MICHAEL C. DORF, has an extensive, broad based general commercial practice, which covers all areas of commercial transactions, corporate and partnership law, including foundation and not for profit corporation law and arts law. In addition, his practice includes election law, government relations and advocacy at the federal, state and local levels.
Mr. Dorf is a nationally recognized authority on political strategy and cultural planning at the national and local levels. He served as Special Counsel to United States Representative Sidney R. Yates (D.IL), where he helped to develop national policies on arts funding and the legislative and political process. Mr. Dorf returned to Chicago at the request of Mayor Harold Washington in order to create Chicago’s first Cultural Plan, applying, for the first time in any American city, the techniques of grassroots organizing and local advocacy to a cultural planning process. As part of the evaluation process for the subsequent Cultural Plan initiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Dorf chaired the Stewardship Committee established by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Arts Alliance Illinois. He has previously served as Legal Affairs Consultant to the President’s Independent Commission on the National Endowment for the Arts, and as General Counsel to the Democratic Party of Illinois. His writings on public funding for the arts have appeared in many national publications, and he is a frequent media commentator on arts and election law issues.
Mr. Dorf is Adjunct Full Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he developed and teaches courses in Law, Politics, and the Arts and Street Law for the Artist. He has also guest taught at the Cultural Policy Center of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies. He has served as a campaign chairman and campaign manager, and has represented numerous elected officials and candidates for local, state, and federal office, as well as political committees and “Superpacs”, in election law, ethics consultation, and campaign finance compliance matters. He is a past Chairman of the Chicago Bar Association Election Law Committee.
Mr. Dorf is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the School of Law of Columbia University. He is a member of the bars of Illinois and the District of Columbia. He has served as a Board Member of Arts Alliance Illinois, Illinois Humanities, Lawyers for the Creative Arts, the Illinois Community College Board, and the Gabriella and Paul Rosenbaum Foundation. In the most recent Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Election Law Manual, he is the author of the chapter on Federal Campaign Finance and Disclosure, and co-author, along with Ellen K Raymond, of the chapter on State and Federal Court Remedies. Mr. Dorf is the author, along with Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, of “Clear It With Sid!”, a book scheduled for publication by the University of Illinois Press in April 2019, about Congressman Sidney Yates and the breakdown of bipartisanship in the United States Congress.