College of Law > About > Events & CLE > Featured Events > Family Law Symposium > Presenters



Kimberly Cook

For over a decade, Kimberly Cook maintained a distinguished legal career as a litigator at one of the country’s premier divorce and family law firms representing high profile clients. She is known for guiding families through complex family law matters including prenuptial agreements, divorce, parenting matters, property division, child support and spousal support. 

In addition to her work as a mediator, Cook shares her legal experience with the community as a speaker, mentor and podcaster, and she has been featured in various publications including, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Chicago Lawyer Magazine, Crain’s Chicago, Black Enterprise, Thrive Global, and Business Insider.

In recognition of her hard work, Cook is the recipient of several notable awards including being named to Crain’s Chicago Notable Minorities in Law, Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; the American Bar Association; Jack and Jill of America, Inc.; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; and the Economic Club of Chicago.  At DePaul Law, she is a member of the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center Advisory Board and an adjunct professor.  Cook earned her BA from Spelman College and her JD from The Catholic University of America.

Jennifer Fletchall

Chicago native Jennifer Fletchall is a trained mediator, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) trained arbitrator, as well as a collaboratively trained attorney and financial specialist.  Prior to starting her own firm—The Fletchall Group—in 2022, she spent 20 years at a boutique family law and tax firm in the Chicago Loop.  The Fletchall Group focuses on family law mediation, collaborative law and litigation support, and as part of its litigation support services, Fletchall performs business valuation and forensic accountings, income analysis and lifestyle analysis.   

Fletchall also is a fellow of both the AAML and Collaborative Divorce Illinois, where she is currently on the Board of Managers for each organization.  Her professional memberships include the Illinois State Bar Association, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Illinois CPA Society, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and American Society of Appraisers.  Fletchall earned her JD from the John Marshall Law School (k/n/a the University of Illinois Chicago) after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BS in Accountancy.  She also received an LLM in Taxation from Chicago Kent and is a CPA.  

Tal Itkin_crop

Tal Itkin is a practicing lawyer in Israel and holds research affiliation with the Harry Radzyner Law School, Reichman University, Israel. Twenty-five years ago, she established what is now one of the leading family law firms in Israel, and in the past six years, the firm has ranked in the top tier by Dun & Bradstreet. 

Itkin was recently appointed a member of the Israel Bar Association High Committee on Family Law. This appointment is in recognition of her unique contributions to the development of family law in Israel through participation in committees on law reform and her success in litigating in many precedents delivered by courts in Israel, including the Supreme Court.

Itkin's research focuses on the intersection of intellectual property and family law. During her postgraduate studies she developed a model for the division of intellectual property assets between spouses that was recently presented in conferences in Israel and Stanford. She recently published articles in law reviews in the U.S., Canada and Israel, where she criticizes the lack of legal attention to ownership problems associated with the division of intellectual properties created within the family. In these articles, Itkin aims to remedy the absence of the family unit in intellectual property literature, bringing to the forefront the family and its contributions to the creative process.  

Itkin holds law degrees from the UK and Israel and is now working on her doctorate and a book entitled, "The Role of the Family in Intellectual Property." 

Danielle Kestnbaum

Danielle Kestnbaum currently works as a professional liaison for OurFamilyWizard.  She also has worked in the public sector as a child’s advocate and in the private sector representing parents in a broad range of family law matters.  

Kestnbaum earned her JD with honors from Chicago-Kent, after earning her MSW from Columbia University and her BA from Brandeis University.  During law school, she externed with the chief judge of the Domestic Relations Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Patrick Ryan

Patrick Ryan helps his clients move forward with their lives by addressing the complex, emotional and often difficult situations that arise in divorce cases.  He helps clients to understand their current personal financial situations and plan for their financial futures. He is equally skilled in the arts of negotiation and litigation and understands the importance of preparation in both approaches. 

In 2012, Ryan successfully completed the rigorous American Bar Association/National Institute for Trial Advocacy Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute. The following year, he earned a Certified Financial Planner™ certification, the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.Additionally, he continues to follow his passion for the law, serving as an adjunct faculty member at DePaul College of Law, where he teaches Family Law Legal Drafting, and is a member of DePaul’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center Advisory Board.

