John R. Simpson

John R. Simpson joined Sorling Northrup in January 2009 after 32 years of practice with the Illinois Attorney General.

Mr. Simpson graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A. English, 1973) and from the University of Illinois College Of Law (J.D. 1976). After employment with John Hancock Insurance Company in 1976, he joined the Illinois Attorney General’s office, where he served as an Assistant Attorney General and later Senior Assistant in the Revenue Litigation Bureau and the Estate Tax Section. From 1976 through 1982, his principal duties were as counsel for Illinois inheritance tax administration and litigation. Beginning in 1982, Simpson was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the newly enacted Illinois Estate Tax, and also assumed new responsibilities with regard to representation of the Illinois Department of Revenue. That practice included litigation of hundreds of cases for that department, the Property Tax Appeal Board and other agencies on a wide range of tax and collection issues.

His recent work has focused on litigation with multi-jurisdictional taxpayers in both Illinois income and excise tax cases (sales and motor fuel). Mr. Simpson successfully represented the Department of Revenue in matters ranging from local business issues to litigation involving tens of millions of dollars with the largest multinational corporations, such as BP Amoco and DuPont. He handled a guiding case regarding Illinois sales taxes and interstate commerce Brown’s Furniture vs. Illinois Department of Revenue). In 2007 and 2008, he acted as trial counsel for the Department of Revenue in one of its most important recent property tax exemption cases, Provena Hospitals vs. Illinois Department of Revenue. The department’s position in that case was recently upheld on appeal.

Mr. Simpson acted as counsel for the state in many different types of collection cases, claims in bankruptcy, interstate border disputes, and state finance. He was active in drawing many pieces of legislation concerning Illinois taxes and collection authority and testified numerous times before the state legislature. Prior to 1995, when members of the Illinois Attorney General’s staff were allowed to maintain a private practice, Simpson assisted clients with wills, trusts, estate and tax planning and probate matters.

Mr. Simpson’s practice at Sorling Northrup will focus on estate and tax planning, state and local tax advice, and litigation before administrative bodies, including the Illinois Department of Revenue, and the courts. He is licensed to practice in Illinois and admitted to the bar of the U. S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Mr. Simpson is available to assist with wills, trusts, estate and tax planning, state and local tax issues, and collection matters.


  • University of Illinois, Urbana, IL - B.A. in English, 1973
  • University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, IL - J.D., 1976

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois

Practice Areas