Village Changes Legal Counsel

Johnson Peterson Murray SP replaces Querrey and Harrow as village attorney effective immediately.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, the village switched its legal counsel from Querrey and Harrow to a new firm with Wisconsin ties, which assumed duties as the village attorney.

Paul O’Grady, who has sat at the dais for Querrey and Harrow for the past two years, will continue representing the village in his new role as managing partner for Milwaukee, WI-based Johnson Peterson Murray SP. The announcement comes after rumors that O'Grady had parted ways with Querrey and Harrow last week.

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 “It was a personal decision for my family. It was a great opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” O’Grady said. “It was a great opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.”

The village was hired to replace in 2009 under a cloud of controversy.

In August, village board trustees prior to a board meeting, when trustees were informed

Village Manager Larry Deetjen informed the village board on Feb. 29 that he had appointed new legal counsel. Under the managerial form of village government, Deetjen said he was authorized to make that appointment.

“We did not hire Mr. Querrey or Mr. Harrow,” Deetjen said. “We hired personnel we thought could do the job … They’ve done an outstanding job.”

Mayor Dave Heilmann, also an attorney, said the law of the village manager's appointing the village attorney was “open to interpretation.” He said he wasn’t aware of the change until he received an email from the village on Feb. 29.

“I trust it will be put on the next village board agenda,” Heilmann said. “There certainly is an argument that the manager has the right [to hire the village attorney] but the board has the power of the purse strings.”

O’Grady will become the managing director of Johnson Peterson Murray’s Chicago office, which is expanding into Illinois. The legal team that handled all of Oak Lawn’s governmental work will remain intact and follow O’Grady to the new firm.

The village attorney represents the village in civil rights, labor, workman’s compensation claims, appellate work, and daily ordinances and board work.

Querrey and Harrow will continue wrap up pending litigation for the village. For example, this past week, O'Grady paving the way for a new commercial development.

O’Grady i Mike Stillman, the former managing partner of Querrey Harrow and O’Grady’s former colleague, switched firms to Odelson and Sterk last month.

Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers and U.S. News and World Report have recognized Johnson Peterson Murray for the quality of their legal expertise and representation the firm provides across a broad range of practice areas, according to a press release issued by the law firm.

Hourly rates--$185—are expected to remain the same as with Querrey and Harrow. O’Grady also anticipated a "seamless transition" of the village's legal business as his team moves to their new firm’s digs on the 84th floor of Willis Tower.

“This is a group of young guys with families and an opportunity to go out on their own to head up this new venture,” O’Grady said. “We’re so excited.”

