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

Presenters

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Kelly Behre

Kelly Behre has more than 15 years of experience working with victims of domestic and sexual violence and is the director of the UC Davis Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic, which provides free civil legal assistance to low-income victims of intimate partner violence in Yolo County, California.

Previously, Ms. Behre developed a Domestic and Sexual Assault Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law and taught Family Law and Professional Responsibility as a visiting associate professor. From 2009-2011, she was acting director of the Domestic Violence Law Clinic and visiting assistant professor of clinical legal education at the University of Alabama School of Law. Ms. Behre also served as a staff attorney at the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and at the Sexual Assault Legal Institute of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Ms. Behre has published scholarly works on pro bono work and family law issues, and she has provided trainings to legal professionals and advocacy groups on domestic and sexual violence law, legal education issues and public interest law. She earned her JD from Washington and Lee University and her bachelor’s degree from Emory University.

Andrea Belard

Andrea Belard is the supervising attorney for the domestic violence team at the Legal Aid Society (LAS), which is the legal advocacy arm of Metropolitan Family Services. There, she provides legal advice and representation to clients seeking a dissolution of marriage.  Prior to joining LAS, Ms. Belard worked at a small private practice where she focused on complex divorce and custody matters.

Ms. Belard is the current treasurer for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI), president of HLAI Charities and a past member of DePaul’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center advisory board. She received her JD from DePaul College of Law, where she also received a Certificate in Family Law. Ms. Belard received her BA from Northeastern Illinois University where she majored in Business Administration.

Hon. Rhonda Bruno

Hon. Rhonda Bruno is an associate judge in Lake County, Illinois.  Prior to being appointed judge in July 2020, Judge Bruno worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, Illinois, from 1985 to 1990 and as an assistant state’s attorney in Lake County, Illinois, from 1990 to 2001.  In Lake County, she supervised the Misdemeanor, Traffic and Domestic Violence Division, where she specialized in child abuse, reckless homicide and domestic abuse cases.  In 2001, Judge Bruno went into private practice focusing on criminal, family law, DCFS, and juvenile cases, as well as guardian ad litem civil and criminal cases.  She also served as special counsel for the Public Defender’s Office between 2001 and 2020.  

Lindsay B. Coleman, Owner/Attorney Coleman Law, P.C.

Lindsay B. Coleman is the founding owner and principle attorney of Coleman Law, P.C. Lindsay practices law in the areas of domestic relations and criminal law in Cook County and Lake County. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, she received her Juris Doctorate degree from University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law and BA from Miami University. Lindsay is a certified mediator, Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representative, and a Collaborative Law Fellow. In addition to practicing law, Lindsay serves on a handful of board of directors and volunteers her time on pro bono legal services and with charitable work close to her heart.  Lindsay is a founding member of the Force of Lawyers Against Sexual Harassment.  

Dr. Sonya Crabtree-Nelson

Dr. Sonya Crabtree-Nelson is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work at DePaul University and has over 15 years of direct practice experience working in the areas of child welfare and domestic violence. Dr. Crabtree-Nelson’s research focuses on domestic violence, trauma and resiliency, and she has presented at national and international conferences and published articles in peer-reviewed journals on these topics. She received her PhD in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago and her MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work.

Megan Goldish

Judge Megan Goldish was elected to the Bench in 2014. She currently sits in the Cook County Domestic Violence Division, where she hears criminal, civil, felony and misdemeanor cases, as well as conducts numerous hearings involving orders of protection and other types of restraining orders. Prior to ascending to the bench, Judge Goldish was a Cook County assistant state’s attorney for approximately 17 years, where she was the supervising attorney of the WINGS treatment court call. She has litigated hundreds of cases, argued before the appellate court, and has served as a first-chair, supervising felony courtrooms. She was one of the first assistant state's attorneys in the then newly-established Cook Count Domestic Violence Division. For the last decade, she has been an adjunct faculty member at her alma mater, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and she recently was appointed an adjunct faculty member at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Judge Goldish has been a featured speaker and panelist for a number of organizations, including Women in Comedy (for events geared at battling sexism in the workplace), the Woman’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Chicago Bar Association, DePaul Law School and the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign. She regularly speaks to classes and presents numerous continuing legal education programs to lawyers about domestic violence.

  

 Brendan Hammer

Brendan Hammer is a partner with Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP. He is an experienced and acclaimed trial lawyer in the field of family law, widely praised for his creative and psychologically sophisticated approach to litigation.  Mr. Hammer represents a wide variety of individuals, from executives, entrepreneurs, and medical, legal and creative professionals to political figures, professional athletes and their spouses. He concentrates his practice on the litigation of sophisticated family law matters including high conflict parenting disputes, the valuation and division of assets, fraud and dissipation claims, complex compensation structures, spousal challenges to trust and estate plans, and high net worth maintenance and child support.  Mr. Hammer also is a well-regarded presenter and teacher who speaks, educates and publishes on various trial-related matters including cross-examination, evidence, the performance aspects of litigation, trial techniques and oral argument. 

