Photo of Cara M. Houck

Cara M. Houck





Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, M.B.A, 2012

Northwestern University, post-graduate related course work

Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D., 1996

Northwestern University, B.S., 1990

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals

  • Seventh Circuit

U.S. District Courts

  • Eastern District of Michigan
  • Northern District of Illinois
  • Central District of Illinois
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin

Supreme Court of Illinois

Cara M. Houck is a trial attorney specializing in commercial litigation. In addition to her law degree, Cara holds a master's degree in business administration.  

Cara is recognized by Marquis Who's Who for Excellence in Law, Illinois Leading Lawyers and Illinois Super Lawyers. 

Prior to joining the firm, Cara worked as an associate at McGuireWoods, where she defended several Fortune 500 companies in business disputes as well as product liability and mass toxic tort defense claims. She has tried lawsuits, conducted arbitrations and appeared before state and federal courts around the country.

During the course of her 20-year career, she has served on several not-for-profit boards dedicated to helping underprivileged children. Cara is currently the President of the Awassa Children's Project located in Ethiopia, Africa. She also serves as a Board Member for the Chicago Bar Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping those who cannot afford legal services. She also serves on Miller Canfield's Pro Bono Committee.

Representative Matters

Successful appeal. CF SBC Pledgor 1 2012-1 Trust v. Clark School LLC et al., 2016 IL App. (4th) 150568 (Sept. 8, 2016).

Won appeal on lender's right to appoint receiver on an ex parte basis.  CF SBC Pledgor 1 2012-1 Trust v. Clark/School, LLC, No. 4-14-0416; 2014 WL 5761126 (4th Dist. App. Ct. Nov. 4, 2014).

Lead and prevailing trial lawyer in § 1983 case, Jeremy O'Brien v Joseph Sroka, et al., Case No 10 C 5156

Prevailed on motion to quash service of process one year after complaint was filed. Shannon Carlson v. Walgreen Co., et al., Case No. 07 L 002596 (Cook County, IL).

Defended a Land Trust by means of a motion to dismiss the action with prejudice. The action alleged Specific Performance and Intentional Interference with Contract. Alice Prus v. Chicago Title Land Trust Co., et al., No. 05 CH 3424

Challenged venue and obtained transfer from Cook County to DeKalb County. Irene Belmonte v. Crown Equipment Corporation, et al., Case No. 03 L 60.

Wrote several motions for summary judgments in asbestos litigation cases pending in Madison County, Illinois based on lack of product identification where plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed cases before oral argument. Betty Briggs v. The Sherwin-Williams Company, et. al. Case No. 03 L 1460.

Briefed and argued two winning motions to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on negligence and negligent misrepresentation issues. Blinderman Construction Co. v. El Greco Painting Contractors, Inc. and The Sherwin-Williams Company, Case No. 02 L 0605.

Obtained reversal of summary judgment from Illinois Court of Appeals, First Judicial District on breach of contract and implied-in-fact contract issues. Burrell v. Andre's Foto Lab, Inc. and GFX International, Inc., Case No. 03-3059 (June 29, 2004) appealed from 00 CH 11892.

In re: Asbestos Product Litigation, (U.S. Dist. Ct., Philadelphia, MDL 875 (multidistrict asbestos litigation)

Obtained an arbitration award in DuPage County on behalf of Crown Equipment Corporation in a Breach of Contract dispute. Crown Equipment Corporation d/b/a Crown Lift Trucks v. Scott Karoll, individually and a/k/a Furniture Zone, Inc. Case No. 03 L 639

Plaintiff alleged serious facial and other burns as a result of a product manufactured by the defendant. After the close of discovery in July 2001, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District dismissed for want of prosecution. Kimberly Kuss v. The Sherwin-Williams Company, Case No. 00 C 1821

Obtained a dismissal order for lack of personal jurisdiction (based on the fiduciary shield doctrine) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Burns v. Prestige v. BLD Funding, et al., Case No. 00 C 2933.

Obtained multiple judgments in favor of plaintiff in breach of contract proceedings. Crown Equipment Corporation v. Faustech Industries, Inc., Case Nos. 00 M1 115922 and 00 M1 142773.

