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John W. Morse


P: (312) 205-4410

John Morse is a partner and chairs the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group. 

Steve Jobs once said “the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Fifteen minutes with John and you’ll know one thing for certain: He flat-out loves what he does!

John tells a funny story about growing up on the outskirts of a small Illinois town – about how, while his older brother would wake up in the summer and throw a ball against a net pretending he was Nolan Ryan until the sun went down, John would wake up and head to his dad’s office where he’d occupy a vacant desk and “play business” until the sun went down – cutting imaginary deals over the phone, mapping out expansion strategies on a chalkboard, and punching random keys into an adding machine to net out imaginary profits.

Some might not want to admit that their childhood aspirations didn’t include taking to the mound to pitch in the game. But John wasn’t your ordinary kid; and he’s not your ordinary lawyer. For when the name of the game is “practicing” law, John’s been practicing law since he was 5 years old – more intrigued by the concept of closing the big deal than closing the big game.

Playing for real now, John specializes in representing clients in the areas of real estate, finance, loan restructuring, and workouts, as well as representing closely held businesses and professional athletes in general corporate matters. In his real estate practice, John works with clients on the acquisition, disposition, financing, leasing, management, and construction of hotel, industrial, multi-family, office, and retail properties and developments throughout the country. As part of his finance practice, John represents lenders and borrowers on a regional and national basis in the negotiation, structuring and documentation of secured and unsecured credit facilities, including, asset-based financing, real estate and construction financing, private equity, syndications, participations, and mezzanine credit facilities, as well as the restructuring and workout of distressed or nonperforming loans.

Catering to the middle market, John sees his role as not only being a legal advisor but also being a business confidant. John understands what it means to run a business because he has sat in the same chair as his clients. For a period of time, John helped oversee and run the day-to-day operations of his family’s oil and gas business. Because of this experience, John has a unique ability to appreciate his clients’ needs, desires and challenges. John understands the challenges facing business owners, e.g., acquisitions and expansions, budgets, employee matters, healthcare issues, regulations, and succession planning just to name a few. For most of his clients, John serves as outside legal counsel and is often called upon to counsel his clients on day-to-day matters as well as major transactions. John utilizes his business experiences to assist his clients on day-to-day matters so that his clients can focus on their core businesses. But when it comes time for a major transaction, John’s clients again turn to him to deliver legal recommendations grounded in business judgment and to help relieve the stress that a large transaction can sometimes cause. In his constant desire to provide value to his clients, John visits each of his clients at their offices during the first quarter of each year to review the client’s goals for the upcoming year. John understands that to provide the most effective business solutions he has to understand his clients’ businesses and goals.

John’s zeal for understanding the businesses and cultures of his clients carries over into one of his other great loves—-TRAVEL. “I have been fortunate to travel extensively and whether I am traveling abroad or simply camping with friends in the U.S. national parks, I try to appreciate and learn about the culture of where I am.” In addition to travel, John enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, the performing arts, Chicago sporting events, and golf.

John graduated with honors from DePauw University (B.A., 1995) with a major in European History and was president of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. He received his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1998. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Real Estate Council, and the Turnaround Management Association. He has spoken and written on a number of finance and real estate related topics.

Practice Areas:

  • Finance
  • Real Estate


  • Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1998)
  • DePauw University (B.A., 1995)


  • Illinois State Bar (1998)


  • American Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Chicago Real Estate Council
  • Turnaround Management Association