Legal Symposium Sessions



  • Attorneys; 7.5 CLE Hours (Anticipated)
  • CIAO Designation Holders; 7.5 CE Hours 

*You must attend full sessions to gain credit. 




Opening Session: "Important Court Decisions in Real Property Taxation 2020-2023"
Presenter: Tom Jaconetty Esq, FIAAO, Thomas Jaconetty Attorney at Law

We will start the day with our opening session, “Important Court Decisions in Real Property Taxation 2020-2023.” Tom Jaconetty will share a summary and analysis of legal and valuation issues in key cases from the past year from around the nation with a specific emphasis on Illinois.


Luncheon Session: "Appeals Before the Property Tax Appeal Board"
Presenter: Jennifer Vesely, Administrative Law Judge, Property Tax Appeal Board; Brendon Stark, Administrative Law Judge, Property Tax Appeal Board

Our luncheon session will present an overview of PTAB’s rules and procedures as well as an overview of the new electronic filing system. Attendees will gain a better understanding of PTAB as an organization, how to properly file before PTAB, and consideration of what evidence to submit.


Closing Session: "Sovereign Citizens and Tax Deniers"
Presenters: Kathy Enstrom, Director of Investigations, Moore Tax Law Group; Mike Raschella, On-The-Job Instructor, Chicago Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation

Sovereign citizens are a group of activists, protesters, and conspiracy theorists who adhere to pseudo legal concepts whereby they only answer to particular interpretations of common law.  These individuals believe they are not subject to government statutes or proceedings, which includes paying taxes in any form. The presentation will discuss the ideology, history, tactics and case examples. 




Walsh at 25

It has been 25 years since Walsh v. Property Tax Appeal Board. This session will discuss the case and its impact over the last quarter century.
Presenter: Nora Devine, Attorney, The Devine Law Group, LLC


Deconstructing Highest and Best Use

This session explores highest and best use, its relevance in the appraisal world (including definitions from trusted valuation treatises), and how HBU selection informs all three approaches to valuation. The session will round out with a survey of case law and PTAB decisions turning on the issue of HBU.
Presenters: Peter Helland, Senior Vice President, Newmark Valuation & Advisory; Jennifer Wadland, Senior Associate Attorney, Verros Berkshire


Leased Fee v Fee Simple

During this session, we dig into the age-old debate between leased fee and fee simple. The session will begin at a high level and cover daily applications that will be helpful to attorney staffers. We will then dig deep into the appraisal nuances of this topic.
Presenters: Ellen Berkshire, Partner, Verros Berkshire; Ares Dalianis, Partner, Franczek P.C.; Gina Matthiesen, Legal Counsel, Cook County Assessor’s Office


The “Ins” and “Outs” of FOIA

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests provide transparency and public accountability but can also be challenging to local government staff in charge of their execution. This session will cover recent updates to FOIA and shed light on items of material interest to the private and public attorneys.
Presenter: James Petrungaro, Partner, Franczek P.C.; Emily Tulloch, Associate, Franczek P.C.


Navigating Incentive Programs

From TIFs to enterprise zones, to affordable housing and more, incentives programs can be a confusing landscape to navigate. These incentives are offered in counties across Illinois. This session will cover the function of various programs and their potential impact on valuation.
Presenters: Mary Kathleen Fitzgerald, Partner, Fitzgerald Law Group, PC; Timothy Jorczak, Supervisor of Assessments, McLean County, Christina Lynch, Director of Legal, Cook County Assessor’s Office


Overview of the Cook County Board of Review

This session will cover the scale of Cook County, structure of the Board of Review as well as its processes. We’ll discission BOR’s interaction with other agencies, attorneys, taxpayers, and how it handles specific issues such as the state of the market pre, during, and post-COVID. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of the scale of the BOR's organization and operations, its processes and the challenges involved in hearing approximately 250,000 tax appeals each year.
Presenters: Dan Balanoff, Attorney and First Assistant Commissioner to Commissioner Samantha Steele, Cook County Board of Review; Jerri Bush, Attorney and PTAB Commercial First Assistant to Commissioner Samantha Steele, Cook County Board of Review; John Lartz, Attorney and PTAB Residential First Assistant to Commissioner Samantha Steele, Cook County Board of Review; Stephanie Lieberman, Attorney and Residential Analyst to Commissioner Samantha Steele, Cook County Board of Review


The Role of Taxing District in Assessment

Taxing districts have a lot of skin in the game when it comes to assessments and their impact on levies and the eventual flow of tax dollars. This presentation will focus on what taxing districts need to know and how to work with your local assessment offices to ensure strong communication and collaboration.
Presenters: Ares Dalianis, Partner, Franczek P.C.; Brittany Flaherty Theis, Partner, Whitt Law LLC


Capitalization Rates Discussion Panel

Our panel will discuss elements that make up cap rates and how caprates are considered within the Illinois Property Tax Code, PTAB, and case law. We will consider differing peer perspectives on the topic, share real life experiences from various cases, and engaged in questions and answers with the audience.
Presenters: Peter Verros, Partner, Verros Berkshire (moderator); Peter Helland, Senior Vice President, Newmark Valuation & Advisory; Timothy Jorczak, Supervisor of Assessments, McLean County; Christina Lynch, Director of Legal, Cook County Assessor’s Office


Careful What You Ask For: The Law of Unintended Consequences

We will examine the concept of the unintended consequences as it applies to or impacts property tax, whether good or bad, resulting from legislation, or practice and procedures, along with potential consequences of future actions. We will also explore how property tax "relief" that is a relief to one class of taxpayer can sometimes transfer the tax burden from one class to another.
Presenter: Scott Bagnall, JD, Niles Township Assessor


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