James Sowka

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

$ $$$

South Wacker Drive 233
Chicago 60606 IL US

Mr. James B. Sowka is a partner in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He concentrates his practice in the areas of bankruptcy law, creditor rights, real estate transactions, and litigation. Mr. Sowka is the co-lead of Seyfarth Shaw’s Distressed Situations Resource Team. Mr. Sowka represents secured and unsecured creditors, bankruptcy trustees, receivers, asset purchasers, debtors, and avoidance action defendants among others.

His bankruptcy litigation experience includes motions for conversion and dismissal of chapter 7 and 11 cases, motions for the appointment of chapter 11 trustees, plan confirmation hearings, contested cash collateral hearings, bankruptcy trustee elections, claim objections, fraudulent transfer and preference actions, and denial of discharge and dischargeability actions.

Mr. Sowka also has significate experience with distressed asset transactions and involuntary bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, Mr. Sowka renders advice on structuring non-distressed corporate and real estate transactions with respect to intercreditor agreements, guarantees, and other bankruptcy issues.

Mr. Sowka further provides reasoned legal opinions on substantive non-consolidation for structured finance real estate transactions. Finally, Mr. Sowka advises employers as to the impact of bankruptcy filings on retirement and benefit plans, non-compete agreements, protection of trade secrets, and other matters.

He is a member of the SeyfarthLean initiative for landlord-tenant issues in retail bankruptcy cases. SeyfarthLean adopts Lean Six Sigma methodologies through application of technology and a process-driven methodology that involves mapping the delivery of services in order to identify efficiencies and to better predict costs for our clients.

In 2016, he became co-chair of the Bankruptcy Court Liaison Committee for the Northern District of Illinois, which fosters communication and information sharing between the local bench and bar, as well as education programs in the district.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Sowka worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee in Chicago, Illinois and Miami, Florida where he gained significant experience with the investigation and prosecution of bankruptcy fraud and abuse, including Ponzi schemes, bust-outs, and identity theft.

Mr. Sowka is also involved in the local community. From 2012 to 2016, he served as treasurer and director for Friends of Pulaski, a not-for-profit organization that supports Pulaski International School – a public elementary school in Chicago offering an International Baccalaureate based curriculum.


  • J.D., University of Arizona College of Law (2004)
  • B.A., University of Illinois (1998)
    • Phi Kappa Phi; College


  • Bankruptcy Court Liaison Committee, Northern District of Illinois
    • Co-Chair (2016–2017)
    • Committee Member (2015–2017)
  • Friends of Pulaski
    • Officer and Director (2012–2016)


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South Wacker Drive 233
Chicago 60606 IL US
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Lina Stillman

Broadway 42
New York 10006 NY US