A lifelong resident of Chicago, Ryan attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he spent a year working for the Champaign County State’s Attorney in the areas of juvenile abuse and neglect. After graduating from the University of Illinois, he returned to Chicago to attend DePaul College of Law. While at DePaul, he focused his studies on family law, earning a certificate in family law and graduating cum laude.  

Anne Prenner Schmidt

Anne Prenner Schmidt uses her acute business acumen to guide individuals through the complex division of retirement plans in family law matters.  She is a skilled mediator and uses alternative dispute resolution competences to protect clients’ retirement assets. Her previous experience designing large group plans makes her uniquely qualified to handle the most intricate of cases, and she works with clients to design and implement strategies that best fit their needs. 

Schmidt’s experience in these areas is reinforced by her LLM in Employee Benefits, which she obtained while working for the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, where she focused on fiduciary correction matters and was responsible for auditing VFCP applications. Schmidt also is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, where she teaches legal writing for employee benefits. She also is a Lake County child representative and guardian ad litem, mediator and collaboratively trained attorney.  

Prior to focusing on non-litigated family law, Schmidt focused her practice on compliance of employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements. She frequently advised clients on Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, HIPAA, COBRA, the Affordable Care Act and other federal statutes. She also focused her practice on plan design and drafting, preparing determination letter applications, SPDs, amendments, plan administrative procedures, plan operation, mergers, QDROs, domestic partner coverage, reporting requirements and fiduciary liability.

Jennifer Bennett Shinall

At Vanderbilt Law School, Professor Jennifer Bennett Shinall teaches Employment Discrimination Law and Employment Law, and for the PhD Program in Law and Economics, she teaches Labor Markets and Human Resources and the PhD Workshop.  Her research, which has been published in peer-reviewed economic journals and law journals, focuses on discrimination, particularly in the areas of gender and disability.  It examines how obesity, pregnancy and health status more generally affect labor market outcomes, and it considers how these effects may differ by gender and how the legal system can address any observed disparities. 

Shinall was the first graduate of the PhD program in Law and Economics at Vanderbilt University. Before returning to Vanderbilt as a postdoctoral research scholar in law and economics in 2013, she was a clerk for Judge John Tinder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Shinall earned an AB in economics and history from Harvard University and her JD and PhD from Vanderbilt University, where she served as senior articles editor for Vanderbilt Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. 

Mario Ventrelli_crop

Founding partner of boutique law firm Ventrelli Simon LLC, Mario Ventrelli is an experienced lawyer who has dedicated his entire 27-year career to helping his family law clients move forward successfully after divorce.  While his primary practice is in Lake and Cook counties, he regularly handles cases in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Winnebago, McHenry and Will counties.

Ventrelli has been selected as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America by the Naifeh & Smith publication each year since 2010.  He also has been named a Super Lawyer, a Super Lawyer Rising Star and an Illinois Leading Lawyer each year since 2008.  Ventrelli also is an adjunct professor at DePaul University College of Law and a faculty member of the prestigious American Bar Association Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute, where he teaches other family law attorneys around the nation the skills necessary to be successful in the courtroom. 

Tanya Witt

Tanya Witt is an experienced attorney and litigator handling high stakes divorce cases in Chicago and the surrounding counties.  She regularly represents business owners in family law litigation and has represented a retired NFL player, provided strategic consulting on a multi-billion-dollar divorce, and successfully represented numerous other high net worth individuals.  

Witt’s cases have involved parties or assets in Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Peru and Scotland.  She also filed the first contested same-sex dissolution of civil union case in DuPage County, Illinois.  Prior to founding her own practice, she practiced law in the Chicago office of Baker & McKenzie, one of the world’s largest international law firms.

She is a member of the Family Law Section Council for the Illinois State Bar Association and a member of the ARDC Committee for the Illinois State Bar Association.  She writes the “Owning the Practice” column for Chicago Lawyer Magazine, and she has lectured in continuing legal education courses provided by several bar associations.  Witt also is a past board member of the Harvard Law Society of Illinois.  

Witt is a certified mediator and trained in collaborative law.  She received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and her law degree from Harvard Law School.