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Possessing extensive experience in the fields of real estate and environmental law, John E. McElhinney focuses on complex real estate acquisition and development. Licensed in Massachusetts for more than 25 years, John E. McElhinney is proficient in the areas of land use, due diligence, municipal zoning, and structuring of multi-party development partnerships, as well as joint ventures. Mr. McElhinney graduated with Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude honors from Dartmouth College, majoring in Economics and Government. Subsequently, he matriculated at Harvard Law School, earning his Juris Doctor with cum laude honors in 1984. After graduation, he became an Associate in the Real Estate and Environmental Group at Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster in Boston. After a six-year tenure at the firm, John E. McElhinney joined Ropes & Gray as a Partner. Over his eight years there, he represented landowners in litigation regarding more than 100 Superfund and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection hazardous waste sites. In 1998, he accepted a position as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Willowbend Development, LLC, where he managed real estate acquisition and development for a $2 billion real estate portfolio. At present, Mr. McElhinney serves as the Principal Attorney at his own firm, located in Winchester, Massachusetts. For nearly a decade, he has served a diverse clientele involved in the real estate development industry. For clients, Mr. McElhinney frequently investigates land use and environmental permitting, as well as financing. He also collaborates with Fireman Family Real Estate entities. Dedicated to providing his clients with the highest level of service, John E. McElhinney remains deeply involved with his professional community through involvement with the Boston Bar Association and the Massachusetts Conveyancers Association. 

Work experience

Jan 2003Present

Principal Attorney

Law Office of Jack McElhinney

Private practice focused on real estate development clientele. Practice involves extensive work in development and land use and environmental permitting, acquisition and financing. Continued work on a contract basis for Fireman Family Real Estate entities.

Jan 1998Jan 2003

Executive Vice-President and General Counsel

Willowbend Development, LLC

Responsibilities included legal and business oversight of all real estate acquisition, development and finance activities for privately held $2B real estate portfolio including residential, commercial and hotel projects throughout North America and Caribbean.

Jan 1990Jan 1998


Ropes & Gray

Partner in firm’s Real Estate/Environmental Groups focusing on environmental and land use and permitting and real estate acquisition, development and finance. Provided real estate and environmental support for firm’s M&A and private equity practice groups. Represented landowners in over 100 Superfund and Mass DEP hazardous waste sites.


Aug 1981May 1984


Harvard Law School

graduated cum laude

Aug 1976May 1980


Dartmouth College