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Past Symposia


Yours, Mine or Ours: Cutting-Edge Issues in Marital Asset Distribution (Hybrid)
November 3, 2022

This year's family law symposium centers on gaining a deeper understanding of financial asset and debt allocation in divorce cases. This interdisciplinary event addresses:

  • Issues of implicit and explicit gender bias in marital asset division
  • Drafting strong financial affidavits
  • The art and science of business valuations
  • Qualified and non-qualified retirement plans
  • Cryptocurrency and dissipation
  • Dividing copyrights between spouses in the U.S. and internationally
  • Mediating marital asset and debt allocation
  • Tracking family expenses post-separation 

The symposium was presented online and in person.

A Deep Dive Into Domestic Violence Representation
October 7, 2021 and October 8, 2021

While domestic violence representation changed over the last year due to COVID, the need for strong advocacy in cases with domestic violence remains absolutely necessary.  Prof. D. Kelly Weisberg of University of California Hastings College of Law was the Symposium Keynote Speaker and focused her presentation on the innovative trends in law reform, specifically on coercive control & child custody.  Following Prof. Weisberg’s presentation, various experts in the field discussed the following areas of domestic violence:  domestic economic abuse (presented by Brendan Hammer of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP); intimate partner violence (presented by Tracy Callahan of Callahan & Hockemeyer, PC); overlap of traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and domestic violence (presented by Dr. Sonya Crabtree-Nelson of DePaul University College of Liberal Arts and Social Science and Dr. Dorothy Kozlowski of DePaul University College of Science and Health); how social science can help us understand why family courts may discount women’s testimony in intimate partner violence cases (presented by Dr. Amelia Mindtoff of Iowa State University and Kelly Alison Behre of University of California Davis School of Law); the mechanics of obtaining an order of protection in different counties in Illinois (panel discussion with Hon. Megan E. Goldish of the Cook County Domestic Violence Division, Hon. Victoria M. Kennison of the Will County Domestic Relations Division, Hon. Rhonda K. Bruno of the Lake County Domestic Relations Division, and Andrea Belard of Legal Aid Society as the moderator); how to establish parenting time in domestic violence cases (presented by Hon. Maritza Martinez of the Cook County Domestic Relations Division and Marcellus Moore of The Child Advocate Law Group); how to represent the accused versus the accuser (presented by Danielle Parisi Ruffatto of Ascend Justice and Lindsay Coleman of Coleman Law PC); and a review and analysis of various hypotheticals (presented by Robert Hockemeyer of Callahan & Hockemeyer, PC).  The symposium, cosponsored by the Schiller DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Center and LEDDED Ltd., a family law oriented continuing legal education company, attracted one hundred and five (105) attendees (thirty-three (33) students and seventy-two (72) professionals) and provided 8.5 hours of CLE credit.

Video link to Day 1 - Oct. 7, 2021

Video link to Day 2 - Oct. 8, 2021

The Current State of Elder Law
October 12, 2020

The multifaceted area of elder law is rapidly evolving, especially due to the impact of COVID-19.  Through various panel discussions with experts in the field, panelists and attendees explored hot topics within elder law and how the pandemic has impacted the practice of elder law.  Specifically, attendees and panelists addressed how family law and elder law intersect (presented by Prof. Rebecca C. Morgan of Stetson University College of Law and Anita Ventrelli of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, LLP), how to handle and address clients and family members seeking advance directives and guardianships (presented by Kerry Peck of PeckRitchey, LLC and Brandon Peck of PeckRitchey, LLC), how caregiving has impacted society and families (presented by Prof. Richard Kaplan of the University of Illinois College of Law), how to fund caregivers through public benefits (presented by Wendy Shparago Cappelletto of the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian), what are the options and ethical issues with respect to end of life choices (presented by Eric Parker of Stotis & Baird Chartered and Amy Sherman of Compassion & Choices), how LGBT seniors are impacted by elder law issues (presented by Elisabeth Hieber of the Center for Disability and Elder Law), and how to protect loved ones from financial exploitation (presented by Charles P. Golbert of the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian).  Additionally, Prof. Rebecca C. Morgan of Stetson University College of Law gave an exciting and thorough elder law update.  The symposium attracted one-hundred and four (104) attendees (fifty-five (55) students and forty-nine (49) professionals) and provided seven (7) hours of CLE credit.


