• Illinois


University of Notre Dame (B.A., cum laude, 1978)

University of Notre Dame Law School (J.D., 1982)


John P. Stephens is a partner at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. Mr. Stephens conducts a broad-based commercial real estate practice at Burke Warren, representing owners, developers, and managers of office, industrial, and mixed-use properties, as well as institutional real estate lenders. He has represented developers and users in some of the largest industrial and distribution center transactions in the Chicago area and around the country.

Mr. Stephens offers significant national experience representing both landlords and tenants in the negotiation of general office, medical office, industrial, and retail leases. He leads a team of attorneys specializing in all aspects of real estate leasing. His leasing clients include several of the nation’s most notable office and industrial developers.

Mr. Stephens also has considerable experience in land use and zoning issues with municipal authorities throughout the Chicago area and has been successful in using tax increment financing (TIF) and other governmental incentive programs as a method of funding development projects.

In addition to his real estate practice, Mr. Stephens provides general counsel to not-for-profit entities, as well as closely held businesses and their owners.

For many years, Mr. Stephens chaired the firm's Lateral Hiring Committee and currently chairs their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.


  • Represented for more than twenty years the owners and managers of numerous major office buildings, primarily in Chicago’s central business district and suburbs, with responsibility for leasing and other legal issues
  • Represented one of the Chicago area’s largest private holding companies in the development of a 260,000 square foot, Class A corporate headquarters building, including property assemblage, negotiation of public incentives and entitlements, as well as construction and design agreements
  • Represented a national industrial developer in connection with the development and build-to-suit sale of a 300,000 square foot industrial facility, involving the renegotiation and amendment of a tax increment financing development agreement, modification of park covenants with multiple project owners, and obtainment of all necessary municipal and regulatory approvals in a politically sensitive transaction
  • Represented a privately held national development and construction company in the land acquisition, development, and leasing of numerous medical office buildings in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas
  • Represented a major privately held food company in the redevelopment and expansion of its Chicago bakery into a 300,000 square foot complex in a synthetic lease transaction which included property assemblage and city, county, and state incentives and entitlements.
  • Represented an out-of-state liquor distribution company in the redevelopment of a shuttered food plant on a Chicago brownfield site, into a new corporate headquarters and state-of-the-art warehouse and distribution facility, including acquisition of property from foreclosing lender and city, county, and state incentives and entitlements and all design and construction agreements
  • Represented a publicly traded prescription benefit management company in connection with a variety of real estate transactions over a fifteen year period, including leasing of millions of square feet of buildings and space, both existing and build-to-suit, for mail-order pharmacy and office uses
  • Represented a family-owned, Chicago area manufacturing company in the disposition of several suburban buildings and the acquisition of a new 100,000 square foot suburban office/industrial building in a tax-deferred exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, including governmental incentives, entitlements, regulatory approvals, and financing
  • Represented the individual owner of a sixty-six-acre parcel of land in the establishment of a tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and the development of that parcel as a non-profit equestrian center, including organization of the foundation, oversight of rezoning, and preparation of design and development agreements and acting as foundation general counsel
  • Represented a family investment company in the acquisition of one of the nation’s largest aggregations of farmland over a period of years
  • Represented a Chicago-based, private real estate fund in a variety of roles, including private placement documentation for several funds, as well as real estate acquisitions and leasing
  • Represented one of the Chicago area’s largest family-owned businesses as exclusive real estate counsel for more than twenty years
  • Represented one of the Chicago area’s largest hospital groups in connection with its medical office needs
  • Represented the developer of a brownfield site into a health club/medical office complex, including environmental remediation pursuant to Wisconsin environmental statutes, negotiation and documentation of a municipal TIF redevelopment agreement, and preparation of all facility leases
  • Represented a Chicago area investor group in all aspects of fundraising for and organization of an Illinois state bank and bank holding company
  • Represented a prominent Chicago family in the preparation of private placement materials for a land speculation fund capital raise, as well as subsequent representation of that fund in numerous land acquisitions, development joint ventures, municipal development agreements, and, most recently, the sale of a fund parcel, with retention of ongoing income stream based on the buyer’s future mineral extraction
  • Represented a national development and construction company in the acquisition, development, and build-to-suit leasing to a major equipment manufacturer of a distribution center in southern Wisconsin, including a tax increment financing development agreement with the local municipality
  • Represented a national development company in the build-to-suit sale of an 80,000 square foot office building in Naperville, Illinois, to a dental insurance company coupled with the client’s leaseback of a 20,000 square foot portion of the building
  • Represented a real estate joint venture in the acquisition, annexation, development, and ultimate leasing and sale of a 375-acre industrial park in Joliet, Illinois, over a ten-year period
  • Represented a publicly traded food company in connection with a variety of real estate transactions nationwide, including leases of regional distribution centers of between 400,000 and 1 million square feet
  • Represented a manufacturing company in the separation of its suburban Chicago facility into two buildings in a complex transaction with multiple buyers, including rezoning, re-subdivision, and preparation of new easements, covenants, conditions and restrictions, and related agreements


  • Mr. Stephens serves as Chairman of the Aiken Horse Park Foundation, Aiken, South Carolina, which operates "Bruce's Field", a state of the art equestrian venue which supports Aiken's civic, educational, and charitable endeavors.
  • He also participates in community activities including the following: 
    • Omicron Delta Epsilon, member
    • Illinois State Bar Association, member
    • Chicago Riverwalk Committee, member
    • Recipient of the Buoniconti Fund, 2013 Chicago Man of the Year Award 


330 North Wabash Avenue, Suite 2100
Chicago, Illinois 60611-3607
T: 312.840.7000
F: 312.840.7900