As a partner at Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC, I help achieve creative solutions for companies facing financial difficulties by achieving unexpected results in a practical, responsive and effective manner in workouts (in-court and out-of-court) and reorganizations throughout the United States. In addition, I assist companies seeking to expand their business base by buying financially troubled companies and assist creditors in recovering their unpaid claims. I have volunteered with CARE since 2014 and have been recognized by Chambers as a “ranked practitioner”, The Best Lawyers in America, Illinois Super Lawyers for my work in the practice area of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law.
I have been a bankruptcy lawyer for 34 years. Although in that time I have mostly been involved in business bankruptcies, I also acquired a lot of experience in cases involving individuals. I try to bring that experience to the classroom when I make a credit or student loan presentation.
Mostly I present at Chicago Public High Schools. Each experience is rewarding, and each leaves me with greater confidence in making presentations to young people and with greater confidence in young people.
Judge Janet Baer VP, Education
Janet S. Baer is a Bankruptcy Judge in the United Stated Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois-Chicago. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Jan was a restructuring lawyer for over 25 years and involved in some of the most significant chapter 11 bankruptcy cases in the country.
Judge Baer first became a CARE volunteer over eight years ago while still in private practice. She describes CARE as a wonderful opportunity to “give back” to the community and make a real-world and immediate impact on people’s lives. CARE teaches young people smart money management skills to achieve their financial goals and avoid ever appearing in Bankruptcy Court, unless they are there as attorneys representing clients.
Ken Morrison is a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Ken founded the firm’s asset finance and securitization practice. For over 30 years, he has handled securitizations and principal finance matters on behalf of a wide range of clients. Ken has been ranked one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in securitization by Chambers USA and Legal 500 for a number of years.
Ken has been volunteering with CARE for about 10 years, and he has been a member of the leadership team for about five years. He enjoys educating young people about financial literacy.
Erica Tukel Wax is the career law clerk to Bankruptcy Judge Carol Doyle. Erica has been a bankruptcy lawyer and business litigator for over 30 years and active in the CARE program for a decade. Currently, she is Chicago CARE’s co-chair of Education — writing newsletters, organizing training and updating materials for volunteers. She loves to get out in the field and talk to students about credit cards and student loans and hear what they have to say. She has two young adult children, both of whom have been forced into financial literacy.
Jeff Schwartz is Chair of the Creditors’ Rights, Insolvency & Business Bankruptcy group at Much Shelist. For over 25 years, Jeff just has focused on bankruptcy law and spends his time representing creditors and debtors in out-of-court restructurings and bankruptcy cases. Jeff has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer (2005-2019), a Leading Lawyer in Bankruptcy and Workout Law (2004-2019) and ranked as a Best Lawyer in America (2008-2019).
Jeff CARES. He started with the CARE program over 15 years ago and in addition to his responsibilities as Vice President of Community Outreach, he has presented to well over 70 classrooms and talked with well over a thousand students. Jeff has seen firsthand how poor financial decisions made by young people can have a negative effect on their lives and even lead to bankruptcy. He strongly believes the CARE program can teach students how to better make informed financial decisions (whether it be the use of creditor cards or with student loans), and that these informed decisions will have a positive impact on their future.
In 2011, Kurt Winiecki founded Winiecki Wealth Management, a personal financial consulting firm that provides fiduciary investing and planning advice.
A former tax accountant and former attorney, Kurt earned a B.S. in Finance and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois. He practiced as a tax accountant for two years at Alberto-Culver Company preparing corporate tax returns.
In 1994, he enrolled in Loyola University of Chicago Law School. After graduating, Kurt clerked for a federal judge and then practiced law another seven years, devoting much of his practice to corporate and personal bankruptcy issues.
Raj Prazad Co-VP, Technology
Raj is a Data Strategy executive with TransUnion. In this role he is responsible for leading a team that finds novel ways to evaluate and enrich new data assets for TransUnion, and also finding innovative solutions to identify new uses of existing data assets to maximize the value potential using Big Data technologies. He has been with TransUnion for the past 15 years working in various roles including IT Strategy, Planning and Complex project delivery responsibilities.
Raj has been volunteering with CARE Chicago from 2015, and joined the CARE Chicago board of directors in 2017.
Jarad fell in love with CARE and its mission during his tenure at TransUnion, one of the 3 major credit bureaus. Despite leaving TransUnion 3 years ago, Jarad’s involvement with CARE has continued. He now oversees technology initiatives for the Chicago CARE chapter and serves as Vice Chairman of CARE’s National Board of Directors. Jarad founded Winsite Digital, a website development company that serves small business clients throughout the United States. The firm designs and develops websites; hosts, supports, maintains, and optimizes web properties; and creates and manages SEO and paid advertising campaigns.
Joseph U. Schorer is Of Counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago. He is past chair of the leadership team for CARE Chicago and currently serves on the national board of directors for CARE. In 2007, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in conjunction with the Federal Bar Association, gave Mr. Schorer a Special Recognition Award for his work administering the CARE program. In 2016, he was recognized as the national CARE Volunteer of the Year. At Kirkland & Ellis, Mr. Schorer has been a senior attorney leading large corporate and restructuring transactions. Mr. Schorer is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he teaches semester-long courses on secured transactions and structured finance.
Gretchen Silver joined the Chicago Office of the United States Trustee in August, 2002 as a Trial Attorney. From 1997 until 2002, she was with the Midwest Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission as an Enforcement Attorney. Before joining the SEC, Ms. Silver practiced bankruptcy at Rudnick & Wolfe representing debtors, creditors’ committees, secured lenders and Chapter 7 trustees. She also clerked for the Honorable Sarah Sharer Curley in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona in Phoenix from 1987 – 1990. Ms. Silver earned her B.S. in 1984 and J.D. in 1987 at the University of Illinois – Champaign Urbana. Ms. Silver is also an active CARE volunteer in the Chicago chapter.
Kari Beyer is a Senior Attorney in the Consumer Practice Group where she assists low-income consumers with bankruptcy, foreclosure, collections cases, and other consumer issues. Prior to her employment at Legal Aid Chicago, Kari was a staff law clerk at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Kari is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
Mr. Allen Guon is a partner of Fox Rothschild LLP in its Chicago office. He served on CARE’s Board of Directors and is a volunteer for CARE Chicago. He has extensive experience in complex chapter 11 and chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. He regularly represents debtors, business owners, trustees, secured creditors, trade creditors, landlords, asset purchasers, receivers and assignees in a wide variety of insolvency related matters.
Interested in Becoming a CARE Leader?
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