As a partner in Chapman’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group, Jim Heiser helps clients find cost‑effective solutions to complex bankruptcy, restructuring, and litigation disputes. Jim has been practicing law since 2003, when he joined Chapman after graduating from law school.

Jim regularly advises and represents corporate and municipal creditors, indenture trustees, agent banks, backup and master servicers, institutional investors, and equipment lessors in a variety of financings and related litigation disputes across a wide range of business sectors, including:

  • Represented agent bank in bankruptcy of major California tomato processor involving price fixing and racketeering claims
  • Represented DIP agent in bankruptcy of major meat processor
  • Represented agent bank in workout involving producer and processor of pecans and other nut products
  • Represented various creditors in cases involving the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“PACA”) related statutes 
  • Represented major energy financier in restructuring of portfolio of renewable energy projects
  • Represented large financial institution in workout involving coal assets
  • Represented international bank in workout involving energy provider
  • Represented numerous domestic and international financial institutions in structuring transactions to assess and minimize bankruptcy risks
Equipment Leasing

Jim has counseled clients in a wide range of sophisticated matters involving leveraged leases, governmental leases, synthetic leases, and credit tenant leases. Some of Jim’s significant equipment leasing experience includes the representation of trustees in leveraged lease workouts involving billions of dollars in aircraft finance transactions.  

Litigation and Appellate Advocacy 

Jim has acted as first trial chair in intellectual property disputes, and has extensive experience handling complex litigation matters arising from defaulted loans or securities. He regularly advises clients on issues involving intercreditor disputes, lender liability, fraudulent conveyance, breach of fiduciary duty, and other matters regarding the enforcement and interpretation of creditors’ rights. Jim’s experience includes:

Asset Recovery Litigation and Appellate Advocacy 
  • Argued successful appeal before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in fraudulent transfer case
  • Achieved numerous summary judgments in favor of lenders in complex cases involving borrower fraud, misconduct, and related defaults
Intellectual Property Litigation 
  • Obtained successful jury verdict in favor of defendant in patent infringement case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division 
  • Defended various small and mid-sized businesses in litigation involving both patent trolls and practicing entities 
Asset Forfeiture Defense

Jim’s experience includes the successful representation of an agent bank in a petition to defend collateral from forfeiture as a result of criminal acts by a borrower. 

Public Finance

Jim has represented creditors in numerous high-profile municipal workouts across the United States and Puerto Rico. He routinely works with clients to assess and manage risks associated with municipal financial distress and bankruptcy. Some of Jim’s recent representations include:

  • Representation of lender in workout involving obligations of large domestic issuer 
  • Representation of international bank in workout involving government-owned transportation authority 
  • Provision of bankruptcy risk assessment analysis for nearly 100 issuers nationwide 
Structured Finance

Jim routinely represents originators, servicers, issuers, and investors in troubled securitizations involving bankruptcies, workouts, insolvencies, and associated litigation. Jim has counseled clients in connection with a diverse range of structured finance matters, including:

  • Represented trustee in review and resolution of hundreds of swap transactions
  • Represented international bank and liquidity provider in major real estate securitization fraud matter
  • Represented major domestic bank in restructuring of receivables securitization matter
  • Represented noteholders, equipment lessors, and indenture trustees in virtually every recent airline restructuring 
  • Represented international bank in workout involving major logistics provider
  • Assisted client with Article 9 sale involving multistate transportation provider


Volunteer Panel for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois



New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York


University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., 2003

Drexel University, M.B.A., Finance, 2000

Drexel University, B.S., Accounting, cum laude, 1999



Pro Bono

  • Public Interest Law Initiative fellow 
  • Assists institutional in-house clients develop and expand their pro bono programs  
  • Illinois Legal Aid Online's "Attorney of the Month"
  • Chapman and Cutler LLP’s Pro Bono Honor Roll

We have always been focused on finance.

  • 1913
    TS Chapman partners with Henry Cutler to form Chapman and Cutler
  • 1st
    Chapman's first client in 1913 is still a client of the firm today
  • 22
    Diverse financial practices serving regional, national, and global clients
  • 6
    Offices across the country and in key US financial centers

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