Services are scheduled this weekend for Jerry B. Wallack, a prominent Chicago-based public finance lawyer who died suddenly Sept. 4. He was 63.
Mr. Wallack, who served as managing partner for Kutak Rock LLP’s Chicago office after helping launch it in 2000, led the firm in building its Illinois presence.
“Along with other partners, Jerry was instrumental in developing bond issuer clients in the city of Chicago and at the state level and in making Kutak Rock a force in Illinois public finance,” Kutak chairman David Jacobson said. Kutak was ranked third last year in the Midwest among bond counsel providing opinions on deals valued at $4 billion, according to data from Thomson Reuters.
Mr. Wallack served as lead attorney or co-lead attorney for Kutak Rock’s work with Illinois, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Illinois Finance Authority, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and Chicago, according to the firm. His practice spanned government, transportation, healthcare, education, development, and the housing sectors.
He co-authored with Mark Hall “Intergovernmental Cooperation and the Transfer of Powers” in the University of Illinois Law Review.
“Clients liked to work with Jerry because he could think his way out of a box,” said his longtime colleague and friend, Kevin Barney. “He could take a problem that seemed insolvable and pick it apart until he found a structure that worked.” Barney recalled a particularly challenging structure being crafted for the Illinois Housing Development Authority in which he came up with a workable solution.
The firm was hired by the city to help on structuring ideas during the early days of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust as it struggled to structure deals that would allow the city and its sister agencies to capture savings from private financings while keeping the debt off their balance sheets.
“He was a brilliant mind and a good man,” Barney said.
Wallack earned his law degree from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1978. He went to Borge and Pitt where he was a partner. The firm merged in 1987 with what is now Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and he remained there until his departure to launch Kutak’s Chicago office in 2000.
On a personal level, Wallack’s colleagues described him as a dog lover and proud Chicago Blackhawks fan who enjoyed the hockey team’s string of Stanley Cup victories. His family asks that in lieu of flowers donations go to Coastal Boxer Rescue.
“If you were his friend, he was in your corner,” Barney said.
Mr. Wallack, a resident of Evanston, had been recovering from a stroke and was expected to soon return to work but had recently suffered a setback after a fall.
He is survived by his wife, Betty Brady, daughter, Wendy Wallack, and sister Madeleine Wallack. Visitation is Saturday, September 12 at Donnellan Family Funeral Home in Skokie.