Mike Cortina’s Experience

Mike Cortina is an accomplished attorney and partner at the law firm of SmithAmundsen. In his 20+ years of practice as an attorney at law, he has achieved a level of such legal excellence that his peers have rated him as Preeminent®.


Professional Experience



SmithAmundsen, LLC
Jan. 2008-Present
  • Partner
  • Commercial Litigation & Transactions
  • Co-Chair, Financial Services Group
  • Managing Partner, Crystal Lake Office


SmithAmundsen has been ranked on the 2021 "Best Law Firms" list from U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers ... Read More



The Law Office of
Michael G. Cortina, Ltd.
Oct. 2006-Jan. 2008
  • Owner
  • General Practice with an emphasis on commercial law
Zukowski, Rogers,
Flood & McArdle
May 2000-Oct. 2006
  • Associate
  • Municipal and Commercial Law
Whiteside County State’s Attorney’s Office
Sept. 1998-May 2000
  • Assistant State’s Attorney


Mike Cortina’s United States Supreme Court Experience

Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett, 575 U.S. 790 (2015)


Practicing before the United States Supreme Court is generally limited to the highest echelon of legal professionals. Mike was part of a team that submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Court in Bank of America v. Caulkett. Not only did the Court rule 9-0 in favor of the side that Mike's team supported, part of the opinion appears to paraphrase one of the arguments that the team made!

Mike's team stated the following in their brief:

"Dewsnup clearly forbids stripping-down a lien if that lien has one cent or more of realizable value. Such a lien may pass through bankruptcy unaffected, and the lienholder may benefit from future appreciation. The consequence of Respondent’s position, however, is that if the same lien is wholly underwater by one cent, it can be voided. Thus, a one cent difference in a judicially determined valuation would make the difference between preservation of a right and its complete and permanent loss."

Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett, 2015 WL 412048, *20-21 (2015).


The Supreme Court opinion in the case states:

"Under the debtors’ approach, if a court valued the collateral at one dollar more than the amount of a senior lien, the debtor could not strip down a junior lien under Dewsnup, but if it valued the property at one dollar less, the debtor could strip off the entire junior lien. Given the constantly shifting value of real property, this reading could lead to arbitrary results."

Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett, 575 U.S. 790, 797 (2015).


Cited to as Authority

  • In re Marriage of Arjmand, 2017 IL App (2d) 160631 (2017)



Mike holds an AV® Preeminent® rating by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™

According to its website, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are often considered the "gold standard" of attorney ratings.

Historically the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ system utilized an "A - B - C" scale to estimate the legal ability and ethical standards of an attorney. To qualify for an "A" rating an attorney had to be reported as "Very High" in their legal ability and had been practicing for at least 10 years, a "B" rating meant an attorney was rated "High" and had to be practicing for at least 5 years, and a "C" rating meant that the attorney was rated "fair" with no limitations on how long they were practicing. A second rating was also given to go along with the "A - B - C" rating and that was a "V," meaning that the attorney's peers stated they had "Very High" ethical standards. Over the years this transitioned to "AV," "BV," and "CV" ratings - with an "AV" rating meaning that the attorney had reached the highest level of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.




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