Joseph D. Kearney and Thomas W. Merrill

Authors of Lakefront: Public Trust and Private Rights in Chicago

Battles over who should control Chicago’s lakefront have shaped and defined our city since its earliest days.  Lakefront property owners sued the Illinois Central Railroad in the late nineteenth century, in a case tried before Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, riding circuit.  That case ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court, which ruled against the railroad and embraced the public trust doctrine.  In another celebrated series of cases in the Illinois state courts, mail order tycoon A. Montgomery Ward persuaded courts that the lakefront should be kept “forever open, clear, and free” of buildings east of Michigan Avenue in what is now Millennium Park and Grant Park.  The construction and expansion of Lake Shore Drive and projects such as McCormick Place were challenged on similar grounds but were allowed to proceed.  In our own time, many of these same arguments continue to play out in legal and political controversies about the expansion of lakefront university campuses and the construction of museums and other buildings in lakefront parks.

The Lawyers Club of Chicago is delighted to welcome Dean Joseph Kearney of the Marquette University Law School and Professor Thomas Merrill of Columbia University Law School to speak about the history of Chicago’s lakefront. Their critically acclaimed book was published by Cornell University Press in 2021.

May 4, 2022
Foley & Lardner LLP
321 North Clark Street | Suite 3000
Chicago, IL 60654

5:00 p.m. Registration and Reception
5:45 p.m. Program
6:45 p.m. Adjournment

Tickets are $40.00 for members and $45.00 for guests

Cancellation Policy: If you need to cancel your reservation, please email 72 hours in advance of the event to avoid receiving an invoice or to receive a refund if you have prepaid. 

Hourly Schedule

5:00 pm -
Registration and Reception
5:45 pm -
6:45 pm -


May 04 2022


5:00 pm - 6:45 pm




Foley & Lardner LLP
321 N. Clark Street, Suite 3000, Chicago, IL


The Lawyers Club of Chicago
(312) 804-9889
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