The New American Family
November 7, 2019

While the traditional model of the American family has been evolving over the last century, recent cultural, legislative, and case law changes served as the impetus for the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center’s annual full day symposium. Through various panel discussions with experts in the field, panelists and attendees explored the values and culture shifts of the former American family (presented by Professor Linda McClain of Boston University School of Law and Professor Roberta Kwall of DePaul University College of Law), implications of not marrying under the present American family (presented by Sandra Crawford of Law Crawford PC, Hon. Pamela E. LozaBrandon Peck of PeckRitchey, LLC, and Dr. Gail Petrich), the ethical dilemmas current and future American families face in addressing embryos upon separation (presented by Professor Susan Crockin of Georgetown University Law Center and Crockin Law & Policy Group, PLLC and Nidhi Desai of Desai & Miller), the economics of marriage and separation (presented by Professor Shoshanna Grossbard of San Diego State University), the 'graying divorce' (presented by Stephanie Tang of Kogut & Wilson, LLC and Mario Ventrelli of Ventrelli Simon LLC), how to co-parent effectively post decree (presented by David Ainley of Katz & Stefani, LLC, Brendan Hammer of Berger Schatz, and Sarah Hawkins of the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian), and mental health concerns for the new American family (presented by Grace Gufler of Accepting Therapy and Gwenn Waldman).  The symposium attracted eighty-five (85) attendees (thirty-nine (39) students and forty-six (46) professionals) and provided six hours of CLE credit.


Effects of Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence on Children of Addicted Parents
October 19, 2018

The Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center hosted a full day symposium featuring Jerry Moe, the National Director of the Children’s Program at the Betty Ford Center, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.  Mr. Moe discussed how family addiction impacts children, specifically from a child’s perspective.  He described the psychological stages of addiction and what children experience and how it is processed in a child’s mind.  Mr. Moe also talked about treatment available to children who have one or two parents struggling with addiction.  Following Mr. Moe, Judge Maritza Martinez (Cook County Domestic Relations), Dr. Kimberly Dennis (SunCloud Health), David Newton (SunCloud Health), and Dean Allison Ortlieb (DePaul University College of Law) addressed the implications of family addiction on the judicial system.  Judge Michael Ian Bender (Ret.) (Caesar & Bender LLP), Patrick John (The Barclay Law Group), Gail O’Connor (O’Connor Family Law), and Ralla Klepak (Klepak & Associates) addressed the implications of family addiction on attorneys. Aileen Robinson (CPD) talked about the impact of domestic violence from a child’s point of view.  Finally, Judge Karen Shields (Ret.) (JAMS), Judge Mark Lopez (Cook County Domestic Relations), Judge Barbara Riley (Ret.) (private practice), and Dr. Gail Petrich (private practice) discussed how to use the information learned from this symposium to create a better future path for children in this type of unfortunate situation.  The symposium, cosponsored by the Schiller DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Center and LEDDED Ltd., a family law oriented continuing legal education company, attracted eighty (80) attendees and provided six hours of professional responsibility CLE credits. 



1st Annual Symposium:  Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods in Child and Family Law Cases
March 3, 2016

The Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center held its first annual family law symposium in 2016.  This symposium brought together speakers from family law practice and academia.  The Honorable Grace G. Dickler, Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Domestic Relations Division, was the featured speaker and Professor Andrew Schepard from Hofstra University School of Law gave the closing address.  The symposium also included the following panels:

The Use of Mediation and Arbitration in Child & Family Law Cases: Challenges and Successes

Moderator: The Honorable Karen G. Shields (Ret.), Mediator & Arbitrator, JAMS 

Panelists: Cookie Levitz, Supervisor and Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County, Family Mediation Services; Jeffrey Brend, Arbitrator & Financial Mediator, Levin & Brend, P.C.; Susan Storcel, Director, Circuit Court of Cook County, Child Protection Mediation & Facilitation Program

Emerging Problem-Solving Models for Families & Children: Collaborative Law, Parenting Coordination, and Restorative Justice 

Moderator: Patrick Kalscheur, Attorney, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP

Panelists:  Sandra Crawford, Collaborative Law Attorney, Mediator and Trainer, Co-Founder of Trainers for the Advancement of Collaborative Practice, Inc. and former President of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois; Brian James, Mediator and Parenting Coordinator, C.E.L. & Associates, Inc.; The Honorable Martha A. Mills (Ret.), Former Supervising Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County Parentage and Child Support Court and DePaul's Restorative Justice Pilot Project