Obtained no liability award in arbitrated negligence action brought against a semi-truck driver. Allstate Insurance Company as Subrogee for Weilin Tao v. Guy Malizzio, Case No. 00 M1 02311.

Co-authored motion and brief used to obtain summary judgment in favor of defendant in consolidated cases alleging a design defect in the defendant's product affirmed on appeal where plaintiff's expert was excluded on Daubert grounds. Bourelle and Wendling v. Crown Equipment Corporation, 220 F.3d 532 (7th Cir. 2000), CCH Prod. Liab. Rep., p. 15,860


Marquis Who's Who for Excellence in Law

Leading Lawyers: Top Women Leaders in Illinois & Leading Lawyer in Illinois for Business Litigation, 2018

Illinois Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2012-2018

Miller Canfield Pro Bono Champion, 2011-present

American Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2018-present

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

Illinois State Bar Association

Chicago Bar Association

Chicago Bar Foundation, Board Member, 2015-present

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Awassa Children's Project, Ethiopia - Volunteer, 2011; Board Member, 2012; President, 2013-present

The Chicago Challenge, Board Member, 2000-2005

Prevent Child Abuse America


"Changing Times, Changing Strategies: Asset Management and Special Servicing in a Post-Pandemic World," Trigild Lender Conference, April 15, 2022

"Pre-Workout Agreements: Key Provisions for Avoiding Lender Liability and Preserving Remedies," Strafford webinar, May 5, 2022

"Hotel Workouts," Presenter, Torchlight Loan Services, November 2, 2019, New York

"Hot Topics and Market Disrupters," Presenter, Trigild Conference, October 23, 2019, San Diego

"Future NOW - Shared Economy," Presenter, Trigild Conference, April 18, 2019, Dallas

"Pre and Post-Foreclosure Due Diligence Checklist," Webinar, Lorman Education Services, January 25, 2019

"How to Negotiate Contracts," Illinois Small Business Development Center, September 27, 2018, Chicago

"Waste Claims in Commercial Real Estate Foreclosure," Training Session, Rialto Capital Advisors, May 9, 2018, Miami

"Real World Case Stories: Reject, Re-tenant, Repurpose,"  Presenter, Trigild Conference, April 19, 2018, Dallas

"Mall Workouts," a case study (CLE presentation), March 15, 2018, Dallas

"Legal Hot Topics in HYDRA Lending," CREFC Summit, March 7, 2018, New York

"Property Update: Hotels," Moderated Panel of Environmental Experts (CLE presentation,) Trigild Conference, October 17-19, 2017, San Diego, California

"Legal Matters: Compliance & Regulations in the Banking Sector," IMN Conference, Sept. 8, 2017

"A Refresher Course on Ethics for In-House Counsel," (CLE Presentation) May 5, 2017

"Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure and Subordination, Nondisturbance and Attornment Agreements" Real Estate Litigation (CLE presentation), March 9, 2017

"Hidden Hazards - Managing Environmental Challenges," Moderated Panel of Environmental Experts (CLE presentation,) Trigild Conference, October 5-7, 2016 San Diego, California

"How to Maximize Recovery," Training Session on Commercial Foreclosure Work-Outs (CLE presentation), Presenter, Trigild, May 21, 2015, Dallas, Texas

"Seven Principles of Conducting Commercial Foreclosure Work-Outs," Real Estate Litigation (CLE presentation), October 9, 2014

"Future of Big Box Retail," Real Estate Litigation (CLE presentation), October 23, 2013

"Real Dealings with REAs," Real Estate Litigation (CLE presentation), April 16, 2013


"Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis and Gadolinium-Based Contrast: Medico-Legal Implications," Seminars In Dialysis, Online Early Articles, Published Online Early, January 23, 2008 

"The First State to Reject the Learned Intermediary Doctrine: West Virginia," McGuireWoods Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Biotechnology News, October 29, 2007

"Price Advertisers Beware," McGuireWoods Life Sciences Industry News, July 30, 2007

"Attacking the Learned Intermediary Defense with Evidence of the Behavior of the Manufacturer's Representative," McGuireWoods Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Biotechnology News, November 20, 2006

"Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: A Threat to the Powerful 'Learned Intermediary Doctrine' Defense?" McGuireWoods Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Biotechnology News, October 16, 2006