Photo of Ronald  Barliant

Ronald Barliant

Related Info
Return to Bio Narrative

Since joining Goldberg Kohn in September 2002 as a principal in the Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group, Ronald Barliant has represented debtors and creditors in complex bankruptcy cases. As head of the firm's "burgeoning practice in debtor work,"[1] his debtor representations include a machine tool manufacturing company in a Delaware Chapter 11 case involving significant environmental and mass tort liabilities (plan confirmed with future claimants trust 11 months after filing), a wireless telecommunications carrier in a Chapter 11 case requiring the restructuring of debts owed the FCC for PCS licenses (plan confirmed 5 months after filing), and a home products manufacturing company in a pre-negotiated Chapter 11 case involving a debt-for-equity swap and the issuance of new debt securities (plan confirmed 75 days after filing).

His creditor representations include the indenture trustee for most of the aircraft operated by United Airlines; prepetition secured lenders and debtor in possession lenders in the chapter 11 cases of a large manufacturing company, a foundry and a food distributor; a secured creditor resisting substantive consolidation in the Delaware case of a sub-prime lender; and claimants in asbestos-related chapter 11 cases.

Mr. Barliant has also argued several appeals and counseled major financial firms in connection with distressed investments, and both debtors and creditors in connection with workouts. In addition, he has mediated disputes in over a dozen cases, including Delphi Corporation, U.S. Energy Biogas, HALO, Altheimer & Gray and Fleming Foods. He has also been engaged as a consultant by other law firms representing clients in bankruptcy cases, and as an expert witness. In addition, he is an estate representative in the Global Crossing case and was a director of a Delaware debtor in the automotive industry.

Before joining Goldberg Kohn, Mr. Barliant served as a United States bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Illinois from 1988 to 2002. During his tenure on the bench, one of the largest cases over which he presided was Comdisco Inc. (in the technology services industry), involving more than $4 billion in debt. Other prominent cases he heard include Florsheim Group Inc. (men’s shoes); Birmingham Steel Corp. (specialty steel); Archibald Candy Corp. (confectionaries under Fanny May and Fanny Farmer brands); e-spire Communications Inc. (telecommunications); Ben Franklin Retail Stores (retail); Keck, Mahin & Cate (law firm); Forty-Eight Insulations Inc. (asbestos products); Outboard Marine Corp. (boat engines); and the developers in several significant single-asset real estate cases. Before ascending to the bench, he represented the trustee in the Chapter 7 case of the owner and operator of an oil refinery, Energy Cooperative Inc., which at the time was the largest Chapter 7 case in the history of the Northern District of Illinois.

Mr. Barliant has taught debtor-creditor relations at John Marshall Law School and has frequently lectured and participated in panel discussions on bankruptcy-related topics at the invitation of many organizations, including the Federal Judicial Center, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ), the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Commercial Finance Association, the Turnaround Management Association, the Chicago Bar Association (CBA) and LexisNexis Mealey's.  Mr. Barliant was a panelist for “Section 363 Sales, Selected Issues,” Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association Eighth Annual Meeting, 2010; "Claims Trading: Implications for the Chapter 11 Process, Pitfalls for the Claims Trader," The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, 2008; "Do You Remember Lender Liability?," The Distressed Debt Conference, 2008; and "Valuation in the Context of Bankruptcy," 57th Annual Meeting of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association and Judicial Conference of the Seventh Circuit, 2008.  Mr. Barliant served as the mock trial Federal Bankruptcy Judge at the YPO-WPO Business & Personal Development Seminar, “Turning Distressed Markets to Your Advantage,” 2009.  Mr. Barliant testified in the Judge Porteous impeachment trial, appearing on C-SPAN before the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee in September, 2010.

His published writings include articles on Chapter 11 plans, executory contracts, preferences, and the anti-trust litigation in the United Airlines case (in which he represented an indenture trustee/defendant). He also co-authored an article featured in the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, “From Free-Fall to Free-For-All: The Rise of Pre-Packaged Asbestos Bankruptcies” (Winter 2004). He was a member of the board of governors of the NCBJ from 1998 to 2000 and of the NCBJ’s Endowment for Education from 1997 to 1998. In addition, he served on national judicial committees and on working groups considering technology issues and the treatment of mass torts in bankruptcy cases. Mr. Barliant has been recognized annually by the Leading Lawyers Network, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers. He was named by Chambers USA 2014 as a leading lawyer in the United States in Bankruptcy/Restructuring. He is currently a member of the ABI (Business Reorganization Committee), ABA (Business Law Section), and NCBJ (Former Judges Section) and is Chair of the Bankruptcy and Reorganizations Committee of the CBA. He is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy and is the current ACB Regent for the Seventh Circuit.

Mr. Barliant is admitted to practice in Illinois. He received his law degree in 1969 from Stanford University School of Law, where he was a member of the editorial board of the Stanford Law Review. He received his B.A. in 1966 from Roosevelt University.

[1] Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2006, p. 773.

Chicago Office
55 East Monroe Street
Suite 3300
Chicago, Illinois 60603-5792

  Go to the people search and directory


Practice areas

Industry Focus


  • Stanford University, J.D., 1969
  • Roosevelt University, B.A., 1966

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Professional Activities

  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute, Business Reorganization Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association, Business Law Section
  • Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy
  • Member, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Former Judges Section
  • Chair, Chicago Bar Association, Bankruptcy and Reorganization Committee

Attorneys At Law

55 East Monroe Street
Suite 3300
Chicago, Illinois 60603-5792
Tel: 312.201.4000
Fax: 312.332.2196