Betsy L. Gates-Alford is a partner at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. Ms. Gates-Alford is a member of the firm’s Government & Regulatory, Real Estate, and Litigation practice groups. She has broad experience in the general representation of municipalities and other units of state and local government. She regularly advises public bodies on regulatory, operational, and land use matters, including:

  • legislative authority and procedure;
  • planning, zoning, and development matters, including land use regulations, development petitions, annexation, subdivision, disconnection, and related litigation;
  • constitutional litigation;
  • intergovernmental cooperation;
  • real estate transactions;
  • establishment and management of taxing districts, including tax increment financing (TIF) and special service area (SSA) financing;
  • environmental regulation and compliance; and
  • operational and ethical matters affecting public bodies, officials, and employees, including compliance with statutes such as the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, Open Meetings Act, Prevailing Wage Act, and State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

Ms. Gates-Alford is also regularly involved in representing private landowners and developers in zoning and development matters, including obtaining zoning entitlements and negotiating tax incentive and abatement agreements.

Ms. Gates-Alford has significant experience in the litigation of land use and constitutional issues, including the use of eminent domain, defense of land use regulations and zoning decisions, and defense of First Amendment and RLUIPA claims relating to religious- and speech-related land uses. She has successfully represented clients before trial and appellate courts in Illinois, as well as before the Illinois Supreme Court.

Honors & Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Order of the Coif


Speaking Engagements

  • Sex, Drugs, and Guns: Planning for Controversial Land Uses
    Event, Chicago,


  • Eminent Domain Chapter, Illinois Municipal Law: Annexation, Zoning and Regulatory Authority
    Publication, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2012


Chicago-Kent College of Law (J.D.), high honors; Certificate in Environment and Energy Law

Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A.), summa cum laude

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