Steve Jakubowski, founder and author of nearly all posts for this blog, has worked in complex chapter 11 bankruptcies and reorganizations for 30+ years. Based in Chicago his entire professional career, he has represented diverse parties and interests on a variety of bankruptcy litigation and reorganization matters, as well as in commercial litigation in federal and state courts involving distressed companies or situations and receivership proceedings.
Steve has served as bankruptcy counsel in a number of high profile matters early in his career, including that of Carter Hawley Hale Stores Inc., where he was Skadden’s senior bankruptcy lawyer representing the Debtor. Steve also was one of the lead lawyers representing the bankruptcy estate of the failed subprime auto lender Reliance Acceptance Group in its post-confirmation litigation over the failed split-off from Cole Taylor Bank in 1997.
Steve has also served as bankruptcy counsel in a number of high profile matters nationwide for debtors, creditors’ and equity committees (both official and ad hoc), lenders, distressed asset acquirors, and litigation targets. Those matters have involved him in variety of industries, including most recently dairy, swine, meat packing, farming, pharmaceuticals, commercial real estate, retail electronic stores and clothing wholesalers, auto suppliers, casinos, medical technology, metal fabrication, and online music streaming services. He has remained a trusted corporate lawyer and advisor to several companies following their emergence from bankruptcy or completion of out-of-court restructurings..
Earlier in his career, Steve served as an officer of two reorganizing companies. The Delaware bankruptcy court appointed him chief operating officer of a public restaurant company in 1995 and as chairman and chief executive officer of New England’s top regional snack manufacturer in 1996. In both engagements, he successfully led the operating entity out of chapter 11 bankruptcy. Steve also has significant experience as a principal in the landfill gas-to-energy and renewable energy fields.
For the past 5 years, Steve has also represented several publicly-traded and private Chinese companies making outbound investments in the United States, both in traditional and distressed M&A transactions, and provides round-the-clock support for Chinese co-counsel needing a dependable advisor who understands the complexity of cross-border transactions involving Chinese companies.
Through his bankruptcy litigation career, he has assisted in recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars for bankruptcy estates in actions against recipients of avoidable transfers, against officers and directors for breaches of fiduciary duty, and against attorneys and accountants for professional malpractice.
His role in the General Motors bankruptcy case in 2009 on behalf of personal injury products liability claimants left behind by the sale to “New GM” led to his filing a $200 million class action case in 2015 on their behalf in the Court of Federal Claims against the United States on the theory that the stripping of these claimants’ successor liability causes of action against “New GM” constituted an unconstitutional takings under the Fifth Amendment. That case remains pending before that Court.
Steve has spoken at various law conferences and symposia on a variety of topics such as Creditors’ Committees roles and responsibilities, intellectual property issues in bankruptcy, BAPCPA, and legal ethics and the web. His work in the GM bankruptcy case on behalf of products liability claimants led to appearances on the CBS Evening News and Fox News Network. He also has been interviewed on NPR and Planet Money and has been widely quoted in the national press, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, as well as in various professional reporters such as the American Lawyer, Lawyers USA, and the BNA Professional Reporter.
Steve is rated AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and he has been selected as a Top Rated Lawyer in Corporate Restructuring and Bankruptcy by American Lawyer Media.
- Member, Trial Bar, Northern District of Illinois
- Commissioner, Lincolnwood Planning Commission, Lincolnwood, Illinois, 2010-Present
- Commissioner, Lincolnwood Traffic Commission, Lincolnwood, Illinois, 2006 – 2009
- Vice President, Bais Chaim Dovid of Lincolnwood, 2004 – Present
- Director, Chicago Loop Synagogue, 1999-2006
- Eitz Chaim (Tree of Life) Awardee, Chicago Community Kollel Institute of Advanced Torah Studies, December 2001
- Union College (B.S., 1980)
- University of Chicago Law School (J.D. 1985)
Bar Admissions: Illinois