Bernard Schlifke focuses his legal practice on banking, corporate transactional and real estate matters. In addition, he acts as outside general counsel to many businesses that are not of sufficient size to warrant in-house counsel, providing a wide range of advice and counsel to these entities.

In his banking practice, he primarily represents lenders in commercial/business lending and real estate-related lending loans. He also has extensive experience in bank regulatory matters.

Bernie's corporate work includes the structuring and implementation of both the acquisition and sale of businesses, and the representation of privately owned businesses.

In real estate matters, Bernie represents buyers and sellers of properties of all types.


Over the course of his career, Bernie has handled more than 50 mergers and acquisition transactions in a wide variety of industries, including banking, insurance, distribution, metal fabrication and fast food. Examples of such transactions include:

  • Representation of the seller in the first transaction concluded by a private equity firm that subsequently developed into one of the largest in Chicago. Continued to represent the acquired company, which was used as a platform for several additional acquisitions. The lines of business involved metal fabrication and fasteners used in a variety of applications. The platform company was eventually sold for more than $50 million.

  • Representation of the purchaser of a plastic injection molding company based in Boulder, CO, in an $8.5 million transaction; followed then by four or five additional acquisitions for this platform company, growing it to more than $70 million in annual sales. Handled the subsequent sale of the company for more than $60 million.

  • Representation of the purchaser of an electrical paper insulation business in New Hampshire, along with five subsequent acquisitions. Handled the sale of the company for more than $35 million.

  • Representation of a manufacturer of children’s pajamas and sleepwear in connection with several acquisitions and the eventual sale of this company.

  • Representation of a start-up private equity group in connection with acquisitions involving a manufacturer of transmissions for large industrial equipment and a manufacturer of electro and mechanical gear controls for the automotive industry.

  • Represented the seller of a coin operated laundry business (with more than 15,000 machines) serving universities, large apartment complexes, and government facilities located in five different states.

  • Represented the purchaser of a manufacturer of candy and other confections sold under the seller's own brand and under private labels. Transaction was completed in less than a week and avoided possible closing of the selling entity.


Bernie joined Aronberg Goldgehn in September 2005. He holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability. In addition, he has been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in Banking & Financial Institutions Law annually since 2004 by Illinois Leading Lawyers. He has also been named a Super Lawyer in Business/Corporate and Real Estate Law by Illinois Super Lawyers.

Bernie has served as a board member of various entities in a wide range of industries, including banking, real estate, service, manufacturing and insurance. He also served as a member of the Advisory Board (and as past President) of Family Service of Lake County, a 90-plus year old not-for-profit corporation serving communities in Lake County, Illinois.


The University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1965

Northwestern University, B.S., Business Administration, 1962


  • Illinois


  • American Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association


  • AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell
  • Illinois Leading Lawyer in Closely & Privately Held Business Law (2004-2020)
  • Illinois Super Lawyer in Business/Corporate and Real Estate Law (2007, 2008)


What would you be doing if you weren’t a lawyer? Playing golf
What is your favorite restaurant?
Coco Pazzo