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Ronald Barliant

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Ronald Barliant is a member of 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 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 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 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 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. He 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, the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American Bar Association, the Commercial Finance Association, the Turnaround Management Association, the Chicago Bar Association and LexisNexis Mealey's. 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. In September 2010, he testified in the Judge Porteous impeachment trial, appearing on C-SPAN before the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee.

He has published 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 "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 was a member of the board of governors of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ) from 1998 to 2000, and 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. 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 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.

A Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, he has previously served on its Board of Regents as a representative for the 7th Circuit.

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

  • 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
  • Member, 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


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