Michael Brandess

Michael BrandessPartner

  • Chicago: (312) 704-2179
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Michael A. Brandess represents both healthy and distressed companies as they endeavor to conquer new goals and address material challenges.  Michael has been involved in complex sales, acquisitions, restructurings, and liquidations across the country.  

Michael is a member of the firm's Business Transactions and Bankruptcy, Reorganization and Creditor's Rights practice groups. Michael has represented asset purchasers, private equity firms, family offices, creditors' and equity committees, plan trustees, and family businesses in a wide array of complicated scenarios.  

Additionally, Michael has authored several articles on matters ranging from family business related issues to distress related topics. He regularly speaks on bankruptcy and insolvency matters.

Michael received his juris doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law magna cum laude, where he received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in several courses, including Negations; Pre-trial Litigation; and Counseling and Fact Investigations. He has been named an Illinois Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine since 2016 and is related AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.  Michael has been awarded Emerging Leader of the Year by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association as well as the M&A Advisor.



American Bankruptcy Institute
Turnaround Management Association
Illinois State Bar Association



Selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers, as a Rising Star in Creditor Debtor Rights: Business (2016 - 2019)

Martindale.com - AV Preeminent Peer Review

Turnaround Management Association
Emerging Leader of the Year - Turnaround Managment Association Chicago/Midwest Chapter (2015)
CALI Award Recipient:  Negotiations; Pre-Trial Litigation; Counseling and Fact Investigation

Selected by peers as a Leading Lawyer in: Bankruptcy & Workout Law: Commercial; Creditor’s Rights/Commercial Collections Law (2017)





Speaking Engagements


  • 05/09/2019

    Michael A. Brandess and Jack O'Connor selected as 2019 Illinois Rising Stars

    SFGH congratulates Michael A. Brandess and Jack O'Connor for being selected as 2019 Illinois Rising Stars by Super Lawyers Magazine

  • 02/09/2018

    SFGH Confirms Chapter 11 Plan in Regional Hospital Bankruptcy

    On February 9, 2018, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa confirmed the chapter 11 liquidation plan of Central Iowa Healthcare, a mid-sized hospital and clinic system based in Marshalltown, Iowa with a reach through three central Iowa counties.  Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Helsinger LLP, led by partner Mark S. Melickian, served as Special Healthcare Reorganization Counsel and led the engagement from filing through plan confirmation.  Mark was assisted in the engagement by SFGH partners Michael Brandess and Matthew Schiff, and litigation associate Kathryn Nadro.  In May 2017, SFGH took the Debtor through the sale of substantially all of its assets to Allen Health Systems, Inc., d/b/a UnityPoint Health – Waterloo, a transaction that allowed the hospital and clinics to remain open, saved hundreds of regional jobs, and won M&A Advisor’s 363 Sale of the Year award ($10 million - $25 million) for 2017. 

Civic & Professional

  • Deerfield Park Foundation, Director (2018-2019)
  • Bankruptcy Liaison Committee (2018-2019)
  • Turnaround Management Association, Chicago/Midwest Chapter
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law (2009)

Michael Brandess's recent or notable engagements and experience includes:

  • Counsel to the Official Committee of Equity Security Holders in In re AgFeed USA, LLC, et al. (Bankr. D. Del.)
  • Counsel to the Official Creditors’ Committees for: In re Giordano’s Enterprises, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Midwest Banc Holdings, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Schwab Industries, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Ohio); In re Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. (Bankr. S.D. Fla.); In re Trainor Glass Co. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Natural Pork Production II, LLP (Bankr. S.D. Iowa); In re Newton Manufacturing Company (Bankr. S.D. Iowa); In re World Marketing Chicago, LLC, et al. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Duke & King Acquisition, Inc. (Bankr. D. Minn.); In re Quadrant 4 System Corporation (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Perfect Brow Art, Inc., et al. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Keast Enterprises, Inc., et al. (Bankr. S.D. IA)
  • Counsel to liquidating trustees and plan administrators in the prosecution of mass bankruptcy preference claims in various notable chapter 11 cases, including: In re Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. (Bankr. S.D. Fla.); In re Schwab Industries, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Ohio); In re Duke & King Acquisition, Inc. (Bankr. D. Minn.); In re Workflow Management, Inc. (Bankr. E.D. Va.); and In re Quadrant Four System Corporation, et al. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.).