Michael D. Firsel
Founder & Principal
Michael is a founder and principal of the law firm Firsel Ross, concentrating his practice on all aspects of real estate, including development, transactions, leasing, real estate tax reductions, governmental incentives and zoning. Michael also practices in the general business area advising and counseling small to medium size business owners and entrepreneurs.
From 1973 to 1978, Michael was a general practitioner handling not only real estate matters but litigated jury and non-jury cases in general litigation, personal injury, workman’s compensation, and divorce. In 1978, Michael began to concentrate his practice in real estate, representing sellers, buyers, investors, and developers as a transactional real estate attorney. From 1973 to 1982 Michael was an associate, and later an equity partner, in the firm of Carlins & Kamensky, and thereafter, Kamensky & Landan. Michael handled many real estate transactions, representing lenders, as well as buyers, sellers, and investors of everything from real estate partnerships to condominiums (and condominium associations) and single-family residences to complicated split-ownership transactions of apartment, industrial and office buildings, as well as retail properties.
In 1982, Michael ventured out on his own and founded the small firm of Firsel & Salzman, concentrating in real estate transactions and real estate tax reduction matters. During the next three years, Michael’s personal practice flourished and required a larger support group of real estate attorneys. In 1985, he co-founded the law firm of Schain, Firsel & Burney. That firm grew from its original six attorneys to approximately 25 real estate attorneys when he left the firm 15 years later. Through the years, his expertise in transactional real estate, real estate taxation, tax increment financing, and all other aspects of lender representation and municipal finance put him in demand as counsel to many Chicago-area sellers, purchasers, developers, investors, lenders, and municipalities.
Michael transitioned from real estate attorney to real estate developer in 1999, establishing Firson Investment & Development Company with prominent Chicago developer Gerald Fogelson. For two years they worked on and developed projects including Central Station in Chicago, and the mixed-use residential/retail redevelopment of downtown LaGrange, Illinois.
In 2001, Michael founded Mid-America Development Partners with David Bossy, a full-service ground-up retail real estate development company. Over the years, Mid-America completed more than 20 retail developments and redevelopments. In 2006, Mid-America merged with the hospitality development firm The Harp Group and was involved in several large hotel and mixed-use development projects in the Chicago area and throughout the country. At the time of the merger, Crescendo Companies was formed as the holding company for Mid-America, The Harp Group, Portfolio Hotels and Resorts (a hotel management company), and Cenitare Restaurants (a restaurant company developed with renowned Chef Rick Tramonto). Michael served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Crescendo Companies.
In 2008, with the demise of the credit markets and faltering economy, Mid-America was disbanded and Michael joined his son Adam and his partner Mike Nortman at Crossroads Development Partners where Michael returned to the practice of law and became Vice-President and general counsel.
Since 2009, demands for Michael’s services as real estate counsel increased. While a sole practitioner, and now with the firm of Firsel Ross, Michael’s fees were and remain very competitive with other attorneys with equal or lesser experience in all areas of the real estate field and general business practice.
Michael was formerly on the Executive Committee and Advisory Board of Roosevelt University’s Chicago School of Real Estate. He also served on the Arlington Heights, Illinois Plan Commission for eight years, including five years as its Chairman. He is a past President of Temple Chai in Long Grove, and Vice-President of Twin Orchard Country Club, also in Long Grove.
Michael is a lifelong Chicago native and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a law degree from DePaul University.
He and his wife, Sandra, live in Vernon Hills, Illinois. They have two grown sons, Chad and Adam, both active in the real estate business in Chicago.
J.D., DePaul University
B.A., University of Wisconsin - Madison
State of Illinois