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Ronald Barliant

Of Counsel
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Ronald Barliant is Of Counsel in the firm's Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group. He represents debtors and creditors in complex bankruptcy cases. His debtor representations have included 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 five 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 have included the indenture trustee for most of the aircraft operated by United Airlines; pre-petition secured lenders and debtor in possession lenders in the Chapter 11 cases of a large manufacturing company, a foundry and a food distributor, automotive parts suppliers, and real estate developers; a secured creditor resisting substantive consolidation in the Delaware case of a sub-prime lender; and claimants in asbestos-related Chapter 11 cases. He has also represented individuals in complex Chapter 7 cases, and both petitioning creditors and alleged debtors in contested involuntary bankruptcy 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 more than two dozen cases, has been engaged as a consultant by other law firms representing clients in bankruptcy cases, and has served as an expert witness. 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 in September 2002, Mr. Barliant was a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois from 1988 to 2002. During his tenure on the bench, one of the largest cases he presided over was that of the technology services company Comdisco Inc., which involved more than $4 billion in debt. Other prominent cases he heard included 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 the 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. In addition, he has frequently presented 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, the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American Bar Association, the Secured Finance Network (f/k/a the Commercial Finance Association), the Turnaround Management Association, the Chicago Bar Association and LexisNexis Mealey's. A sampling of his presentations includes:

  • “Exploring the Outer Limits of the Avoiding Powers” at the Sixth Annual American College of Bankruptcy Seventh Circuit Education Committee Seminar, Chicago, Sept. 11, 2015.
  • "The 11th Circuit Decision in the TOUSA Case" at the joint meeting of the Uniform Commercial Code and Commercial Finance committees at the ABA's Business Law Section's annual meeting, Chicago, Aug. 31, 2012.
  • "Addressing Asbestos Claims Without a 524(g) Trust" at the "Asbestos Bankruptcy Current Trends and Future Outlook Conference," New York, Oct. 6, 2010.
  • "The Evolving Chapter 11: Current and Future Issues in Chapter 11 Cases" at the American Bankruptcy Institute's 2010 Central States Bankruptcy Workshop, Traverse City, Mich., June 18, 2010.
  • "Liability of Trustees Issues" at the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors' Regional Conference, Chicago, March 2, 2009.

Notably, in September 2010 Mr. Barliant testified before the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee in the impeachment trial for New Orleans federal Judge Thomas Porteous, appearing on C-SPAN. He served as the mock trial Federal Bankruptcy Judge at the YPO-WPO Business & Personal Development Seminar, “Turning Distressed Markets to Your Advantage,” in 2009. In addition, he has published articles on Chapter 11 plans, executory contracts, preferences, and the antitrust litigation in the United Airlines case in which he represented an indenture trustee/defendant. He also co-authored "From Free-Fall to Free-For-All: The Rise of Pre-Packaged Asbestos Bankruptcies,” published in the Winter 2004 edition of the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review.

Mr. Barliant has been individually ranked in Chambers USA for his work in Bankruptcy/Restructuring Law and has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America. He also has been recognized annually by Illinois Leading Lawyers (2003-present) and Illinois Super Lawyers (2005-present).

A Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, he has previously served on its Board of Regents as a representative for the Seventh Circuit. Mr. Barliant was a member of the Board of Governors of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ) from 1998 to 2000, and a member 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. He is currently a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute's Business Reorganization Committee, the American Bar Association's Business Law Section and the NCBJ's Former Judges Section. He is Chair of the Bankruptcy and Reorganizations Committee of the Chicago Bar Association.

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



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

Practice areas

Industry Focus


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

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Professional Activities

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

Attorneys At Law

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


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