Gail M. O'Connor
Divorce Law - Chicago, IL

My clients come from everywhere, and most come with certain perceptions - and misconceptions - about the divorce process. It's natural to talk to and get advice from friends and family, and all mean well. But what you take away from a coffee clatch usually is not even relevant to your case. The fact is, every personal circumstance is different.

So what is the first thing I tell people? Well, after I have reviewed the facts and history of your case, I am rather straightforward: You should listen to me, as your counsel, and do as I instruct you to do. Proper behavior and communication will only help in reaching a resolution of your case. This is especially so when there are complex custody issues involved - and when I am the second or third lawyer on your case.

It's true that I handle a lot of custody cases - and usually they involve tough issues in which the sides have hardened in their views. There are some amicable cases, to be sure, but by and large the cases I handle come with their own unique tensions and personalities. And those complex issues often are presented to the court.

I don't advocate that my clients pursue litigation - our courts are full of cases that should not have been litigated in the first place. But I know I am a more than competent courtroom lawyer, and never once have I shied away from court when I felt it was in my clients' interest to have the case heard there.

Remember: Judges are people too. A judge will tell you what is "fair" - and that may be a far cry from what you think is fair. Parts of our state's family law statute are simply antiquated - they don't square with today's paradigm of what is a family. Parents are now insisting on 50-50 parenting time and access, but that's not always how it plays out in court.

The bottom line for resolving any case is making sure you have competent people involved. Never hire an attorney who dabbles in divorce law. It's a joke in some circles that it's the divorce lawyers who create the chaos - but that's only true when dealing with bad lawyers. The good divorce lawyers are more than simply competent. They're honest; they're forthright, with their clients and other lawyers. And they know how to get cases resolved.

Whatever stage they are with their case, our clients are generally bringing us a messy situation - it's our job to clean it up, to work the issues through, and to resolve it for the long-term.

I got into divorce law because I always found the work rewarding. The statute is the same, but every case is different. Our clients are better off at the end of it.

People's lives today are more complex than ever. And as result, I think, divorce law gets a lot more respect now. We work to have a positive impact on our clients' lives - and the lives of their family. I'm proud of that.

Gail M. O'Connor
"We work to have a positive impact on our clients' lives ... I'm proud of that."
Phone: (312) 621-0100
Fax: (312) 621-0102
University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1993
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 1996
2014-11-04 10:59:29