Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP at a Glance


  • “Responsibility”
  • “Great culture”
  • “Niche practice area”


  • Corporate law firm”
  • “Hours that can be demanding”

About Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP

Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg is a one office Chi-town firm with sophisticated practices in bankruptcy, compensation and employment, corporate and securities, financial institutions, intellectual property, litigation, motor vehicle, real estate and tax and business planning. Choosing a flexible and modern approach with a legal team of more than 100 attorneys, the firm's clients represent some of the most internationally renowned businesses and high value cases over a wide range of industries, from fashion, luxury goods and retailing to manufacturing, wine and spirits, energy and numerous other well-known U.S. and international entities.

Distinctly Different

In 1984, the founding vision of Barack Ferrazzano was to create a new model that departed from the standard "mega-firm" approaches and, instead, focused on delivering efficient, team-oriented services of the highest quality. The founding partners--two highly respected law professors at Northwestern University and two former members of a prominent Chicago firm--were soon joined by like-minded colleagues also seeking an alternative to the large law firm environment. The firm's efficient structure and staffing philosophy allows them to build skillful teams designed to bring the strongest talent possible to every challenge.

Leading Litigators and Tough Transactional Attorneys

The Litigation Group trial lawyers have been selected by some of the world's most prominent companies for representation in their most significant lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the United States, handling a variety of cases, including disputes concerning: contracts; motor vehicle franchises; trade secrets; licensing disputes; consumer class actions; real estate; professional liability; civil RICO and conspiracy actions; director and officer matters; negligence and product liability; bankruptcy and creditors' rights; securities and derivative securities; and bank regulatory and other financial disputes.

Barack Ferrazzano also houses a strong transactional practice, handling large-scale mergers and acquisitions for companies in finance as well as in industries such as luxury goods, retailing, manufacturing, wine and spirits and energy. SNL Securities has ranked Barack Ferrazzano one of the top firms in the nation--and the top in the Midwest for the last decade--in bank and thrift M&A transactions. The firm's real estate practice is consistently top ranked by U.S. News Best Law Firms and Chambers USA. In addition, Barack Ferrazzano has a sturdy intellectual property practice, including trademark clearance and counseling, copyright services and IP-related litigation.

A Sum of its Parts

Barack Ferrazzano selects attorneys from many of the most renowned law firms and top local and U.S. law schools. A number of attorneys write and speak on various legal, political and social topics for industry conferences and education programs, both in the U.S. and abroad. Individual attorneys are recognized in their respective practices and industries and hold leadership positions in professional organizations (i.e. many adjunct professors and instructors of courses at law and business universities, chairs of industry associations and committees, a major contributor to the revision of the Illinois Business Corporation Act, as well as several diversity and community outreach organization leaders).


June 2016
Top Illinois Law Firm for 9 Consecutive Years
For the past nine years, Barack Ferrazzano's Real Estate Group has been recognized as an industry leader for real estate law in Illinois by Chambers USA. In the 2016 edition of Chambers USA the Firm received a Band 1 ranking, and has been listed as a Recognized Practitioner - Nationwide by Chambers USA. In addition, the Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights Group and Corporate & Securities Group both earned a Band 5 ranking in Illinois by Chambers USA 2016.

April 2016
2016 Marks Continued Growth for Litigation Group
Barack Ferrazzano announced Emily L. Gesmundo has joined the firm in its litigation group. Since January 2015, Emily is the fourth attorney to join the firm's litigation group, joining Nicholas H. Callahan, Joshua W. Mahoney and Katherine A. Neville; six talented litigators-Sharon E. Calhoun, Daniel R. Fine, Alison R. Leff, Andrew E. Nieland, Brandon C. Prosansky and Matthew F. Singer-have been promoted to partner during the same time frame.

March 2016
2016 Top Ten Real Estate Lawyers in Illinois
Barack Ferrazzano partners Dennis A. Ferrazzano, Howard A. Nagelberg, Howard J. Kirschbaum, and Suzanne Bessette-Smith were recognized as top real estate lawyers in Illinois in Leading Lawyers 2016 lists. Highlighted in the January 2016 Real Estate, Construction & Environmental edition of Leading Lawyers Magazine, this is the 5th consecutive year Dennis Ferrazzano has been named the #1 Leading Real Estate Lawyer in Illinois, with Howard Nagelberg at #3 and Howard Kirschbaum at #4. Real Estate Group co-chair Suzanne Bessette-Smith took the #4 spot on the 2016 Leading Lawyers Top 10 Women's list.

January 2016
#1 M&A Legal Advisor for Banks in the Midwest
For 2015, SNL Financial again ranked Barack Ferrazzano as the #1 legal advisor in the Midwest by number of announced bank and thrift merger and acquisition transactions. Year after year, no other law firm does more deals in this market. With one of the deepest benches of any banking group in the country, the Firm has consistently displayed its ability to get deals done while protecting clients' interests.

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Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP

200 West Madison Street
Suite 3900
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 984-3100


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Senior Partners: Peter J. Barack; Dennis A. Ferrazzano; Howard J. Kirschbaum; Howard A. Nagelberg
  • Hiring Partner: Owen H. Smith
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 105

  • Base Salary
    1st year: $180,000
    Summer Associate: $3,461.54/week

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights • Compensation & Employment • Corporate & Securities • Environmental • Fashion, Luxury & Retail • Financial Institutions • Intellectual Property • Litigation • Motor Vehicle Group • Real Estate • Tax & Business Planning • White Collar Defense & Regulatory Enforcement

Major Office Locations

  • Chicago, IL