I established Lakelaw in 1999, where I lived, after 25 years of distinguished practice in Chicago, IL. The area was growing rapidly and demanded high quality services in bankruptcy and financial matters. The firm has grown from one lawyer in 1999 to 7 lawyers with offices in Chicago and Skokie as well as Waukegan in Illinois. In addition, the firm established two offices in Wisconsin in 2006. The firm has grown from one lawyer in 1999 to six lawyers with offices in Chicago, Illinois, Skokie, Illinois, Waukegan, Illinois and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Lakelaw represents people in financial matters. Our highly skilled attorneys represent people in both consumer bankruptcy cases and in business bankruptcy and insolvency matters. Our firm is one of the few consumer bankruptcy firms which can help clients with a wide array of consumer issues including Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Truth in Lending Act. We are among the leaders in the field in defending people against mortgage foreclosure, predatory lending and mortgage rescue scams.
Our firm represents people in consumer bankruptcy cases from the simplest to the most complex. I serve as a chapter 7 trustee, so all of our people are particularly aware of and sensitive to issues consumer and business debtors will face in their bankruptcy cases.
We represented a couple who had run a trucking company. The company's check for license plates bounced because the bank seized the accounts. As a result, the State of Illinois cancelled both husband and wife's drivers' license. They couldn't work. After they filed bankruptcy, we sued the Secretary of State of Illinois arguing that the cancellation of the drivers' license was in contempt of the injunction issued by the bankruptcy court when the couple got their discharge in bankruptcy. The State said that the bankruptcy court did not have jurisdiction to do this because of the 11th Amendment to the Constitution. We argued to the contrary and won! The couple got their drivers' license back when we settled this case. Here's the reported opinion in Slayton v. White.
We represented a couple in Chapter 13. The husband is an air traffic controller who had to travel long distances to get to the air traffic control center - the only place he could work. The chapter 13 trustee was unsympathetic. She wanted him to pay all of his disposable income in accordance with a formula - even though the formula didn't fit - this man needed to travel more than 100 miles each way to work every day and gas costs almost $3 per gallon. He and his wife were willing to pay all of their debts over 5 years. This trustee wanted him to pay them back faster - just 30 months. We litigated with the trustee and won - the debtor's payments are only 1/2 of what the trustee wanted and he and his wife will still pay their debts off within 60 months. In re Slater 08-72714 (Bankr. ND. IL April 30,2009).
Lakelaw fights for our clients. At Lakelaw, you will find not just a lawyer, but also an advocate and ally.
Representative Matters and Reported Decisions:
• Leibowitz v. Parkway Bank, 134 F2d 574 (7th Cir. 1998)
• Leibowitz v. Saleh 1994 Bankr. LEXIS 29 (Bankr. ND IL)
• Leibowitz v. Tanglis 344 B.R. 563 (Bankr. N.D. IL 2006) - (denial of discharge after trial)
• In re Kobus (Bankruptcy - bad faith chapter 13 conversion)
• In re UNR Industries, Inc. 736 F.2d 1136 - 7th Circuit. 1984 legal representative appeal)
• Gabellini v. Rega 724 F.2d 579 (7th Cir. 1984)
• Kramer v. Exchange National Bank of Chicago, 118 Ill. 2d 277, 515 N.E. 2d 57, 113 Ill. Dec. 248 (1987)
• In re Straight Arrow Products, Inc. (Chapter 11 creditors committee - 100% plan)
• In re Michael Sparks (Chapter 11 Debtor - real estate development debtor plan confirmed and fully executed after contested confirmation hearing)
• In re Wax Trax Records (Chapter 11 - independent recording company plan confirmed after negotiation)
• In re Process Control Technologies (Chapter 11 plan - manufacturing Debtor - plan confirmed resulting in 60% to unsecured creditors and ultimate sale of company for substantial value to debtors' principals)
• In re KMart Co. - Representation of 30 counties of the State of Georgia resulting in recovery of millions in ad valorem property taxes
• In re Delphi Corp - Representation of LG Philips LCD in connection with their multi-million dollar post-petition contract - advised on all aspects of Debtor's reorganization case, now confirmed
53 W. Jackson Boulevard
Chicago IL 60604
The purpose of an initial consultations is to allow a prospective client to evaluate whether our service will suit his or her needs. Usually, this can be done either in an initial phone conference or a relatively short time after we meet. We are required by the Bankruptcy Code to offer consumer bankruptcy clients an engagement agreement at the first meeting and typically clients will make an initial payment then or shortly thereafter. There is no obligation for fees until we are formally retained, even though an attorney-client relationship is established during the course of any consultation.
Consumer bankruptcy services for debtors are almost always on a fixed fee basis. These fees vary with the complexity of the case. We cannot quote a fee until we have information regarding the nature of the case. Our fees are competitive.
Hourly rates vary from $250 for the least senior associate to $625 for the most senior member.
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Other hours by appointment.
In addition to English, we speak Spanish, French and Polish.
I think bankruptcy is fundamental to the capitalist system and to our social contract. Bankruptcy allows people to fail while having a chance for a fresh start. If people did not have the chance for a fresh start, they would not take the risks necessary to be successful in a free society. I like that honest debtors who have financial reverses through no fault of their own can get a fresh start. I like to help them get out of financial trouble as get the fresh start they deserve.
Our website provides a wide array of information designed to help clients prepare for the issues they face and for meeting with us. The resources we provide are designed for all clients, so that clients with all levels of sophistication and education may get the information they need to make a proper decision. Our clients complete an online questionnaire which assures that their data is complete and accurate and saves everyone time and money.
We will look at documents prepared by our clients for a nominal fee.
Certain small claims must be handled by the clients themselves in order to be cost effective. We will handle this for a nominal fee.
I started practicing in 1974 with a small firm focusing on Real Estate. My first transaction was financing a 600 unit apartment building in Indiana. I then served as a clerk to my former law professor, John C. Hayes, who was a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court. For 16 years I was an associate and partner of Schwartz Cooper Kolb & Gaynor, a leading Chicago law firm in the areas of bank and bankruptcy law. I handled many appeals in the Seventh Circuit and one in the Illinois Supreme Court. Thereafter, I founded and led the bankruptcy practice at Freeborn & Peters, where I focused on debtor reorganizations under chapter 11, creditors' committee representation and debtor representation in single asset real estate cases.
I became a much better attorney as a result of my service on my local school board for 10 years. We reorganized three school districts into one and turned around a significant financial mess while we were at it. We engaged in strategic planning and had to bring a wide variety of people with differing points of view to consensus. I learned how to manage, plan, listen and organize through this service. I became a much better lawyer and human being as a result.
Our strengths start from treating clients with care. This means that we treat their cases carefully and our clients caringly. We show our clients kindness in the time of their financial difficulty. We treat all of our clients with the utmost courtesy and not as though they are just another record number or file passing through. We give our clients the respect and dignity they deserve. We treat all matters with professionalism. We codify our practices so that clients can know what to expect and so that things don't fall through the cracks. And we are dedicated to knowing our clients, their objectives and achieving them on a prompt and economical basis.Personal interests:
I enjoy traveling with my wife, both in the United States and abroad, bicycling, reading, playing with my grandchildren and dog. We enjoy visiting with friends. I like to work with wood and in my garden. For many years I was a soccer referee and still enjoy following that sport. I enjoy music and spectator sports as well. And I like poker.
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