A member of the firm’s Business Law Department, Stephen (Joe) Brown focuses his practice on bankruptcy, loan restructurings, loan workouts, secured lending, insolvency and UCC issues in Michigan and Illinois.

Mr. Brown has nearly 25 years of experience as a commercial litigator and as a bank-trained workout officer, representing primarily lenders but also occasionally borrowers. He also has extensive experience with the factoring and Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) industries.  

Mr. Brown advises lenders about the most effective approach to enforce their positions and helps borrowers restructure their debts in a manner that often repairs relationships with creditors. He has extensive experience with trials and evidentiary hearings in state and federal courts, and he has served as primary debtor's counsel in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Mr. Brown has advised major factoring and MCA organizations in connection with federal and state proceedings.  

A 1998 cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Mr. Brown also received a master’s degree in business administration with a specialization in finance from the University of Wisconsin. He is fluent in written and spoken Spanish.

Representative Client Work

  • Represented strategic buyer in liquidation of large portfolio of mortgage-backed loans involving 20 commercial properties in the Chicagoland area
  • Reorganized chain of bed and breakfast locations as primary debtor’s counsel in Chapter 11 proceedings
  • Successfully sued major loan servicers for systematic breaches of confirmed Chapter 11 plans
  • Represented construction company in state and federal litigation against factors and MCAs
  • Defended asset purchaser facing significant fraudulent transfer claims by bankruptcy trustee
  • Successfully managed and led complex multi-state litigation on behalf of corporation facing simultaneous creditor actions in Delaware, Illinois state court and Illinois federal courts

Publications & Lectures

  • "On Anonymous UCC-1 Filings," Author, Michigan Business Law Journal, Spring 2023 Edition
  • Senior Secured Bank v. MCA: A Recurrent Financial Feud and How to Better Control the Damage Done,” Author, Michigan Business Law Journal, Summer 2020 Edition
  • How to Prepare for Your Own Bankruptcy or the Bankruptcy of Your Borrower,” Lecturer, Risk Management Seminar for Design and Construction Professionals, April 2016
  • DIP Factoring Facilities and Underlying Principles,” Author, International Factoring Association, July 2014
  • On the Financial Insolvency of Healthcare Providers,” Author, American Health Lawyers Association, April 2011
  • On Syndicated Loans and Their Potential New Importance to Healthcare,’’ Co-Author, American Health Lawyers Association, September 2009
  • Use of Material Adverse Change Clauses in Healthcare Transactions,’’ Co-Author, Business Law Update, American Health Lawyers Association, July 2009
  • There’s a Reason for Walls (A Defense of Compartmentalized Borrowing and Lending in the Health Care World),’’ Author, American Health Lawyers Association, Summer 2009 Edition
  • A Good Workout Can Make You Healthier,” Author, ACG Journal, May 2009
  • Healthcare Finance: A Primer,” Co-Author, American Health Lawyers Association, 2008

Professional Affiliations

  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute 
  • Turnaround Management Association 



  • University of Wisconsin Law School J.D., cum laude, 1998
  • University of Wisconsin Business School, M.B.A., 1998
  • University of Minnesota, B.A. , 1991
  • Diego Portales University, Santiago, Chile
  • University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain


  • Wisconsin, 1998
  • Illinois, 1999
  • Oregon, 2010
  • Michigan, 2018
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, Central District Illinois, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Western District Wisconsin, 1998
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District Wisconsin, 2011
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District Indiana, 2016
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2019
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2008


  • Spanish