Paul G. Swanson is a senior partner in the firm and primarily represents individuals and businesses in financial reorganizations, restructurings, formal bankruptcy proceedings, receiverships and other debt adjustment strategies. His representation is limited primarily to debtors in both simple and complex matters. He has practiced Bankruptcy & Insolvency Law for close to 39 years. He represents clients in the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, and the Western District of Michigan (UP).
Mr. Swanson has represented farmers in financial distress for the last 30 years, helping them in workouts, and voluntary through formal restructuring, to save their farms. He was an author of the Farmers Guide to the Farm Crisis published by the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin and has been representing farmers in Chapter 12 reorganizations since the inception of that Chapter. He has lectured at the Chapter 12 Trustee’s Farm and Ranch Symposium held at Texas Tech and addressed the Chapter 12 Trustees at their meeting in Indianapolis in 2019. His experience in farm reorganization is extensive and in depth.
With the advent of Subchapter V of Chapter 11 in 2020, he filed and confirmed the first such case in Wisconsin and has pending several more at this time. He and his associate, Peter Nowak authored the recent Wisconsin Lawyer article on the new Subchapter and Mr. Swanson was a co-panellist at the annual LSU Bankruptcy Conference on the topic in December 2020.
As a Chapter 7 Trustee since 1983, Mr. Swanson has presided over tens of thousands of Chapter 7liquidations, some that have been complex, and has delivered multiple millions of dollars to creditors through that process. As an independent receiver in state court receiverships under Chapter 128, Mr. Swanson has mediated disputes among secured creditors and other constituencies and managed to sell dozens of companies as going concerns, arguably delivering the highest and best value to creditors and, in many instances, shareholders. Generally, Mr. Swanson works when brought into such proceedings by ownership in order to maximize the value of the going concern of the business, in many cases, after a key officer of the business has left due to illness or other reasons and the business needs to continue operating while seeking buyers. Additionally, when appropriate, the firm works in concert with financial advisors to the struggling business, or may bring in financial advisors who are highly qualified professionals.
He has also had extensive experience in difficult Ch. 128 Receiverships, most recently serving in the Hotel Northland case in Brown County wherein he took over, investigated, contracted to finish and sold at auction a $40 million hotel project. His receivership experience usually involves multiple secured creditors with competing interests as opposed to acting for a single secured creditor selling its collateral. He represented Olsen’s Mill in what was then the largest receivership in the State and which ultimately involved an appeal to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin which defined the limit of a Court’s authority in such cases.
Mr. Swanson has been recognized and selected to Super Lawyers since 2005, including the current year. This recognition places him in the top five percent of the practice areas for which he was recognized, Bankruptcy and Debtor/Creditor Rights.
Mr. Swanson is currently a Past President of the State Bar of Wisconsin (2017 – 2018), having been elected by the membership. He has previously served as the Treasurer, Chair of the Board of Governors, and a Governor of the organization. As a young lawyer, he served as President of the Young Lawyers Division. He has been active in the Bar virtually his entire career and has served as Chair of the Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Section from 2007-2009 and remains a member of the section. He was instrumental, along with his partner, Claire Ann Resop, in establishing and continuing the annual Bankruptcy Section Retreat held in March of each year at the American Club in Kohler, wherein virtually all of the bankruptcy judges and the majority of bankruptcy practitioners in Wisconsin gather for education and professional development.
Mr. Swanson frequently lectures, locally and nationally, on bankruptcy related topics. He has spoken at the annual meetings of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the State Bar of Wisconsin, as well as for other continuing legal education seminars. He was the organizer and coordinator for over a decade for the annual Law Education Institute conference held in Vail or Aspen, CO, wherein he brought national speakers to a five day seminar, speaking on leading edge topics within the bankruptcy community. The Colorado Bar Continuing Education section sponsored the conference. He has also taught a graduate level course in the College of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, acquainting MBA candidates with the nature and diversity of bankruptcy and insolvency issues as related to business.
Areas Of Practice
- Bankruptcy & Insolvency Law
- Business Workouts
- Agricultural Restructuring / Reorganization
- Collection Matters
- Foreclosure Defense
Certified Legal Specialties
- Business and Consumer Bankruptcy, ABBC
- Board Certified Bankruptcy Specialist
- Wisconsin, 1979
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1990
- U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin, 1979
- U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1990
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Colorado
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of Michigan
- University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin
- J.D. - 1979
- University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
- B.B.A. - 1977
- Speaker, National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees
- Speaker, American Bankruptcy Institute
- Speaker, State Bar of Wisconsin
Honors and Awards
- Selected to Super Lawyers Since 2005
Professional Associations and Memberships
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Young Lawyers Division, President, 1986
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Member of the Board of Governors, 1987 to 1995
- National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, Member of the Board of Directors, 1994 to 2006
- National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, Member, 1994 to Present
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Section, Member, 1999 to Present
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Section, Member of the Board of Directors, 1999 to 2006
- Eastern District of Wisconsin Federal Bar Association, Member of the Board of Directors, 2003 to 2009
- National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, President, 2004 to 2005
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Member of the Board of Governors, 2006 to Present
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Treasurer, 2015 to 2016
- Milwaukee Bar Association, Member
- State Bar of Wisconsin
- American Bankruptcy Institute, Central States Advisory Board, Member
- American Bar Association, Member
- 7th Circuit Bar Association, Member
- National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, Member