“Joanna Horsnail is amazing.” “She is incredibly efficient, practical and strategic. She's also intellectual and she knows the documents inside and out.” 
Chambers USA 2021


Joanna Horsnail is a construction and government transactions attorney whose practice focuses on the following areas: 

Design and Construction. Represents public and private owners, developers, lenders, and contractors regarding the design, construction, development, financing, acquisition, and disposition of facilities, including various public-private partnership projects. Other experience includes traditional power projects, renewable energy projects, and other infrastructure projects. Joanna negotiates and prepares EPC contracts, design and construction agreements, concession agreements, sponsorship agreements, naming rights agreements, leases, service agreements, purchase agreements, operation and maintenance agreements, consulting contracts and various project-management agreements. Joanna is recognized by Chambers USA 2021 for Construction and ranked as one of 15 “Leading Lawyers” by Legal 500 for Construction in the United States.

Public and Project Finance. Represents clients in tax-exempt financings as bond counsel, underwriters’ counsel, issuer’s counsel, and credit enhancer’s counsel. Joanna has participated in financings for the State of Illinois (bond counsel for $10 billion pension obligation bond financing, which was named a Bond Buyer Midwest deal of the year), the City of Chicago, the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other public and not-for-profit entities. Also works on construction-related aspects of project finance transactions, including representing lenders and sponsors.

General Governmental Representation. Provides general counsel to government bodies engaged in activities such as construction, privatization, economic development, procurement, complex developments and special projects. She has negotiated and documented sophisticated transactions involving the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority.

Joanna also serves as chair of Mayer Brown’s Diversity Steering Board.

Lenguajes Hablados

  • English


Representative transactions include the following:

Roads and Bridges

  • Represented the Texas Department of Transportation in the negotiation of a design-build agreement and capital maintenance agreements for more than $2 billion in highway construction projects.
  • Represented a bidding consortium sponsored by Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. (a division of Ferrovial) in its bid to design/build/finance/maintain/operate a new toll road running between the Jackson Airport and downtown Jackson, Mississippi through a public-private-partnership model.
  • Represented a bidding consortium sponsored by Hochtief PPP Solutions North America in its bid to design/build/finance/maintain/operate a new toll bridge that will span the Currituck Sound in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina through a public-private-partnership model.

Social Infrastructure

  • Represented the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority of Chicago in the negotiation and drafting of design-build contracts for the McCormick Place Convention center expansion and a design-build contract for the development of the $120 million convention center hotel and related operating and management agreement.
  • Represented the City of Chicago in the negotiation of a 20-year design/build/install/maintain contract relating to thousands of pieces of “street furniture” provided by JCDecaux.

Rail and Transit

  • Designated lenders’ counsel on the FasTracks Eagle P3 commuter rail expansion project in Denver, Colorado. This is the most significant rail transit project undertaken and implemented as a P3 in the US. This project was named 2010 North American Transport Deal of the Year by Project Finance magazine and a Regional Deal of the Year by The Bond Buyer.
  • Counsel to the California High-Speed Rail Authority on the implementation of its proposed state-wide high-speed rail network.
  • Represented Japanese member of consortium bidding to construct new metro railway system in Panama City, Panama.

Energy and Industrial

  • Represented Acciona Energy North America in the negotiation and drafting of engineering, consulting and construction agreements for numerous wind farms in Oklahoma, Texas and Canada, as well as miscellaneous EPC matters, turbine supply agreements and transportation agreements.  Also representing this client in development of agreements for solar energy project.
  • Representing Benteler in its construction of a hot rolling steel mill and related facilities near Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • Represented power producer in the Dominican Republic in negotiation of EPC contract and related documents for construction of 215 MW dual-fuel power plant.
  • Represented Caterpillar as EPC contractor in the negotiation of multiple EPC contracts for projects in the US and Canada.
  • Represented a Japanese company in its EPC negotiations to build a gas pipeline in Mexico for a Mexican utility.
  • Represented Crestwood in EPC negotiations to bid for the construction of a gas pipeline in Texas.


Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, JD
Order of the Coif
Chicago-Kent Law Review

University of Colorado, BS



  • Illinois


  • Board of Directors of Cabrini Green Legal Aid
  • Board of Directors of PURA Syndrome Foundation
  • Leadership Greater Chicago, Fellow 2015
  • Women in Public Finance (Past President); recipient of the 2007 Woman of the Year Award
  • Board of Directors of Anixter Center (2009 to present); Board Chair (2014-16)
  • Women’s Infrastructure Network
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers