General Information

Year founded: 1984
This is the year the firm (or its earliest predecessor entity) was founded.
Logo for Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP

Overview

Content is provided by the firm.

Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP ("BFKN") was founded in 1984 with a vision focused on delivering efficient team-oriented services of the highest quality. The firm has continued to focus on this vision but has grown and evolved into a sophisticated, first-class legal practice with a diverse client roster of national and international clients. We’ve accomplished this by practicing law in a different way. Our strategic vision is to continue growing organically by helping our clients succeed, by constantly evaluating and implementing ways to better serve our clients, and by recruiting the highest caliber of diverse talent. Our growth has been steady and measured and we’ve chartered our own unique path to success which is different than any other firm.

Our Clients

BFKN represents a wide array of clients, from start-ups to Fortune 50 corporations across all industries. Our clients are sophisticated and located across the globe, from the Midwest to the East and West coasts to Europe and Asia. Our firm is lucky to have nurtured several generational client relationships, where we have served as outside counsel to those clients for many decades and have grown with them through changes, challenges, and triumphs. We also have a mix of new generation clients that appreciate our creative and customized approach to representation.

Our People

The firm recruits the best and brightest attorneys, many from elite law schools and laterals from other highly regarded law firms who also “want to do things differently.” Through hands-on, organic training and client-facing opportunities early on, BFKN drives its attorneys to not only develop and bolster their legal skills, but to understand their clients’ businesses and industries at a core level. Through these experiences, our attorneys gain knowledge of their clients that allows them to grasp the significance of the work they are doing, to understand the businesses they are serving, and to add true value to the matters on which they work. We promote a lean, collaborative, and entrepreneurial business focused working style. All these benefits combined make BFKN a great place for our attorneys to work and grow their careers.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion ("DEI")

BFKN is committed to the establishment, maintenance, and growth of a culture where diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are respected and intentionally valued by implementing initiatives and programs that will foster collaboration and accountability. We strive to attract the most qualified professionals from all backgrounds, perspectives, and abilities and to create a rewarding and fulfilling environment in which our people feel valued and appreciated and can grow and advance their careers. BFKN’s DEI Committee oversees equitable reviews of the firm’s policies and procedures, its accreditation into and implementation of the Midsized Mansfield Rule program, diversity, equity and inclusion training, and holistic recruiting procedures on an ongoing and forward-looking basis.

Our firm-wide DEI committee is co-chaired by two diverse attorneys, Daniel L. Dominguez and Maile Hitomi Solís. The committee currently consists of over 20 attorneys across all levels and areas of practice, with over 85% of the committee identifying in one or more EEOC-defined diverse groups. The committee continues to grow and welcome new members. BFKN’s DEI Committee meets regularly and is constantly looking at new initiatives and ways they can be implemented firmwide.

Main Areas of Practice

  • Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights
  • Compensation & Employment
  • Corporate & Securities
  • Financial Institutions
  • Intellectual Property
  • Litigation
  • Luxury
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Real Estate
  • Tax & Business Planning

For more information, visit www.bfkn.com.

Rankings

Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP is nationally ranked in 10 practice areas and metro ranked in 11 practice areas. Best Law Firms rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process.

Read how Best Law Firms ranks firms

National Rankings

Tier 1
Tier 1 for Financial Services Regulation Law
Tier 1 for Franchise Law
Tier 1 for Litigation - Real Estate
Tier 2
Tier 2 for Advertising Law
Tier 2 for Banking and Finance Law

Metro Rankings

Chicago
Tier 1 for Advertising Law
Tier 1 for Banking and Finance Law
Tier 1 for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Tier 1 for Commercial Litigation
Tier 1 for Corporate Law

Highlighted Client Comments

All client comments represent the opinions of the people who provided them. All potential clients are urged to remember that no two cases are ever completely alike and that the result in one case does not guarantee a similar result in another case.
Franchise Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg always provides a very professional experience, are very responsive, and have an excellent understanding of our business. Their assistance with business strategy is very much an added value in addition to legal advice & expertise.
Litigation - Real Estate
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is best-in-class. They are super smart, responsive, practical, and cost-efficient while also being trustworthy and dependable. Work with other Chicago, New York, and London law firms who are all good and helpful, but Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg offers the most clear, concise advice, documents, and negotiation guidance. And they don't embody the big ego, big firm persona; working with Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is easy and enjoyable.
Franchise Law
The lawyers at Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg are highly skilled and knowledgeable in the Franchise Law space. The firm places significant emphasis on this specialized practice area, and it shows in their advice, counsel, and innovative approach to problem-solving for their clients. They are exceptionally responsive to client requests and needs. Every attorney with whom I have worked has been smart, helpful, inquisitive, and nice!
Commercial Litigation
The attorneys at Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg are not only experts in their field, but they also work effectively with executives and staff. They are exceptional partners in managing bet-the-company litigation and regulatory investigations.
Real Estate Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is best-in-class. They are super smart, responsive, practical, and cost-efficient while also being trustworthy and dependable. Work with other Chicago, New York, and London law firms who are all good and helpful, but Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg offers the most clear, concise advice, documents, and negotiation guidance. And they don't embody the big ego, big firm persona; working with Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is easy and enjoyable.
Banking and Finance Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is very knowledgeable and has deep industry expertise. They have a strong Regulatory and Securities practice.
Commercial Litigation
Roger Stetson is one of the best litigators in Chicago. Howard Kirschbaum is the best loan transaction attorney in Chicago.
John Silvestri, Counsel – The John Buck Company
Commercial Litigation
We have worked with BFKN on a range of legal issues - M&A, Litigation, Employment Law, Contracts...they have subject matter experts in all areas to fully serve clients. They take a balanced view of what is best for their clients both in terms of risk management and the financial costs.
Amy Odell – Ellison Technologies, Inc.
Litigation - Real Estate
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg was super responsive, reasonably priced and very knowledgeable in regard to all real estate matters.
Commercial Litigation
I work with Matt Bills of Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg and have found him to be very responsive, knowledgeable, and practical in all of my dealings.
Commercial Litigation
The attorneys at Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg approach the matter as if they are a key stakeholder in your business. They take the time to understand the business not only as it relates to the matter at hand but in the bigger picture of the organizations near and long-term future success. They take a reasonable and balanced approach to issues that ultimately guides our company to the most cost effective and successful outcome.
Banking and Finance Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg provides top notch service and expertise.
Mark Miller – Investors Community Bank
Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
I cannot say enough good things about the Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg partners that handle our client relationship. Our company is always treated with great respect and our requests always feel like they are a priority.
Soni Harney – MidWestOne Bank
Real Estate Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg has one of the most experienced real estate groups in the country. They are cost effective, responsive and know how to get to the finish line.
Banking and Finance Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is top notch in every area
Franchise Law
Jim Vogler and the franchise law team at Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg are very skilled practitioners who work effectively together in serving their clients. Key among their skills is their ability to navigate the frequently arcane world of legal processes to develop practical solutions focused on business needs. Their ability to quickly identify the end game when providing legal advice is a great benefit to businesses operating in a competitive environment.
Banking and Finance Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is outstanding. The lawyers and other professionals, including paralegals and administrative assistants, are all top-notch and work very well together. I have worked with this firm since the early 90s. Their depth and breadth of experience is very strong, and while their rates are comparable to the much larger firms in Chicago/NY, they are worth every penny. One testimony to the tremendous culture and professionalism at BFKN is the continuity of personnel at every level. The firm experiences virtually no voluntary turnover in lawyers or staff, and this breeds an environment where nobody is afraid to say "hang on, one of my colleagues has done this many times, let's get her on the phone and hear her thoughts as well." I have also been pleasantly surprised at how many times I've called them and said "we're doing such and such, and the lawyer representing the other side is x", and the response has been "oh, we know him, we've dealt with him before." There have also been numerous times when our counter-party has said "Our lawyers told us they know BFKN and are happy to be working with them on this transaction." Each of those situations makes any transaction more easy to complete. In summary, my 25 years of experience with BFKN is that they add value to almost anything we are doing. I have the highest regard for this firm and its people.
Douglas Tucker – Midland States Bank
Financial Services Regulation Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is one the premier financial services practices in the nation. Their lawyers (and just as importantly, their paralegals) have seen it and done it all, and as a result they can handle virtually anything related to financial services very efficiently. Moreover, they maintain excellent relationships with all of the regulatory agencies (including the FRB, OCC and SEC) and are proficient at knowing who to call, what the questions will be, and how to best structure the transaction to address the likely concerns. I would highly recommend them to any bank or other financial institution.
Douglas Tucker – Midland States Bank
Commercial Litigation
They are always balanced in their approach to issues. They understand our company’s culture and values. Without a doubt, Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg has been a crucial partner in our success.
Amy Odell – Ellison Technologies, Inc.
Financial Services Regulation Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg brings a business understanding, as well as a legal understanding, to their Financial Services practice which serves the clients incredibly well.
Jennifer Steans – Financial Investments Corporation/Concentric Equity Partners
Commercial Litigation
Roger Stetson of Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is one of the best litigators in the city.
John Silvestri, Counsel – The John Buck Company
Corporate Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg has been a long standing relationship and fundamental to our firm’s success since the company was founded. They continue to provide expert and strategic advice and we are very pleased with their continued representation across numerous areas of legal expertise.
Dan Hemmer – First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc.
Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg provides high quality and high service.
Franchise Law
James Vogler and the other members of the Motor Vehicle Group at Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg have a deep understanding of the laws affecting manufacturers around the country. They are adept at providing practical solutions tailored to advancing business interests. Their national reach makes them an ideal one-stop source for franchising issues that manufacturers regularly encounter.
Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is the firm I turn to in any complex matter relating to distressed real estate situations.
Financial Services Regulation Law
I have worked with Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg for almost 20 years including with their transaction, litigation and regulatory practices. They have always done excellent work.
Corporate Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is a top notch law firm that focuses on the quality of their work and developing strong relationships with their clients. They particularly excel addressing complex issues and finding practical structuring solutions.
Seth Singerman
Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Bill Barrett of Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg has been a long-time partner and outside advisor of my company, and we appreciate his guidance.
Marcus Ryan, Senior Counsel and Global Litigation Director – ERM
Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg has represented me in connection with complex bankruptcy and bankruptcy related litigation. We have achieved excellent results. This firm has an excellent representation in the community and with the courts. Their expertise is excellent as they have a sophisticated in understanding of law. They are always prompt and knowledgeable of my needs. They are also willing to be flexible in fees when necessary.
David Leibowitz – Lakelaw
Franchise Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg has supported Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. for approximately ten years, and I have had the pleasure of working with them for five years. My role as Dealer Development Coordinator requires the preparation of new dealer contracts; memorandums of approval and understanding; Agreement termination/product repurchase documents; and multi-part dealer-cure actions.
Barnett Kate – Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd.
Banking and Finance Law
We have worked with Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg since we started in 1993. They are not only great lawyers, but also add much value in terms of business advice. Plus, many of their lawyers and our officers have become good friends.
Doug Hultquist, CEO – QCR Holdings
Commercial Litigation
My experience working with the Commercial Litigation attorneys at Barack Ferrazzano has been consistently positive. The attorneys with whom I've worked are a pleasure, and I have full confidence after assigning a matter that things will proceed without a hitch. As in-house counsel responsible for juggling numerous different types of matters at a time, peace of mind is everything. Moreover, their efforts were focused, resulting in an expedient resolution of each matter at a more than reasonable cost. I highly recommend Barack Ferrazzano and W. Scott Porterfield, Esq. in particular.
Commercial Litigation
Ed Malone, of Barrack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg, is a superior attorney with the perfect combination of understanding business priorities and effective litigation strategies.
Commercial Litigation
Barack Ferrazzano is responsive, practical, dedicated, and smart.
Financial Services Regulation Law
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is the go-to firm for financial services regulation law. These attorneys understand the regulatory perspective as well as what the financial institution is trying to accomplish, and are effective in navigating conflicts between the two.
Banking and Finance Law
BFKN not only provides solid legal advice but also valuable business counsel. We have used them for 20 years and the relationship continues to get even better.
Doug Hultquist, CEO – QCR Holdings

