As a real estate attorney with more than 40 years of experience, Suzanne is deal-driven, meticulous, practical, straight-forward, and a fierce advocate for her clients. She understands her clients’ businesses and proactively anticipates their needs as her clients evolve.

As co-chair of BFKN’s Real Estate Group, Suzanne concentrates her practice on commercial real estate and related corporate, securities, and business planning matters.

Suzanne has significant experience in the representation of publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and the formation of joint ventures that combine developers and other real estate professionals with institutional financial partners. Her practice also focuses on the acquisition, disposition, and financing of industrial, office and multi-family properties, as well as franchised hotels, and the acquisition, disposition, and financing of long-term ground leased properties.

Additionally, Suzanne’s practice includes experience with Shari’ah-compliant financings, multi-jurisdictional portfolio acquisitions and financings, and tax-deferred exchanges. She also handles leasing of industrial and office properties, and work with distressed assets, including loan restructurings, consent foreclosures and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure.

Suzanne has been individually recognized as a top Illinois real estate lawyer by Chambers USA, Leading Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America© for more than a decade. She is a fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.



  • State of Illinois


  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1980
  • North Central College, B.A., cum laude, 1977





  • Band Ranked, Chambers USA (2003-2023)
    • Real Estate (Illinois)
  • Best Lawyer, The Best Lawyers in America© (2008-2024)
    • Real Estate Law
  • Super Lawyer, Illinois Super Lawyers (2007-2024)
  • Leading Lawyers Network (2004-2023)
    • Top Ten Women: Real Estate (2015-2016)
    • Real Estate Law: Commercial
    • Real Estate Law: Finance
    • Top 100 Women Business Lawyers, Women's Edition (2012)
  • bl_bessettesmith_2024
  • Chambers_Bessette-smith_2023


  • Member, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)

"Suzanne is a very good lawyer, sophisticated with a good knowledge base. She's great to work with, practical and pragmatic."

Chambers USA
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