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Michelle A. Lawless

Partner

"Thoughtful counsel, customized strategies, and open communication are the cornerstones to how I work with each client so they can embark on the next phase of their life in the most positive manner possible."

With finely-honed skills in both negotiation and litigation, Michelle has spent her entire career assisting high-net-worth individuals and their spouses protect and preserve their assets during divorce. She has in-depth training and experience in the analysis of executive compensation packages, valuation of closely-held businesses, and other complex, hard-to-value assets and income streams.

As co-author of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Family Law Flash Points, Michelle is knowledgeable about the cutting edge trends in family law. She uses this insight and research to negotiate favorable outcomes for her clients and help them make the best decisions based on the current developments in the law.

Michelle works with her clients to clarify and articulate their goals by asking how they would like to see their lives after the conclusion of their family law matter. She knows that the answers will vary widely, as the goals of a business owner nearing retirement will be vastly different from those of a young mother of three children. She also explains the three primary methods of resolving disputes to the client which include mediation, the collaborative model, and traditional litigation, and works with the client to determine which is the most appropriate avenue for their individual case.

While out-of-court-settlement is the primary goal, Michelle’s talent as a litigator makes her a very effective advocate for her clients in court, if such route is necessary. She has successfully prosecuted and defended cases at the trial and appellate levels. Michelle’s representative experience includes:

  • Negotiating a settlement involving the distribution of several multi-million dollar marital business entities;
  • Achieving a favorable outcome in a high income support case where the interpretation of a compensation agreement played a pivotal role;
  • Negotiating an agreement wherein the allocation of assets focused on the most advantageous tax savings post-divorce for both parties; and
  • Litigating a jurisdictional dispute in a support modification hearing, including prevailing on appeal.

A graduate of the American Bar Association’s Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute focusing exclusively on business valuations, Michelle has been recognized in Best Lawyers of America (2015), an Illinois Super Lawyer (2013-2015), an Illinois Rising Star Attorney (2012), and by the Leading Lawyers Network (2012-2015). She is also a past recipient of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s “40 Under 40” award. She is a certified Divorce Financial Analyst and also holds certifications in Collaborative Law and mediation.

Michelle is a frequent author and lecturer on family law subjects and currently co-authors the IICLE Family Law Flash Points with Donald C. Schiller. She served as liaison to the committee responsible for reviewing and redrafting the Cook County local court rules which govern domestic relations cases and is a Past-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Domestic Relations Committee.

Awards and Honors

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, by Neifeh and Smith (2015-2017)

“40 Under 40 Illinois Attorneys to Watch” by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (2010)

Leading Lawyers Network (2013-2017)

Listed as a Top 100 Women Consumer Lawyer by Leading Lawyers Magazine (2016)

Illinois Super Lawyers - Rising Star (2013)

Illinois Super Lawyers (2014-2017)

Speaker

Family Law Series: Children's Issues in Dual Income Families, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education webcast, October 16, 2013

Articles and Publications

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - March 2017

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - February 2017

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - January 2017

IICLE Top Ten Family Law Flash Points of 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - November 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - October 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - September 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - August 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - July 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - June 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - May 2016

New marriage act makes five key changes to property division

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - April 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - March 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - February 2016

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - January 2016

Top Ten Family Law Flash Points of 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - November 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - October 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - September 2015

Case specifics dictate whether Subchapter-S retained earnings factor into child support

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - August 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - July 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - June 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - May 2015

Imputing Retained Earnings of a Sub-S Corporation for Purposes of Support

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - April 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - March 2015

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - January 2015

Top Ten Family Law Flash Points of 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - November 2014

Newsletter Vol. 7, No. 4 - Fall

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - October 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - September 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - August 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - July 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - June 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - April 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - March 2014

The Income Conundrum: What is and is not Income for Child Support Purposes?

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - February 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - January 2014

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - December 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - November 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - October 2013

Modifying Custody Post-Judgment: A Two-Step Analysis

Workers’ Compensation Settlement is Income for Child Support

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - September 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - August 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - July 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - June 2013

How to Plan for College Expenses Post-Divorce

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - May 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - April 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - February 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - January 2013

IICLE Family Law Flash Points - December 2012

Unique Jurisdictional Issues in Multi-State Child Support Modification Cases

Recent Appellate Court Ruling Clarifies Residency Requirements for International Custody Disputes

Five Factors the Court Considers When Relocating Out of State With Children

Another Tool in the Divorce Attorneys Chest

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