A member of the Real Estate Practice since 1975, Virginia Harding was Gould & Ratner’s first woman associate and later, its first woman partner. She has practiced as Of Counsel since 1995. As a real estate attorney, she has enjoyed long-term relationships with clients and their properties, having worked with one large development for much of her career. Handling multiple transactions for the same clients has given her a particular understanding of her clients’ needs, concerns and properties.

Virginia has in-depth experience representing the developers of master planned communities, beginning with site acquisition through sell-out. In the course of her career, she handled transitions with many of the national builders and developers in the Chicago metropolitan market. As a land developer’s attorney, she is familiar with the annexation, zoning and land planning processes. She has handled innovative financing transactions for water, waste water and other infrastructure improvement projects. Virginia is known for her ability to draft complicated land agreements, including Reciprocal Easement Agreements (REAs) and Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). She is highly experienced in the purchase, sale and financing of properties developed on ground leases and over air rights.

In addition, Virginia has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Associate certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This non-legal certification denotes knowledge of green design, construction and operations.



  • University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1972
  • Northwestern University, M.S. Communications, Managerial Speech, 1996
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A., Political Science, 1969

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois


  • Past President, Chicago Mortgage Attorneys Association
  • Chicago Real Estate Council
  • Director, Cliff Dwellers Club of Chicago
  • Director, Commonwealth Plaza Condominium Association
  • Founding Member, Illinois Real Estate Alumni Forum
  • Adjunct Professor, The John Marshall Law School – Real Estate Transaction (J.D. Program), Drafting and Negotiations Skills Workshop (LL.M and M.S. Programs in Real Estate Law) and Leasing Ownership and Management (LL.M and M.S. Programs in Real Estate Law) and Seminar on Sustainable Solutions for Water Resources
  • Advisory Committee, Center for Real Estate Law, The John Marshall Law School
  • Member, Ely Chapter, Lambda Alpha International, The Land Economics Society
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • U.S. Green Building Council, Chicago Chapter
  • Class Correspondent, University of Chicago Law School, Class of 1972


    Water from the Practitioner’s Perspective (Coordinator & Moderator), John Marshall Law School’s Kratovil Conference on Water as a Natural Resource,November 2009
  • Non-Engagement Letters (Presenter), Center for Real Estate Law at John Marshall Law School’s program on Ethics for Transactional Lawyers, May 2009
  • Green Financing for Sustainable Development (Moderator), Law Bulletin Publishing’s Building Green Chicago, April 2009
  • Water Availability and Storm Water Management (Presenter), Half Moon Seminars program on Legal Issues in Real Estate Development, September 2008
  • Providing a Green Future for Existing Buildings (Coordinator & Moderator), Chicago Real Estate Council (CREC), May 2008
  • A Look at 1031 Like-Kind Exchange Transactions (Moderator), co-sponsored by the Center for Real Estate Law and the Center for Tax Law & Employee Benefits at John Marshall Law School, February 2008
  • Approval and Funding of Infrastructure in Illinois (Speaker and Panel Moderator), Lorman Education Services, February 2008
  • Public Finance Transactions for Commercial & Industrial Properties (Panel Moderator), Law Bulletin Seminars, October 2007
  • Commercial Lease Transactions (Panel Member), John Marshall Law School Kratovil Conference on Real Estate Law and Practice, October 2007
  • Access Issues and Real Estate Transactions, National Business Institute, September 2007
  • Financing New Streets and Roads, National Business Institute, September 2007
  • Closing the Transaction, Chicago Community Outreach Program of the Real Property, Probate & Trust Section, American Bar Association, June 2007
  • Marketable v. Insurable Title, National Business Institute, April 2007
  • Identifying and Resolving Title Issues: A Case Study, National Business Institute, April 2007
  • The Takings Clause Clarified by The U.S. Supreme Court (Panel Moderator), John Marshall Law School Kratovil Conference on Real Estate Law & Practice, September 2006
  • Common Ownership: Condominiums and More (Program Moderator), Professional Education Broadcast Network, September 2006
  • The Development Approval Process in Illinois – Overview of the Development Approval Process, Lorman Education Services, August 2006
  • Drafting, Terminating, Modifying and Amending Easements, Lorman Education Services, March 2006