“Who are the best divorce lawyers?” is a question I get from a lot of readers, and it’s a question I can’t answer because really, the question should be, “Who is the best divorce lawyer for me?”
The best divorce lawyer for one person might not be the best for someone else. There are so many factors in choosing a divorce lawyer who will do the best job for you and offer you the best possible experience and outcome—which is challenging, given the emotional and financial burden that divorce usually is.
But putting aside the personal connection and chemistry needed for a productive divorce attorney/client relationship, let’s be honest. In general, some divorce attorneys have a reputation for being really good, some are known for being downright awful, and most sit somewhere in the spectrum of these two extremes.
There is a publication that has been in existence since 1983 called “Best Lawyers In America,” and a few days ago, I saw that 6 of the attorneys from the Chicago law firm, Katz & Stefani—a sponsor of Divorced Girl Smiling, were named to the 2019 Best Lawyers In America list. Those attorneys are: Dan Stefani, André Katz, David Ainley, Amanda Clayman, Shawn Bersson, and Zachary Kafloglis.
It would be easy for me to end this post here, and be glad that everyone knows these attorneys are the “Best Divorce Lawyers in America.” But, I think it’s important to talk about how and why they were chosen. I feel like I owe that to my readers if I am going to endorse the firm on Divorced Girl Smiling.
The first thing I did was go to the “Best Lawyers In America” website, specifically the page where they talk about their 30 year-old methodology process:
“Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Our methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. Best Lawyers employs a sophisticated, conscientious, rational, and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful and substantive evaluations of the quality of legal services. Our belief has always been that the quality of a peer review survey is directly related to the quality of the voters.”
The process is done in five steps:
1. Nomination: lawyers can be nominated by anyone but themselves.
2. Peer Review: lawyers provide feedback about the nominees.
3. Analysis of feedback: feedback is reviewed.
4. Eligibility check: candidates are confirmed to be in good standing with their local bar association.
5. Results released: firms are notified of results and newly recognized lawyers are published online and in print.
The next thing I did was ask Dan Stefani why he thinks he and the other attorneys made the list. Here is what he said:
“Lawyers that are named to the Best Lawyers in America list earn this recognition by continued excellence in the area in which they practice. In the State of Illinois, a very small percentage of family law attorneys are named as Best Lawyers in America. The Katz & Stefani, LLC team provides our clients with a high level of attention and communication, as well as a high level of experience and skills. We keep our clients fully up-to-date as to the status of their cases and we will continue to push cases through to completion. We are successful in negotiating favorable agreements or obtaining favorable Court orders on behalf of our clients. We also maintain a high level of professionalism and have significant experience working with Judges and other attorneys in the practice area. We also understand that the process can be very challenging and overwhelming for our clients and we have empathy for what they are going through. We try to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible for them, all while working to achieve the best possible outcome.”
I also think it’s important to note that Stefani has been recognized as one of the best divorce lawyers in America since 2010 and that the firm has been recognized as a Top Tier One Firm since 2011.
On a personal note, I didn’t know the attorneys at Katz & Stefani while going through my divorce, so I can’t say that they represented me personally in my divorce. That said, over the past few years that Katz & Stefani has been a Divorced Girl Smiling sponsor, I have gotten to know several of the firm’s attorneys well, including 5 of the 6 who made the Best Lawyers list. All the attorneys I have met have left the impression of being professional, ethical, smart and compassionate.
Over the years, I have referred several readers and friends to a few different Katz & Stefani attorneys, and have had wonderful feedback so far.
The thing is, anyone getting divorced is obviously looking for the “best divorce lawyer,” and that can be very subjective. Countless factors come into play when choosing the right attorney for you. These can include: how contentious (or not) the divorce is, whether or not the couple has kids, the couple’s financial situation, the reason the couple is getting divorced, and the emotional state of the couple. Men and women facing divorce need to think about these things when interviewing and choosing the right attorney. I also think gut instinct and chemistry are big big factors in choosing the “best divorce lawyer.”
But I know personally, if I was looking for a divorce attorney I’d feel pretty good if my attorney was on the “Best Divorce Lawyers” list, simply because he or she was chosen by peers—people who are in the courts daily, who see them argue cases, and who know the outcomes.
Congratulations to Katz & Stefani on their achievement!
Like this post? Check out “8 Reasons Your Ex Is Angry And Hateful Towards You”