Alpita A. Shah has a wide-reaching background in law, government and economic development at the local, federal and international levels. Ms. Shah’s practice focuses on Government and Regulatory Matters, Aviation/Transportation, Transactional/Contracts, and Strategic Business Counseling.
Most recently, Ms. Shah served as Senior Counsel in the Aviation, Environmental, Regulatory and Contracts division in the Corporation Counsel’s office at the City of Chicago. She advised senior City officials on various legislative, procurement and regulatory matters, including those involving professional and work services agreements, technology licensing and software as a service (SaaS) arrangements, and design and construction contracts. From 2016 to 2018, she was the principal City lawyer in negotiations with the airlines for a new airline use and lease agreement and a new equipment and services consortium agreement for O’Hare International Airport.
Prior to her tenure at the City, Ms. Shah served as special advisor to the CEO of World Business Chicago, focusing on economic compacts between Chicago and its international sister cities (including Mexico City and Shanghai), as well as business environment and neighborhood development initiatives. Prior to this role, Ms. Shah was Counsel in the emerging markets practice group at Mayer Brown representing international financial institutions and non-profit community development organizations.
Before returning to her hometown of Chicago in 2011, Ms. Shah spent a decade in Washington D.C. as a lawyer and policy advisor for Presidentially-appointed officials in the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the World Bank. In these capacities, she negotiated debt relief and other financing agreements between the U.S. and developing countries and coordinated economic reconstruction efforts in war-torn regions in the Middle East and Southeastern Europe. She also negotiated World Bank investments in manufacturing companies and advised on ethics, governance and risk policies.
Representative Aviation/Transportation Transactions
- Represented the Chicago Department of Aviation in drafting, negotiation and implementation of legal agreements and compliance documents for City procurements and contracts authorized by the City Council, including:
- 2018 - 2019 Reimbursement Agreements with airlines for capital projects at the airport, including those funded by FAA Airport Improvement Program grants.
- 2018 Airline Use and Lease Agreement and 2018 Equipment and Services Consortium Agreement, each with a term of 15 years to replace existing 30-year agreements.
- 2016 Memorandum of Understanding with airlines operating at Midway International Airport relating to equipment for passengers with disabilities.
- 2016 Professional IT Services Agreement with a technology and cloud-based service provider of emergency notification alerts/messaging among key officials at O’Hare.
- 2015 Buy America waiver request to the Federal Highway Administration for the O’Hare Airport Transit System Expansion and Modernization Project.
- 2015 O’Hare General Airport Senior Lien Revenue and Revenue Refunding Bonds of nearly $2 billion.
- 2015 lease and reimbursement agreement for the South Air Traffic Control Tower at O’Hare.
- Represented underwriter in private placement by Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Martin of $132 million in 2013 airport bonds backed by airport passenger fees.
Representative Government Procurements and Contracts
- Represented Chicago Police Department in high-profile contract for purchase of Tasers, body-worn cameras and related cloud-based technology services on a fast-track deadline, involving complex legal, technical and operational issues, including compliance with U.S. Department of Justice grant funding, 2016 Illinois law on data retention requirements for body-worn cameras and City ordinance on reference contracts.
Representative Local/International Finance and Economic Development Transactions
- Affordable Housing. Represented, as pro-bono counsel, Chicago Community Loan Fund in initiatives to increase loans to businesses investing in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago.
- Energy/Manufacturing. Represented IFC in its first investment in Kosovo after its independence: a loan to a firm manufacturing rubber conveyor belts for equipment used in converting lignite to energy for commercial use; and in an investment in a publicly traded Turkish textile company relocating its manufacturing base to a village near Mumbai, India.
- Infrastructure/Environmental Sustainability. Represented the U.S. government in negotiations with the Government of Mexico to amend and restate the charter for the North American Development Bank, an entity established under NAFTA to fund environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects along the U.S.- Mexico border; and in negotiations with the Government of Belize on the first U.S. “debt for nature swap,” providing debt relief in exchange for Belize’s transfer of forest land to local environmental non-profit groups managed by The Nature Conservancy.
- Small Business Finance
- Represented the private sector arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in a $100 million credit line to Central American banks to increase small and medium-sized enterprise financing in the region; and in an € 8 million loan to a Spanish company to expand its call center operations to Nicaragua.
- Represented, as pro-bono counsel, Accion, a nonprofit small business lender, in securing a guarantee from the U.S. Small Business Administration that enabled Accion to increase its loan size; and in reaching agreements with rural partners that facilitated Accion’s expansion within Illinois and into Indiana.
- Yale Law School, J.D., 1996
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A. in Economics (summa cum laude), 1992
Professional, Civic and Community Engagement
- Chicago Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Board Member (2016-2018), South Asian Bar Association Foundation
- Mentor (2015-2017), Working in the Schools (WITS), Chicago Public Schools
- Mentor (2016-2017), New Leaders Council
- Midwest Liaison, Mindfulness in the Law Society