The 1958 Lawyer

Michelle Lawless: Relief Through Technology. How Family Law Clients Benefit from Tech-Savvy Firms.

Episode Notes

Family law is rife with emotion. Michelle Lawless kept that in mind when she built her solo family law practice, after a 19-year tenure at a successful Chicago family law firm. Balancing kindness with efficient processes, Michelle explains how technology, which is usually on the wrong side of the ‘good for mental health’ equation, actually makes difficult family matters easier to emotionally handle. It’s just a bonus that it keeps her solo venture moving full speed.


Key moments:

Attorney assisted mediation and collaborative law (05:16)

Crafting a kind and effective intake process for family law clients (21:42)

“The Daley Center is a daily education”: Building experience in family law (28:26)

What Michelle Lawless wants to see changed in the legal profession (39:37)



“[Mediation has] been a growing trend…. Clients want an alternative to litigation… Litigation is emotionally difficult. It can be protracted and inefficient [and] incredibly expensive.”

“Clients have told me how difficult it was to almost get up the courage to walk into a divorce lawyer’s office for a console. Because, physically, it was a manifestation that their marriage was over, and that that was a really difficult step to take…. [Because of this] I was kind of thinking about, ‘are there ways to do Virtual Counsel,’ and then boom COVID hit.”

“I'm using online forms to capture information that you need in every divorce case but you don't want to keep asking people for, like the names and the ages of their kids and the birth dates….Making things easier on clients was something that I was really looking to do.”

“I always prided myself on providing personalized service, and being there for clients, listening to them. Getting back to them quickly, as quickly as I can…. As a solo I think that's even more critical because it's me. I mean, the business is me. So, I need to provide almost… I look at it like a better client experience. Because I am the client experience. A hundred percent.”



Michelle has spent her entire 20-year career assisting high-net-worth individuals and their spouses by protecting and preserving their assets during divorce. After spending 19 years with one of the most prominent family law firms in the country, she opened her own law practice in 2020, where she is able to take her in-depth training and experience with executive compensation packages, valuations of closely-held businesses, and other complex, hard-to-value assets and income streams to her own practice.

She is a graduate of the American Bar Association's Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute focusing exclusively on business valuations and has also been named one of the 10 Best Attorneys in Illinois for Outstanding Client Service by the American Institute of Family Law Attorney (2017-2019). Michelle is a past recipient of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin's "40 Under 40" award and holds certifications in Collaborative Law and mediation.


Michelle’s Firm:



“Family Law Mediation: A Response to the Rising Pro Se Tide”; 8 November 2019

“The Battlescars of Family Law” Michelle Lawless; 11 November 2020


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