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(618) 993-1300

Mt. Vernon
(618) 315-6600

(618) 549-1100

Your First Step

To a Fresh Start



Location: Carbondale, Illinois
Phone: 618-549-1100
Fax: 618-549-0141
Email: E-mail Me

Jay B. Howd was born and raised in LaHarpe, Illinois, a small farm community in west central Illinois. Following in the footsteps of his deceased mother, he graduated valedictorian of his LaHarpe high school class. Though he would never regard himself as an athlete, Jay also persevered to become an all-conference athlete in both football and basketball while in high school. Jay’s upbringing in LaHarpe was instrumental in teaching him the value of honesty, dedication, and hard work.

Jay attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1984 where he graduated with honors in Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes. While in college, he served as president of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society of which he remains a lifelong member. In 1989, Jay attended law school at Southern Illinois University. While there, he served as the Research Editor on the Board of Editors for the Southern Illinois Law Journal.

Jay graduated from law school in December 1991 and started his own practice directly out of law school. Although he is one of the few registered patent attorneys in southern Illinois, Jay has chosen instead to focus his attention exclusively on bankruptcy work out of a sheer desire to help people in need of assistance. In 1998, Jay became a 50% owner of the Bankruptcy Clinic. In 2008, he became 100% owner. Today, he serves as the President and managing attorney for the firm.

During his tenure at the Bankruptcy Clinic, Jay has counseled or co-counseled over 10,000 bankruptcy filings in southern Illinois and western Kentucky. He is passionate in his desire to make a difference in people’s lives. “It is tragic to see what many of our clients go through in their day-to-day lives. Over the years, I believe we have saved countless marriages, prevented strokes and heart attacks, and even a few suicides.” Jay finds great fulfillment in knowing his work has had a profound positive effect on the lives of the clients he has served through the years.

In 2005, Jay steered the firm and its clients through the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). He has been instrumental in forging positive interpretations of the Act through such court cases as In re Nance, 371 B.R. 358 (S. Dist. Ill. 2006)( the amount an above median debtor must pay back in a Chapter 13 is dictated by the mechanical approach required by Congress in the Means test) and In re Barrett, 371 B.R. 860 (S. Dist. Ill. 2007) (vehicle and housing expenses are governed by the Means test which allows for an ownership expenses deduction associated with a second vehicle and housing allowances). The findings of these decisions have since become common knowledge amongst the bankruptcy bar and have been cited in numerous bankruptcy cases and court reporters throughout the United States.

Over the years, Jay’s bankruptcy experience has drawn positive media attention. He has been featured on numerous occasions by local ABC, CBS, WSIU television affiliates as well as several newspapers to discuss debt problems and bankruptcy. Jay has made his home in Carbondale, Illinois for over 25 years. He has been happily married to his wife, Donna, for 15 years.

Litigation Percentage

  • 20% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Registered Patent Attorney, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 1999

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1992
  • Kentucky, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1994
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 1999


  • Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, Illinois
    • J.D. – 1992
    • Honors: Best Journal Comment/Article Award
    • Honors: National Products Liability Moot Court Team
    • Honors: Honorary Member American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects (Scribes)
    • Law Journal: Southern Illinois Law Journal, Research Editor, 1991 – 1992
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
    • B.S. (Cum Laude) – 1989
    • Honors: President, Tau Beta Pi Honor Society
    • Honors: Dean’s Search Committee
    • Honors: Recipient of Seven Academic Scholarships
    • Honors: Dean’s List (Four Years)
    • Honors: Joint Engineering Student Council Member
    • Honors: Golden Key National Honor Society
    • Honors: National Dean’s List
    • Honors: Outstanding College Student’s of America
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes

Published Works

  • Redefining the Right to Die in Illinois- In re Estate of Longway, 15 S. Ill. U.L.J. 1261 , 15, 1991
  • Race Exclusive Scholarships – Will They Survive?, 16 S. Ill. U.L.J. 451, 16, 1992


  • Featured Speaker – Practicing Law Under BAPCPA, Bankruptcy Attorneys of Southern Ill., 2006 – Present

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Assoc. of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), Member
  • Bankruptcy Attorneys of Southern Illinois (BASIL), Member
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Jackson County Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • First United Methodist Church of Carbondale

Past Employment Positions

  • Law Office of Jay B. Howd, Owner, 1992 – 1998
  • U.S. Dept. of Energy Argonne National Laboratory, Research Assistant, 1987


  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Phi Delta Phi
  • Phi Kappa Phi

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