Freshly sworn in just minutes before, the newly constituted Riverside Village Board made its first decision on May 4, voting unanimously to change its general legal counsel and the legal counsel that handles labor matters.

Out after 13 years in both those roles was the firm of Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, hired in 2010 during the administration of President Michael Gorman. The firm had assigned two attorneys for general government and zoning matters, including Riverside resident Michael Marrs and Berwyn resident Lance Malina. Anne Skrodzki had served as the labor counsel.

“We valued the work that both Lance and Michael did and their contributions,” Village Manager Jessica Frances said. “Whether the board brings them back on a special counsel basis is potentially always an opportunity.”

Filippini Law Firm, based in Evanston, takes over as the village’s general legal counsel, while the Chicago-based firm Clark Hill PLC was hired as the village’s labor counsel. After interviewing two firms for the role of village prosecutor, Riverside decided to rehire attorney Thomas Brescia for that job.

The small firm, which has four attorneys, specializes in municipal and land use law and counts Bannockburn, Grayslake, Volo, Long Grove and Crystal Lake among its municipal clients.

Attorney Robert E. Pickrell from Filippini Law Firm was seated at the board table at the Riverside Village Board’s meeting on May 4. According to the law firm’s website, Pickrell was an Evanston police officer before becoming a lawyer.

That’s quite a change from Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, an 85-year-old firm that employs 30 attorneys and has represented, according to its website, “more local governments in Illinois than any other law firm,” including municipalities, school districts, fire protection districts.”

Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins was interviewed for both general and labor counsel, according to Frances. Filippini was interviewed only for general legal counsel.

Marrs chalked up the move away from his firm to change being part of the business. He said he learned of the changeable nature of municipal clients from one of the firm’s founders, Newell Jenkins, who also had been a Riverside resident who represented Riverside many years ago.

“While we are of course disappointed by the board’s decision to make a change, it has been an honor and a privilege for KTJ to represent the village of Riverside these past 13 years,” Marrs wrote in an email. “It has been an especially gratifying experience for me given the fact that I live in town and have a vested interest in the village’s well-being. Lance, myself and the firm wish the village the best going forward.”

The new labor counsel, Clark Hill PLC, has been around since 1890. It’s an international firm with more than 700 attorneys with offices in 25 locations in the U.S. and one each in Ireland and Mexico.

After issuing a request for proposals in January and receiving 15 submissions from interested law firms for one or more of the legal counsel roles, a committee of elected officials, including President Joseph Ballerine, trustees Edward Hannon and Doug Pollock and trustee-elect Jill Mateo, interviewed representatives from three firms for both general and labor counsel.

Those interviewing the prosecutor firms were Ballerine, Frances, Public Safety Director Matthew Buckley and Assistant Village Manager Ashley Monroe.