village
  • Forest River, Mount Prospect: In conjunction with the residents who lived in this unincorporated hamlet, “quarter-backed” this annexation of over 700 developed acres to Mount Prospect
  • Klehm Woods, South Barrington: Successfully negotiated the settlement of litigation, enabling this mixed use residential commercial development to come to fruition.
  • Hamilton Partners Industrial Park, Wood Dale: Crafted the agreement enabling the development of 130-plus acres located on the north and south sides of the Thorndale Road artery.
  • St. Aubin’s Nursery Development, Wood Dale: Crafted numerous annexation agreements
  • Retail and Other Incentive Agreements, several municipalities: As lead counsel, created and designed multiple special service areas, and tax increment financing and special business districts on behalf of numerous cities and villages.