Elgie R. Sims

Of Counsel

Elgie R. Sims

Of Counsel

Illinois State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. maintains strong relationships with key governmental decision makers at the federal, state, and local levels of government while focusing his practice on government relations, municipal finance, cannabis regulation and operations, and as an active member of Foley’s State Attorneys General Practice. His extensive experience representing clients before governmental entities allows him to help clients successfully navigate complex regulatory and legislative environments and achieve their goals. He gained his nearly three decades of unique government experience through various influential governmental roles, including as a legislative staff member and budget director, as a principal of a governmental relations firm representing corporate clients of various sizes, including Fortune 100 companies and numerous trade associations and through his service in elected office and appointed governmental roles. Elgie prides himself on helping clients from various industries — including those in the pharmaceutical, health care, retail, insurance, energy, and financial service sectors — successfully achieve their goals.

Elgie focuses his practice on government affairs, municipal finance, cannabis regulation and operations, and the State Attorneys General Practice as a member of the firm’s Government Solutions and Public Finance Practices.

Representative Experience

Government Affairs

As part of his government relations work, Elgie focuses on advocating for and advising clients on various issues related to procurement, business certification (including minority- and women-owned businesses certifications), regulatory compliance, and legislative matters. He has extensive policy experience in the areas of public finance, infrastructure, engineering, energy, education, housing, telecommunications, and health care.  Some of his client representations and successes include:

  • Helping a large food service firm navigate local governmental environmental regulations to ensure compliance with local health guidelines.
  • Representing a large multinational technology firm as it navigated the local government procurement process, and supported the company’s procurement response efforts.
  • Assisting a woman- and minority-owned business in navigating the Minority and Women-owned Business (M/WBE) procurement certification process and advising on its multimillion-dollar contract bid protest.
  • Representing a national transportation company in its local government licensing efforts, and working with local regulators regarding the development and implementation of the licensing program.
  • Representing a large national firm in licensing matters, allowing it to open newly acquired assets on time during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses around the country struggled to stay afloat, Elgie helped numerous clients navigate various governmental regulations to help their businesses not only survive but thrive in the challenging environment. Through his vast network, he was able to help clients connect with governmental decision makers who were operating in a remote environment, helping clients reach successful outcomes and attain their business goals.

Public Finance

Elgie focuses his public finance practice in municipal finance law, providing counsel for capital projects and infrastructure improvements, economic development, and environmental response projects and local, state, and federal tax matters. He has served various roles for nearly $3 billion in public and private finance transactions, including:

  • Issuer’s Counsel for $729.6 million in Dedicated Capital Improvement Tax Bonds, Series 2016 for the Chicago Board of Education
  • Issuer’s Counsel for $562.3 million in Dedicated Revenue Unlimited Tax General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2018A and 2018B for the Chicago Board of Education
  • Disclosure Counsel for $275 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue Notes, Series 2017A for the Chicago Board of Education
  • Bond Counsel for $165 million in Illinois Sales Tax Revenue Bonds, Series 2017 for Cook County, State of Illinois
  • Disclosure Counsel for $112 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue Notes, Series 2017B for the Chicago Board of Education

Higher Education

Elgie has an extensive background in higher education and public finance matters, having previously represented both public and private institutions of higher education. Additionally, he served as a student trustee on the Illinois Board of Regents, the governing Board for Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, and Sangamon State University, the precursor to the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Awards and Recognition

  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Government Relations Practice (2023-2024)
  • Eddie Jones II Civic Excellence Award, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (2021)
  • Legislative Service Award, ACLU of Illinois (2019 and 2020)
  • Most Distinguished Men of Illinois, Continuing Academic Training Program (2018)
  • Excellence in Public Service Award, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (2017)
  • John W. Maitland, Jr. Leadership Award, Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (2017)
  • Legislative Service Award, Illinois Probation and Court Services Association (2017)
  • CAARE Visionary Award, Safer Foundation (2017)
  • Public Official of the Year, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (2017)

Community Involvement

Elgie is an active member of many civic organizations with missions to improve the quality of life for the communities they serve. As a community leader, he has worked to provide scholarships and books to children in need and to make Illinois communities safer.

Elgie is serving his second term as State Senator of Illinois’ 17th Legislative District after having served four terms as State Representative of Illinois’ 34th House District. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, vice chairman of the Senate Criminal Law and Redistricting Committees, sub-committee chairman of the Judiciary – Torts and Criminal Law CLEAR Compliance Committees, and as a member the Ethics, Judiciary Public Safety, and Revenue Committees. He also serves as a member of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, the revenue-forecasting arm of the Illinois General Assembly. As former budget director to Illinois Senate Democrats, he helped put millions of dollars toward funds for education, capital improvements, health care initiatives, and economic development. Over the course of his service in the Illinois General Assembly, he has championed legislation focused on improving the quality of Illinois schools, creating economic opportunities, and improving the state’s criminal justice system.

Elgie is the former chairman of the Council of State Governments Midwestern Legislative Conference, a nonpartisan association of state officials serving all three branches of government, promoting excellence in state government through the exchange of ideas and the development of public policy to help state officials in 11 Midwestern states and 4 Canadian provinces.  He also serves as a member of the advisory board for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. In addition, he is an active member of the National Conference of State Legislatures, serving as a member of the Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety Committee, among others.

17 August 2023 Honors and Awards

Foley Attorneys Recognized in 2024 Best Lawyers in America

Foley & Lardner LLP proudly announced today that 236 of the firm’s attorneys across 20 U.S. offices have received recognition in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.
10 April 2023 Article

Chicago Mayoral Runoff Recap

In one of the most closely watched races in the country, Chicago’s mayoral runoff election will see Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson sworn in on May 15 as the city’s 57th mayor.
15 November 2022 Newsletters

Illinois 2022 General Election Results

We discuss the 2022 Illinois General Election results and their impact on the greater political arena.
18 August 2022 Press Releases

Foley Attorneys Recognized in 2023 Best Lawyers in America

Foley & Lardner LLP proudly announced that 250 of our attorneys across 20 offices have received recognition in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.
19 August 2021 Honors and Awards

Sims Receives NACDL’s Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award

Of Counsel and Illinois State Sen. Elgie Sims Jr. was presented the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award at the association’s 20th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference.
16 January 2021 Press Releases

MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions Go Virtual, Allowing Kids To Send Messages of Hope To a Nation in Distress

Elementary school students honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the final rounds of the Foley & Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions in Dallas, Houston, and Chicago on Jan. 15. The fourth and fifth-graders presented original speeches about “how MLK Jr.’s teachings can help us today.”