Schiller, Strauss and Lavin P.C. is Chicagoland’s premier law group, concentrating on Real Estate Tax Law. Schiller, Straus & Lavin P.C. provides a unique blend of legal and business expertise, and delivers these services to its sophisticated clientele efficiently and effectively. At Schiller, Strauss and Lavin P.C., the emphasis is on successful results for our clients, and we have been achieving our goal since 1985.
ABBY L. STRAUSS
Abby has practiced in the area of real estate taxation for more than 24 years and concentrates largely on contesting commercial, industrial, and some of the larger residential properties. Her vast litigation experience has brought her before assessors and Boards of Review in Cook and outlying counties, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board and in the Circuit Court of Cook County, achieving property tax savings and refunds to clients exceeding $30 million.
She has achieved significant tax relief for property owners of owner occupied buildings, and both small income generating properties and some of the more complex income properties such as shopping malls, hotels, corporate office buildings, and business campuses. She has done extensive work and achieved significant savings on virtually hundreds of apartment buildings and apartment complexes. In addition to her property assessment litigation background, she also has extensive experience and specializes in the area of real estate finance.
Abby has lectured and made presentations before various real estate related organizations, including the Chicago Real Estate Counsel and a branch of Caldwell Banker regarding the process of appealing assessments and her expertise is highly regarded in the industry. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the Chicago Kent College of Law (1990) and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (1987)Abby has served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Child & Family Services since 1998 and has been a member of the Chicago Real Estate Council since 1999 and the Chicago Bar Association since 1990.
LEONARD M. SCHILLER
For over 35 years, Leonard has devoted his career to all aspects of state and local property tax and general real estate matters, which includes not only ad valorem appeals, but an expertise in property tax exemptions, state and local property tax incentives and local government property tax finance. Leonard has secured over $50 million in tax savings for his clients.
Leonard has represented owners of office buildings, shopping centers, restaurants, retail stores, hotels, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, warehousing facilities, landfills, mixed use developments, leasehold properties, nursing homes, hospitals, condominium properties, apartments and single family homes. He has provided counsel to clients and represented them in seeking tax exemption status, and incentives, and has argued valuation and legal issues at all levels in the process.
Leonard’s representative client base is national in scope, litigating real estate taxation matters and developed creative legal theories in response to the valuation issues and ranges from Fortune 500 companies to local homeowners.
Leonard has served on the Illinois State Bar Association Committee on Property Taxation, and is an active member of the Illinois Lawyer’s Property Tax Association. He has served as president of a multistate property management company and on the boards of several public corporations. His professional affiliations include the American and Illinois Bar Associations. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, and attained his Juris Doctor degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
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MELISSA A. CROSS
Melissa (“Missy”) is an integral part of the Office and has been recognized as one of the top residential real estate assessment analysts in the field. Her 19 years of experience in the valuation process has concentrated on residential properties in Cook and in the outlying counties to contest any assessment that appears excessive in value, but to also guarantee clients the uniformity in taxation required under Illinois law.
Melissa has assisted the firm in securing favorable property assessments and taxes for clients through the pursuit of equitable fair market values, applicable incentives and reduced tax rates. Her in-depth assessment analysis over the years has been the basis for more than 10,000 successful residential assessment complaints, and real property tax refunds surpassing $5 million.
As supervisor of the residential group, Missy heads a large staff of highly qualified paralegals that aggressively analyze the physical characteristics for each of the properties under review before a recommendation is made to the legal staff whether the assessment is excessive and an appeal is warranted. She also assists in the research, drafting and review of filings before administrative agencies and analysis of real estate appraisals and other relevant data in preparation for administrative and court filings of all residential, commercial and industrial properties.
DAVID M. LAVIN
David’s broad depth of property tax experience is national in scope and concentrates on representing owners of complex commercial and industrial properties in challenging property tax assessments extended against their property. He has represented several Fortune 500 companies locally and nationally, litigating property assessment appeals in 26 states while achieving property tax savings and refunds which exceed $40 million. He has successfully litigated the valuation of diverse properties including landfills, nursing homes, corporate headquarters, leasehold estates, telecommunications and large downtown office buildings and hotels.
In Illinois, most notably Cook County, he represents a wide range of clients before the Assessor's Office, the Board of Review, the State of Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board ("PTAB") and in the Circuit Court of Cook County, as well as litigating tax objections, exemption and classification issues, tax sale and tax deed matters in both the Circuit and Appellate Courts
Before entering private practice, David served as deputy supervisor of the Real Estate Tax Division of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office (the "CCSAO") where he was responsible for supervising trials involving assessment appeals in the Circuit Court of Cook County, and before the PTAB. He began his legal career in the CCSAO as a criminal prosecutor where he advanced to the Felony Trial Division and Special Prosecutions Bureau, successfully trying 38 felony criminal juries to verdict and more than 250 felony bench trials to verdict.
David has taught Advanced Trial Advocacy as an adjunct law professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law since 1998, and is also a senior instructor and coach of Chicago-Kent's nationally ranked Trial Advocacy Team. He earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the DePaul University College of Law, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Finance from Illinois State University.