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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Why Lakelaw has opened in Milwaukee

Posted by David Leibowitz on April 8th, 2011 in Wisconsin

Our readers may wonder why our bankruptcy and foreclosure practice has opened an office in Milwaukee.  We have you to thank for this. Lakelaw opened in one a one room office in Waukegan, Illinois in 1999. We opened in Lake County, Illinois and took the name Lakelaw because we thought our practice would be confined to Lake County.  It wasn’t too long before calls started to come in from area 262 code. Back then, I didn’t even know where area code 262 was.  I thought the next code north of us was 414 – Milwaukee.  Was I wrong about that.

Our practice soon expanded to both the south and north. By 2003, people throughout the Chicago area were seeking our help. We bought a house in Waukegan, converted it to offices, and opened a one room office in Chicago.  Now, we have 3 or 4 lawyers working in expanded quarters there.  And the same thing has happened in Wisconsin.

Lakelaw established a partnership with a Wisconsin attorney in 2006.  In 2009, we became independent in Wisconsin, led by our Wisconsin resident attorney, Ryan Blay.

Thanks to you, our clients, we have represented hundreds of people throughout Wisconsin in both bankruptcy and foreclosure defense.  And our practice is growing.  Year to date, we are 30% ahead of last year in Wisconsin. We now appear in the bankruptcy court in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin State Courts in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Walworth, Kenosha, Washington, Ozaukee and Jefferson Counties with regularity.  And we appear in outstate county courts as well as the bankruptcy court in Madison frequently.

To accommodate our growing Wisconsin practice, we’ve added an administrative assistant, Angela Domalik and now have opened an office in Milwaukee at 740 N. Plankinton Avenue. Our Milwaukee office is convenient to public transportation as well as the federal and state courthouses.

So we at Lakelaw now can serve you anywhere in Wisconsin.  And you can see us at our convenient locations in both Milwaukee and Kenosha. Or we can work with you over the web and represent you anywhere in the state. We were honored to receive a grant from WHEDA for foreclosure prevention and trained over 500 Wisconsin attorneys in foreclosure defense.

Ryan and I want to take this opportunity to thank the good people of Wisconsin for their support and confidence in Lakelaw. We are here for you now and for the long-run. We appreciate your commitment to us and we are committed to serve you with the care, kindness, courtesy, respect and professional dedication which is at the heart of everything Lakelaw does.

Arnold Kaplan is no longer of counsel with Lakelaw

Posted by David Leibowitz on April 7th, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have noticed that people visit our website owing to Mr. Kaplan’s former connection with our firm.  For about one year, Mr. Kaplan served of counsel to Lakelaw and helped us represent some of our clients.  Mr. Kaplan and Lakelaw concluded this relationship more than a year ago.  For those interested in Mr. Kaplan, please visit his website at

For those interested in representation by Lakelaw, including our team of David Leibowitz, Richard Kohn and Cynthia Zenko, please visit our website here:

I got a 1099 after my short sale – do I owe taxes?

Posted by David Leibowitz on April 6th, 2011 in Bankruptcy and Taxation, Bankruptcy and Taxes

As April 15 approaches, people’s thoughts turn to income tax.  And when they get a form 1099 from their lender after a short sale, they start to worry.  In many cases, the answer is “no worries”.

The problem is that forgiveness of debt is typically considered to be income for tax purposes.  After all, you are better off if you don’t owe the money any more.  You could spend the money you have on other things. So you gained.  And that gain is income.

But what if you are broke and insolvent.  Then you are not able to spend the money you saved.  You just are less worse off then you were before. The IRS understands this and says that if you are insolvent, income from forgiveness of debt isn’t taxable even if you get a 1099 from your lender.

In addition, the Internal Revenue Code was amended in 2007 through the year 2012 to provide that income in respect to forgiveness of debt on a short sale of your principal residence is not taxable. So if you sold your house on a short sale last year, you are also good to go.

There are other ways to limit the pain of forgiveness of debt. If you file a bankruptcy case, you will usually be deemed to be insolvent and not have any income in respect to forgiveness of debt.  And if you have any remaining property you can “reallocate tax attributes” to other property you may own.  If you don’t know what this means, ask your tax advisor since this is somewhat technical.

We at Lakelaw are not tax attorneys.  But we do know about bankruptcy, insolvency and mortgage foreclosure. And when we need to, we know about other areas of law which relate to our areas of concentration.  And as always, we stand ready to serve you with care, kindness, courtesy, respect, professionalism and dedication.


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