Oak Lawn Gal March 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
This isn't a slam at Mr O'Grady who appears to be doing a good job. But I'm curious about the process here. Shouldn't the board as a whole vote on something as significant as changing legal counsel before the firm is retained? Naturally any discussion or vote would take place in executive session. The Mayor said he didn't know about it until he got an email and I assume the same is true of the trustees. I think they need to rethink the scope of power for the village manager.
OakLawnGuy March 03, 2012 at 04:23 PM
They kinda tried, Gal, with that petition to get a referendum on the ballot to change the form of government. Unfortunately for us, the petition was a sham.
OakLawnGuy March 03, 2012 at 04:24 PM
The timing of the Orland Twp thing along with Mr. O'Grady's resignation from Querrey Harrow and subsequent hiring of his new firm is.....curious.
Ron Williams March 03, 2012 at 04:50 PM
My fear is once again we have an us and them mentality going on here, the village manager, the board, and the mayor seem to conflict in their understanding of rolls and it seems that there is so much time, effort and money wasted because they often take two steps forward and one step back.
OakLawnGuy March 03, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Again? You mean still.....
andy skoundrianos March 04, 2012 at 04:31 AM
The Mayor of all people should look in the mirror before offering advice on village attorneys,since he was the one back in 2005 who pushed and supported the hiring of his law firm buddies at Tressler,which is now in litigation with the village for alleged overbilling practices of over 1.9 million dollars. This was action was done when there wasn't even a village manager.
OakLawnGuy March 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM
... or the rest of the Board can take a peek, seeing as they signed off on that as well as the other legal firm that was just dropped and the legal firm that's suing the first legal firm and their business with Mr. Odelson. Either way.....
Not Dave March 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Andy, you're right. When Lorraine calls Dave to ask his thoughts on anything involving lawyers, he should say no comment. Or knowitall people like you will throw out accusations that have and are going nowhere Stick to food reviews. You're good at that.
andy skoundrianos March 05, 2012 at 12:49 AM
politics get more stupid responses though...
Oak Lawn Gal March 05, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Yes OLGuy that's true.
Oak Lawn Gal March 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
You know one thing I agree with Tom Phelan on is his harping on the need for a defined process for different village activities. He's absolutely right. And I think appointments by the village manager is one area needs an approval process that includes the full board. This is more practical than political.
OakLawnGuy March 05, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Yes he is correct, and I was impressed that he was the lone voice in the wilderness during recent Board meetings during which Mr. Deetjen was trying to push some items. He, out of all the members, the Mayor and the Manager, may be the only one who's learned a lesson from the bad results of some board rubber-stamping of the past.
QC March 05, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Patch 7-28-11 In May, the village paid a $15,000 retainer to the Wisconsin-based law firm of Godfrey & Kahn to conduct another audit of the former village attorney’s legal billings. (Phelan’s Frat Brother connection who now handles the case) “There are so many great firms in Chicago. I don’t know why we had to go to Wisconsin,” Heilmann said. Patch 3-3-12 Paul O’Grady, who has sat at the dais during Oak Lawn Village Board meetings for Querrey and Harrow (hired on the recommendation of MM) for the past two years, will continue representing the village in his new role as managing partner for Milwaukee, WI-based Johnson Peterson Murray SP. Hmmmmm Gee, he was just named a managing partner at Querry & Harrow before he, and they, came to OL. O’Grady is also the Orland Township supervisor, (backed by Spike Badigan) who recently fired Burt Odelson and his firm as legal counsel for the township. Mike Stillman, the former managing partner of Querrey Harrow and O’Grady’s former colleague, switched firms to Odelson and Sterk last month. Don’t fret over Odelson’s firing….. he lost an O’Grady but gained a Stillman and a Lou Lang aka Deputy Majority Leader Illinois House of representatives
D Ruiz March 06, 2012 at 05:58 AM
So Trustee Phelan owes Trustee Rosenbaum an apology?
Chaz Stevens March 11, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Greetings Oak Lawn, Deerfield Beach here... I hear that our former City Manager, Larry Deetjen, is in the running for the job down in Texas. Here's the advice I gave to League City. Don't. Just don't. Read the letter I sent to them and the one I sent Oak Lawn, IL three years ago. Really. Just say no. Best to you. Chaz http://www.myactsofsedition.com/dont-just-dont/
crazyman March 11, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Mr. Stevens I think you need professional help. You are really infatuated with Mr. Deetjen, you must really find some other hobbies than writing to other towns telling them not to hire Mr. Deetjen. Maybe take up stamp collecting or golf....
Chaz Stevens March 11, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Crazyman... Really? it is called pay it forward. Or in the case of Larry, pay it back...
Judge Judy March 22, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Chaz, On behalf of all Oak Lawn residents, I want to take the time to say that Crazyman is right. We don't care about your little tiff with Deetch.
Oak Lawn Gal March 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Actually if you Google Larry and read up on his Deerfield Beach experience it's quite an eye opener.
QC March 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
JJ Speak for yourself - NOT for "all Oak Lawn residents" . If you had 1/2 a brain you'd be upset about Deetch's very questionable practices in his previous positions of employment , not to mention the underhanded company he keeps. Research b/4 you speak.
My-Acts Of-Sedition March 23, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Whenever I hear someone say they speak for all the residents, I have myself a little chuckle. It's like kinda a blanket racial statement. You know, like the one Larry dropped on the Palm Beach County first responder. Oh sorry. He didn't drop a blanket racial statement, rather Larry was balls-on specific full of hate. So Oak Lawn, are you really that enamored with LRD? Apparently, he's not that happy with your town, as every time I turn around, his name is in the running for another CM job in another town. His name tossed in the ring, but never at his request? That's what we're supposed to believe. And that fart cloud that's behind him? Blame it on the dog. In the running for League City, Texas, only to have that 'berg take a pass. Or then there was Cape Coral, Florida who added Larry's name to the list and then somehow "mysteriously" yanked it. Always the bride's maid, never the bride... Perhaps those cities are concerned over the fact that three elected Deerfield Beach officials who sat up on the dais with Larry have been arrested and removed from office. By the way, it was my complaints that sent all three to the Gray Bar.
My-Acts Of-Sedition March 23, 2012 at 04:40 PM
One sentenced to a year in jail, another a year's probation. And the third, our former mayor, one time BFF and business partner of Larry - the dishonorable Al Crookelini, has stalled his felony corruption trial for the last three years. Ask Larry about "Arbor Greene" and the still ongoing State Attorney investigation of that matter. So, when it comes to Larry "The Racist" Deetjen, it is most certainly the company he keeps. Or perhaps in this case, the company he once kept who have been remanded into the State's custody. Perhaps Texas and the other Florida city aren't too keen on the idea of having their town run like a black-ops project. Maybe they aren't too keen on a City Manager who becomes quickly best friends with developers. Maybe they don't need an honorary member of the White Supremacist movement. Or maybe it's as simple as they don't want to deal with Larry's wife. For those unfamiliar with Lynne, imagine a screeching harpy who overdosed on Red Bull and Adderol. Suggestion: never sit next to her... Your hearing will thank me. Finally, as to my tiffs with Larry... Really? A tiff? I am mentally unbalanced? I need a new life and/or professional medical help? Guilty as charged! But one way to my visit with Dr. Frasier Crane, I intend to give Larry holy ****.


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