Theodore J. Novak, Class of 1967

Highly regarded real estate and land use attorney at DLA Piper

Theodore J. NovakTheodore J. Novak is a senior partner in DLA Piper’s Real Estate group, and has chaired its Land Use, Development, and Government Relations Practice for the past 25 years. He has handled some of the most significant real estate land use projects in the Midwest, and was listed by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the top tier of America’s leading lawyers. In 2013, he was named to the ICFM 500 by InterContinental Finance Magazine, its list of the top 500 lawyers in the world. Mr. Novak was honored to receive the Judge Learned Hand award in 2007, which is given to outstanding leaders of the legal profession as a voice of understanding and good will. He currently sits on multiple civic and charitable boards and lectures on “Land Use, Zoning and Condemnation” at the University of Chicago.

What were you like as a law student?

I worked full time while going to school and didn’t have the chance to take advantage of all the opportunities that the school made available to students.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

A patent attorney. I have a science background – my undergraduate work prepared me to be a chemist or a pharmacist.

What advice would you give to young attorneys just starting out today?

You need to be passionate. It is a long journey. If you don’t have a passion for the law, and for your own practice, you shouldn’t be here.

How did Chicago-Kent prepare you for your present success?

It gave me a well-rounded, practical, sensible academic foundation that continues to ground me every day.

How would you persuade a potential student to attend Chicago-Kent?

I would speak about its practical approach, its nationally regarded Moot Court Competition, the valuable network it provides and its solid academics. Its accomplished alumni are a clear demonstration of everything you can achieve with an education from Chicago-Kent.