Billy Lyman


Billy Lyman

Commitment to Clients and Communities

I receive the greatest satisfaction at the firm from being able to serve those who need it most in our communities, not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up by finding creative ways to bring affordable housing and positive, impactful community development to those areas in which those assets are in short supply. We as a civilization are only as strong as the weakest among us, which is why I have devoted my life to public service and the building of just cities by ensuring that everyone has access to the basic housing and strong communities that will allow them to significantly improve their quality of life.

Career Overview:

Current Focus: I joined Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen in 2018. My practice focuses on representing developers, lenders, investors, nonprofit organizations, and public housing authorities in various affordable housing and community development projects as well as assisting those entities in their land use, zoning, and public entitlement matters.

Prior to joining the firm, I represented developers, municipalities, special districts, state agencies, and other private sector clients in a variety of real estate and construction deals as well as land use and zoning, code enforcement, licensing, legislative, and regulatory matters.

In pursuing a joint degree in law and urban planning at the University of Illinois, I immersed myself in the intersection of these two critically important fields, concentrating in affordable housing and community development for social justice, and dedicated myself to discovering how the tools of each could be combined to reinforce neighborhoods and make cities work for all their citizens. I was selected as a mayoral fellow for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, where I researched and developed policy for the City of Chicago. Additionally, I served as a student attorney in the Federal Civil Rights Clinic and the Community Preservation Clinic and president of the Latina/Latino Law Students Association. I also gained valuable experience in economic development, planning, and zoning working for the Village of Northfield, IL.

Highlights: I have received several recognitions for my pro bono service, with my favorite project being assisting a local arts nonprofit organization with the real estate matters and property tax appeal associated with its move into a retrofitted former Chicago Fire Department firehouse.

Professional Affiliations:

  • American Bar Association
    • Member, Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law
    • Member, Section of State and Local Government Law
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, American Planning Association
  • Board Member, Children’s Heart Foundation – Illinois Chapter


Our attorneys have a passion for helping our clients reclaim and re-invigorate neighborhoods and cities. We represent developers, tax credit syndicators, investors, tax-exempt community development organizations and public housing authorities. They trust us to get the job done–please come talk with us to learn why you should too.

Let’s Work Together