Rankings

National Rankings

Tier 1
Tier 1 for Financial Services Regulation Law
Tier 1 for Franchise Law
Tier 1 for Litigation - Real Estate
Tier 2
Tier 2 for Advertising Law
Tier 2 for Banking and Finance Law
Tier 2 for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Tier 2 for Real Estate Law
Tier 3
Tier 3 for Commercial Litigation
Tier 3 for Corporate Law
Tier 3 for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Regional Rankings

Chicago
Tier 1 for Advertising Law
Tier 1 for Banking and Finance Law
Tier 1 for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Tier 1 for Commercial Litigation
Tier 1 for Corporate Law
Tier 1 for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
Tier 1 for Financial Services Regulation Law
Tier 1 for Franchise Law
Tier 1 for Litigation - Real Estate
Tier 1 for Real Estate Law
Tier 2 for Insurance Law
Minneapolis
Tier 3 for Commercial Litigation

Practice Areas

The below are areas of legal specialty volunteered by the firm and do not designate a specialty in which a Best Law Firms ranking is held.
  • Advertising Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Antitrust Law
  • Arbitration
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
  • Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law
  • Commercial Finance Law
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Copyright Law
  • Corporate Compliance Law
  • Corporate Governance and Compliance Law
  • Corporate Governance Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Electronic Discovery and Information Management Law
  • Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law
  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Employment Law - Individuals
  • Employment Law - Management
  • Environmental Law
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law
  • Financial Services Regulation Law
  • FinTech Practice
  • Food and Beverage Law
  • Franchise Law
  • Gaming Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Labor and Employment Law - Employee
  • Labor and Employment Law - Management
  • Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Leisure and Hospitality Law
  • Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law
  • Litigation - Antitrust
  • Litigation - Banking and Finance
  • Litigation - Bankruptcy
  • Litigation - ERISA
  • Litigation - Insurance
  • Litigation - Intellectual Property
  • Litigation - Labor and Employment
  • Litigation - Land Use and Zoning
  • Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Litigation - Municipal
  • Litigation - Patent
  • Litigation - Real Estate
  • Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy)
  • Litigation - Securities
  • Litigation and Controversy - Tax
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Mortgage Banking Foreclosure Law
  • Nonprofit / Charities Law
  • Patent Law
  • Privacy and Data Security Law
  • Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Regulatory
  • Reinsurance Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law
  • Securities Regulation
  • Securitization and Structured Finance Law
  • Tax Law
  • Technology Law
  • Trade Secrets Law
  • Trademark Law
  • Transactions
  • Transportation Law
  • Venture Capital Law
  • Workers' Compensation Law - Employers

Individuals Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®

Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP has 30 lawyers recognized for individual performance in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. By receiving this Best Lawyers recognition from their peers for their professional excellence, these lawyers made Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP eligible for evaluation for Best Law Firms rankings. For almost two decades, Best Lawyers has awarded these singular accolades, making them the foundation of our Best Law Firms awards. Read more about our Best Lawyers process here.
Spinning circle
{{ practiceAreaName }}
{{ lawyer.FirstName[0] }}{{ lawyer.LastName[0] }} {{ lawyer.FirstName[0] }}{{ lawyer.LastName[0] }} {{ lawyer.Locations[0].City }}{{lawyer.Locations[0].StateCode ? ', ' + lawyer.Locations[0].StateCode : '' }}

Client Comments

All client comments represent the opinions of the people who provided them. All potential clients are urged to remember that no two cases are ever completely alike and that the result in one case does not guarantee a similar result in another case.
Spinning circle
{{ comment.ClientFullName + (comment.ClientTitle ? ", " : "") }} {{ comment.ClientTitle }} – {{ comment.ClientCompanyName }}

Main Location

Office Locations

Management and Personnel

Co-Managing Partner
Howard J. Kirschbaum
Co-Managing Partner
Roger H. Stetson

Contacts

Chair - Tax & Business Planning
Michael J. Towne
Co-Chair - Real Estate
Richard S. Nikchevich
Co-Chair - Real Estate
Jeremy T. Bunnow
Co-Chair - Real Estate
Suzanne Bessette-Smith
Co-Chair - Motor Vehicle
Owen H. Smith
Co-Chair - Motor Vehicle
Sarah M. Bernstein
Chair - Luxury
Daniel L. Dominguez
Co-Chair - Litigation
Maile Hitomi Solís
Co-Chair - Litigation
Matthew A. Bills
Co-Chair - Intellectual Property
Wendi E. Sloane
Co-Chair - Intellectual Property
Scott J. Slavick
Co-Chair - Financial Institutions
John E. Freechack
Co-Chair - Financial Institutions
Robert M. Fleetwood
Chair - Corporate & Securities
James R. Whitney
Chair - Compensation & Employment
Andrew K. Strimaitis
Chair - Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights
Nathan Q. Rugg
Find the Best Law Firms
Search for a Law Firm
Search our directory of over 16,000 firms across the Globe.
Search
Is Your Law Firm Ranked?
Enhance your firm's reputation and visibility with our marketing opportunities.
Marketing Opportunities
Ranked Practice Areas
See the practice areas included in our Best Law Firms research.
Practice Areas