Stephen Novack


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Steve Novack, the firm’s co-founder, handles cases for a wide range of business corporations, institutions, partnerships, individuals, and some of the wealthiest and most prominent families in the Chicagoland area.

During his 46 years of legal practice he has had extensive experience trying cases, both before juries and judges. He has also handled appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and Federal Circuits; the Illinois Supreme Court; and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Districts of the Illinois Appellate Court.

The companies and individuals for whom Steve has litigated cases reads like a who’s who, including notables such as:

  • Sam Zell
  • Fox Network News
  • United States Government (FDIC/RTC)
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Smithfield Properties
  • Millennium Park Joint Venture, LLC

Many prominent law firms have also expressed their confidence in Steve by retaining him to defend them against claims of legal malpractice and securities fraud, as well as in law partnership disputes.

Steve has achieved considerable recognition within the profession, having been consistently selected as one of the Top 100 Illinois Super Lawyers. He also is ranked as a Preeminent Attorney, the highest Peer Review Rating of the Martindale-Hubbell lawyer rating service.

The prestigious international rating publication, Chambers & Partners, described Steve as “a highly regarded litigator who is prominent for representing major companies and law firms.” He has been named in its Chambers USA Edition for the past decade as a "Leading Individual" and ranked in the highest tier, Band 1.   In addition, Steve has been selected by his peers and an independent panel as an Illinois “Leading Lawyer” annually since 2003. Leading Lawyers recognizes the top five percent of attorneys in the State. Since 2017, Best Lawyers Magazine has recognized Steve as one of the “Best Lawyers of America" for his work in commercial litigation, real estate litigation, and legal malpractice defense.

The National Law Journal featured Steve in its article, “Novack and Macey: A ‘law firm’s law firm‘.”  When major Chicago law firms need a litigator, they call Novack and Macey to represent their interests in high-stakes disputes and multi-million dollar legal malpractice cases, the article said. Clients called Steve “independent-minded” and the firm “creative, efficient and aggressive.”

Steve participated in an American Bar Association program being run in cooperation with judges of the Seventh Circuit and Northern District of Illinois to make improvements to the civil jury system. Steve worked on a proposed change to allow attorneys to make interim statements to the jury, rather than be limited to opening and closing statements only. This innovation was successfully tested and is used by many judges.

Steve was born (1946) and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his wife, Ilene, have four children and eleven grandchildren and live in Glencoe, Illinois.


  • University of Missouri at St. Louis (B.A. 1968), Magna Cum Laude
  • Northwestern University Law School (J.D. 1972), Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif; notes and comments editor, Northwestern University Law Review; represented Northwestern University Law School in the National Moot Court Competition

Speeches & Publications

  • “Javins v. First National Realty Corp. – The Implied Warranty of Habitability and Rent Withholding in Urban Leases,” 66 Northwestern University Law Review, 227 (1971)
  •  “Jack Spring, Inc. v. Little; Appeal Bonds; Implied Warranty of Habitability, Defenses to Actions for Eviction — New Principles of Landlord-Tenant Law,” 66 Northwestern University Law Review, 790 (1972)

Representative Cases

  • The City of Chicago v. The Chicago Park District, Millennium Park Joint Venture, LLC and Millennium Park Management Venture, LLC, Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11 CH 41074 (2015) View PDF.
  • Millennium Park Joint Venture, LLC v. James M. Houlihan, Assessor of Cook County, et al., Supreme Court of Illinois, 241 Ill.2d 281, 948 N.E.2d 1, 349 Ill.Dec. 898 (2010) View PDF.
  • Perlman v. Zell, 185 F.3d 850 (7th Cir. 1999) View PDF.
  • Shields Enterprises, Inc. v. First Chicago Corp., 975 F.2d 1290 (7th Cir. 1992) View PDF.
  • Burke v. 401 N. Wabash Venture, LLC, No. 08-5330, 2009 WL 2252194 (N.D. Ill. July 28, 2009) View PDF.
  • Gaffney v. City of Chicago, 302 Ill. App. 3d 41 (1st Dist. 1998) View PDF.