Chicago Skyline
Sara Barnes

Sara K. Barnes

Sara joined the firm in 2023 as a partner. She dedicates her practice to real estate development – both commercial and residential, with specialized proficiency in the field of zoning and land use. 

In this role, Sara helps clients navigate challenging land use, zoning and licensing issues throughout all fifty wards that comprise the City of Chicago, and the surrounding municipalities, by building meaningful relationships with the associated public officials and civic employees and working with the respective communities in a collaborative and transparent manner, thereby paving the way for sustainable and productive developments and thriving new businesses. These clients include real estate developers, local businesses, national franchises and hospitality groups, as well as international corporations and retailers.

In the provision of her legal services, Sara has regular monthly appearances before the Chicago and Cook County Zoning Boards of Appeals, for Variations Special Uses, and Administrative Appeals; City Council’s Committee on Zoning, for Zoning Map and Text Amendments; and the Chicago Plan Commission, for Planned Developments, and Industrial Corridor & Lakefront Protection Developments. She also appears before, and collaborates with, the Landmark Commissions and related Historic Preservation Councils throughout the State, with her services further expanding to working with the Department of Buildings and Departments of Transportation toward the procurement of Sign Permits (including billboards), Alley Vacations, Grants of Privilege, and Public Way Usage.

Sara is a motivated and compassionate initiative-taker, with small town values and big city tenacity. She is led by ethical fortitude, implemented through astute knowledge and application of the law.



JURIS DOCTOR • 2003 DePaul University – College of Law American Jurisprudence Awards in Torts, Evidence & Legal Writing; Law Review; Moot Court; Entertainment & Sports Law Society; A Founder of Forensic Evidence Society
BACHELOR OF ARTS • 2000 Michigan State University Dual-Major Political Science & Writing for Publication; CSS Honors Program; Academic Athlete Scholarship Recipient

Bar Admissions

Member of Illinois Bar, 2003 Member of Northern District
Bar, 2003