It’s bad enough to watch your law firm dissolve. But to wind up in court over it? That may be a lawyer’s special hell.

Just ask the former partners from Keck, Mahin & Cate: More than a year and a half after the big Chicago firm closed up shop and declared bankruptcy on Sept. 30, 1997, its partners are still duking it out. Keck had expanded rapidly in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but in the last few years of its existence, the firm was rocked by partner defections. In 1996 more than 100 lawyers exited the firm; four offices closed and an entire practice group defected.