Bill has almost 40 years of experience in bankruptcy litigation. Bill is a calming and relaxed force while being a committed advocate for his clients.

Bill is the senior member of BFKN’s Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights Group. In recent years Bill has focused his practice on representing secured debt holders and landlords in Chapter 11 cases and other insolvency proceedings. Bill has litigated a broad variety of cases in the bankruptcy courts, including stay relief, adequate protection, cash collateral, plan confirmation and DIP financing motions brought by or involving secured creditors. In recent years, Bill’s secured creditor practice has included a number of cases involving real estate properties such as multi-family housing, shopping centers, leased industrial facilities, and farmland. He also consults with borrowers and creditors in strategies for resolving debtor/creditor problems.



  • State of Illinois
  • State of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court - Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - 1st Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • University of Southern California, J.D., Order of the Coif, 1985
  • Michigan State University, B.A., with honors, 1980





  • Band Ranked, Chambers USA (2013-2024)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring
  • Best Lawyer, The Best Lawyers in America© (2013-2024)
    • Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights
    • Insolvency & Reorganization Law
  • Super Lawyer, Illinois Super Lawyers (2009-2024)
  • Leading Lawyers Network (2011-2023)
  • Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2019)
  • Noted Practitioner, Illinois Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Chambers USA (2013)
  • Bill Barrett 2024
  • bl_barrett_2024


  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Member, International Exchange of Experience on Insolvency Law
  • Member, Michigan State Bar Association
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