Buffalo Grove parting ways with longtime attorney

 
Updated 11/8/2018 8:30 AM
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  • After about six decades of having a member of the Raysa family acting as its village attorney, Buffalo Grove next year contract with a Chicago law firm to serve as its lead counsel.

      After about six decades of having a member of the Raysa family acting as its village attorney, Buffalo Grove next year contract with a Chicago law firm to serve as its lead counsel. Luke Zurawski | Staff Photographer, 2016

For as long as most Buffalo Grove residents remember, a Raysa has been village attorney.

Bill Raysa was appointed to the post in 1977, after two years as deputy village attorney. Before him, his father, Richard Raysa, served 19 years as village attorney.

All that comes to an end in January, when the village begins its relationship with the Chicago law firm Schain Banks Kenny Schwartz LTD.

The village board this week authorized Village Manager Dane Bragg to negotiate an agreement with the firm, which was one of eight that responded to requests for proposals to handle the village's legal matters, Purchasing Manager Brett Robinson said.

Raysa's firm, Tressler LLP, also put in a bid. Despite their professional relationship heading for a breakup, Raysa had positive things to say about the village and his long tenure.

"I had a good time here," he said. "They have a tremendous staff here. They are very easy to work with, very intelligent, and very knowledgeable."

Village Clerk Janet Sirabian, who has been with the village nearly as long as Raysa, said he will be missed.

"I would trust Bill with my life," she said. "Whenever I have a question or an issue, I go to Bill. I know that I will always have the right answer."

Robinson said village officials thought Schain Banks was the best fit for their legal needs.

"Schain Banks is a large firm, with 23 attorneys. That gives them a deeper bench," he said, adding that village staff has experience working with the law office.

The firm recommended Patrick Brankin to serve as primary counsel, with backup services provided by Michael Kujawa or Nicholas Standiford. Brankin likely will attend the village board meetings, with Standiford attending committee-of-the-whole meetings as needed.

Robinson said the village will continue to employ special counsel for economic development, labor and personnel, debt and bond issues, prosecution and housing court, and administrative adjudication prosecution.

"We have been with the same company for 41 years," Village President Beverly Sussman said. "We just decided that we were going to go out and see what prices are around."

There was no dissatisfaction with Raysa, Sussman added.

"It was just time to see what was out there and what we could get and how much money it might cost us or how much money we might save," she said.

The dollar savings are yet to be determined, since Bragg is negotiating an agreement.

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