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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. . .

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

When I was hired at my previous firm, my mentor, Alan Toback, said, “You get two weeks of vacation. Take it. You’ll need it.” And he was absolutely right. The practice of family law can be all-consuming; it’s important to take time to relax and recharge.

How long have you practiced family law?

It’s been 22 years. Before that, I practiced general law—criminal law, bankruptcy, immigration—running from courthouse to courthouse. I quickly learned you can’t know everything about everything. So I focused on family law.

What led you to become an AAML Fellow?

I attended Academy seminars and I was impressed by the caliber of attorneys and their expertise. I felt that becoming a Fellow was a way to take my practice to the next level. I also enjoyed, and still enjoy, the opportunity to interact with attorneys and judges outside the courtroom, at social events like the annual gala—and now I’m co-chairing that event for this year.

Outside the office, how do you spend your time?

      I’m taking violin lessons after a long break. I started about 12 years ago, when my son was studying violin and I thought it would be fun to learn with him. Then life got in the way. But before COVID-19, I found a new teacher, so I’ve started again. I really love Irish jigs and classical music as well—just anything that’s lively. It’s nice to focus my brain on something other than work.

Laura Ashmore, managing partner of Davis Friedman, with offices in Chicago and Deerfield, can be reached at 312-782-2220 and  lashmore@davisfriedman.com.

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