Distinguished Counsel, Uncompromising Ethics

Fellows of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) are recognized by judges, other attorneys and clients as the gold standard for family law. In addition to their individual practice, Fellows conduct legal education programs, lead community outreach and support philanthropic initiatives. They also lead the charge in shaping family law legislation and enacting legal reform.

Of the several thousand family law attorneys in the State of Illinois, 110 are Academy Fellows. To earn the distinction of Fellow, these remarkable lawyers, most with decades of experience in family law, have sustained the highest principles in their practice and passed a rigorous review process.

Renowned for providing outstanding service to their clients, Illinois Fellows raise the bar for the practice of family law. Not only do they advance the profession with their exceptional advocacy and uncompromising ethics, they also benefit their clients through expert guidance and protection.

AAML Fellows address myriad issues to achieve the best outcome for their clients, including

  • Divorce
    • Alimony
  • Children
    • Custody
    • Visitation
    • Support
  • Agreements
    • Prenuptial
    • Postnuptial
  • Valuation and division
    • Business
    • Property
  • Alternative Dispute Resolutions
    • Mediation
    • Arbitration
    • Collaboration

Get to know. . .

Gary Schlesinger AAML fellow
How long have you practiced family law?

I joined the AAML in 1978, but actually, my first divorce case was a lawsuit. I was at Northwestern Law School when they opened a legal clinic in the summer of 1969. We drew straws and I got the first case—a 16-year-old mother with her baby, both with welts inflicted by her 18-year-old husband using an electrical cord. At the time, Northwestern did not have a family law class. So we sort of invented the wheel and got an injunction. This was way before the Domestic Violence Act.

Why did you join the AAML?

A judge I respected told me I should. But also, becoming a Fellow showed me that I had arrived, and that I was being recognized as one of the very fine divorce lawyers in Illinois.

What is the number one tip you have for clients?

Be realistic. Nobody gets everything and nobody gets nothing. Somewhere between “I get it all” and “You get it all” is the reality. So start by assuming each side gets half, and then let’s take it from there.

What are you looking forward to professionally in the coming year?

Years ago in Lake County, where I live and work, we met with judges about local court rules. But that changed over time. One judge told me at a seminar, “We’re not here to listen to how you want to do things. We’re here to tell you how it’s going to be done.” I would like to get back to the collegiality that we once had.

Gary L. Schlesinger, senior partner at Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC in Libertyville, can be reached at glschles@aol.com and 847-680-4970..

William Boyd Scholarship for African American Law Students

The “AAML Illinois Chapter William Stewart Boyd Scholarship for African American Law Students” is the inaugural scholarship sponsored by the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. This scholarship is a one-time award of $5,000.00 to two law students attending Illinois Law Schools during the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Matthew Locke

Jasmine Guerrier