My Background and Experience

Before practicing law, I enjoyed a varied career that included working in a large corporation, owning and operating a fitness business and participating in managing an arts organization.

I started my legal career in 2001 representing children in Family Court, a job I continue to do today. Through this work it became clear to me that there must be a better way to resolve the difficult and deeply personal family issues that bring people to the courthouse. My experience with the legal adversarial system has convinced me that it is often ill-suited to provide adequate resolutions for many families. Engaging in mediation or collaborative law, two out-of-court processes that respect party choice and encourage parties to work together to define their own future, can offer better and more peaceful options for many people.

I have been helping parties resolve their family conflicts for close to twenty years. I continue to develop my knowledge and training in child advocacy, mediation and collaborative law every year. In addition to my private practice, I volunteer as a legal presenter for the Parents Apart Program in Tompkins County, Parents Apart , a six-hour class that offers parents insights in effective co-parenting, and information and guidance in helping their children adjust to separation and divorce.

I am an active member of the Ithaca Area Collaborative Law Professionals  having served as President from 2013 – 2015. I am the 2020 membership chair for the Finger Lakes Women’s Bar Association, and I served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Community School of Music and Arts  for eight years, president 2017-2019.

Personally, I have made the journey through divorce and am now remarried. I am a parent and a grandparent. I understand and have experienced both painful and hopeful emotions along the way. Music and Dance are also passions of mine. I teach ballroom dance at Cornell University and other social partner dance styles in the Ithaca area.

“Thank you for all your hard work and diligence working with me and this case! You were a great resource and an excellent shoulder to lean on for support. What you did for me was beyond your obligation as a lawyer and I appreciate all that you have done for me!”  S.M. 2011

Additional Affiliations

Professional Education/Training

  • BS, Business Administration, State University of New York at Albany, 1981, magna cum laude
  • JD, Cornell Law School, 1994
  • Licensed to practice Law in New York State, 1995
  • Attorneys for Children Training, 2001 
  • Mediation Training, 2002 & 2003
  • Introductory Collaborative Law Training, 2006
  • Annual Advanced Continuing Education in Child Advocacy, Mediation, Collaborative Law

Mediation

Collaborative Law

Unbundled Legal Services