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Nicolay & Dart LLC


Nicolay & Dart LLC is a law firm concentrating on governmental and regulatory representation. Its two principals, John Nicolay and Tim Dart, have many years of experience representing premier clients at all levels of Illinois government. Nicolay & Dart LLC is one of the few firms in Illinois providing governmental representation in the General Assembly, the Chicago City Council, and Cook County government. Formerly partners at Winston & Strawn LLP, John and Tim provide a unique balance of experience that allows them to advocate effectively in any situation. The firm offers intensive, personalized strategy and representation that conforms to the highest ethical standards.


Our attorneys are experienced in many areas of governmental and regulatory law, including legislation, agency rulemaking, government procurement, executive clemency, governmental ethics and zoning.

In addition, we have often partnered with the top public affairs firms in Illinois to provide a full range of grass-roots and media strategy services to our clients. Our experience has shown that a comprehensive approach to a legislative or regulatory problem is the best way to obtain a positive result for our clients.


JOHN D. NICOLAY has been a partner of the firm since its founding in 2005. Prior to that, he directed state governmental representation at Winston & Strawn LLP for seven years. Previously, he served as general counsel to Illinois Senate President James “Pate” Philip, where his responsibilities included staffing and operations for the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee.

Prior to his work with the office of the Senate President, he served as a legislative liaison for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office where he helped secure passage of more than 50 pieces of legislation, including major sentencing and evidentiary reforms. He also served as an Assistant State’s Attorney and practiced in the area of commercial and governmental litigation at Shefsky & Froelich,Ltd. Inaddition,Mr.NicolayservedasaLegislativeAidetoformerSenate Minority Leader Frank Watson, and as a special assistant to Governor James R. Thompson.

Mr. Nicolay has represented major corporations, trade associations, and entrepreneurs in the General Assembly. He also has negotiated and litigated on behalf of clients before municipal and administrative law tribunals. He is a frequent speaker on legislative process and governmental ethics, and served as outside ethics counsel to the Senate President. Mr. Nicolay is the co-author of Effective Dates of Illinois Legislation, in the Handbook of Illinois Administrative Law (Illinois State Bar Association, 2001).

In January 2008, Mr. Nicolay was named as a “Rising Star” in the Illinois Super Lawyers edition of Chicago Magazine, having been nominated by fellow members of the Illinois bar. Since February 2019, he has been named a “Super Lawyer” each year in the area of Government Affairs in the same publication and was the only state government lobbyist so honored.

Mr. Nicolay is past President and serves on the Board of Directors of The Advocacy Group, an international governmental affairs organization. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association, a not-for-profit corporation which administers the public use of the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield and the Hayes Mansion in DuQuoin. Additionally, John is a member of the Board of Directors of the 100 Club of Illinois, which supports the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. He has also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of MacMurray College, served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Board of Directors of Intermountain Corporate Affairs Company. He is honored to serve on the Advisory Board of Misericordia/Heart of Mercy Home in Chicago, a residential facility for over 600 developmentally disabled children and adults, which is a pro bono client of the firm.

Mr. Nicolay received a B.S. in history and political science from MacMurray College and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law. He is admitted to practice in the Illinois Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois.

In 2010, Mr. Nicolay was selected by his peers to serve as Speaker of the Illinois Third House, which is the trade organization for Illinois governmental affairs professionals.

TIMOTHY J. DART directed municipal government representation at Winston & Strawn LLP for seven years. He concentrates his practice on legislative and local government matters on behalf of corporations, developers, and property owners. Mr. Dart has represented clients before the Illinois General Assembly, where he served as a legal counsel for the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. In addition, he served as a member of the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He also has negotiated contracts with the City of Chicago, represented clients in land-use issues before the Chicago City Council and the Cook County Zoning Board, and contested the assessed valuation of property before the Cook County Assessor, Cook County Board of Tax Appeals, and the Illinois Department of Revenue. Mr. Dart received a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He received a J.D. from the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Mr. Dart is admitted to practice in the Illinois Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.