Hon Victoria M. Kennison

Hon. Victoria M. Kennison is an associate judge on the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, appointed to this position in September 2011.  During her tenure on the bench, Judge Kennison has concentrated in the area of domestic violence, issuing thousands of orders of protection on behalf of victims. She also served as interim presiding judge of the Criminal Misdemeanor Division in 2017 where she was responsible for leading the numerous misdemeanor courtrooms in Will County, Illinois.

Dr. Dorothy Kozlowski

Dr. Dorothy Kozlowski is a Vincent de Paul professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience at DePaul University. Her teaching and research focuses on neuroscience. Specifically, Dr. Kozlowski’s lab uses animal models to study how the brain tries to repair itself following traumatic brain injury through neuroplasticity and why repeat concussions result in long-term neurological deficits. Her research has been published in a variety of journals and book chapters, and she has received support from the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Defense. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Kozlowski offers concussion education presentations to youth in the Chicago area in order to teach young athletes about the symptoms of concussion and how to play sports safely. She also is actively working on bringing attention to the role concussions play in victims of domestic and interpersonal violence.

Hon. Maritza Martinez
Judge Maritza Martinez currently presides over cases in the Domestic Relations Division of the Cook County Circuit Court.  She previously presided over cases brought before the Cook County Circuit Court in the First Municipal District, the Traffic Section, the Felony Preliminary Hearings Section, the Misdemeanor Section, the Non-Jury Civil Section and the Forcible Entry and Detainer Section.  
 
For the 25 years prior to becoming a judge, Judge Martinez tried both criminal and civil matters in both the federal and state courts.  She managed complex, heavy caseloads that often alleged catastrophic losses of paralysis or death, in both private practice and during her 13 years of public service.  Her defense of City of Chicago employees and officials included litigation alleging civil rights and constitutional violations, discrimination, wrongful death and intentional torts.  She also prosecuted municipal ordinance violations for Chicago’s departments of police, revenue, health, consumer services, environment, streets and sanitation, and animal care and control.  During her last seven years of private practice, Judge Martinez also served as a commissioner at the Illinois Court of Claims where she presided over claims brought against the State of Illinois.
 
Judge Martinez earned both her BA and JD from Loyola University Chicago.
Amelia Mindthoff

Dr. Amelia Mindthoff earned her PhD from Florida International University in 2020 and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Iowa State University, collaborating with Dr. Christian Meissner in the Applied Cognition Lab. Dr. Mindthoff’s research primarily focuses on applying psychological principles to address issues in the investigative interviewing and legal domains, and her research topics include: policing as related to investigations (e.g., investigative interviewing, interrogations and related evidence-based training); juror perceptions and decision-making regarding various topics such as interrogations and forensic evidence; and judicial assessments. Her findings have been published in academic journals, and several of her projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Psychology-Law Society. Dr. Mindthoff’s overall goal is to conduct research that can equip law enforcement and legal actors with the tools that can help them achieve their objectives. 

Marcellus H. Moore, Jr.

Marcellus Moore is a dedicated child advocate and serves as a Cook County guardian ad litem and child representative. He has represented several hundred children in divorce cases throughout Cook County and is passionate about understanding and pursuing what is in a their best interests.  Moore has had a distinguished career in both law and business since receiving his JD and MBA from Northwestern University.  Moore has over 20 years of combined business and legal knowledge and experience, having served as vice president of global real estate companies, as well as practicing at a small, private law firm.

Danielle Parisi Ruffatto

Danielle Parisi Ruffatto is director of emergency services at Ascend Justice where she manages all aspects of the agency’s services related to orders of protection.  Prior to this role, she served as director of pro bono and training, having originally joined Ascend Justice as a staff attorney, representing clients in order of protection, divorce and family law cases. 

Before joining Ascend Justice, Ms. Parisi Ruffatto served initially as a staff attorney and then executive director of First Defense Legal Aid. In those roles, she represented low-income clients who were arrested or detained, trained and supervised volunteer attorneys, wrote grants, and managed a variety of executive projects.  Ms. Parisi Ruffatto received a BA, with honors, from DePaul University and her JD from the University of Illinois. She currently represents the 12th District on the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues. She also serves as a volunteer content contributor for Illinois Legal Aid Online, as a member of the St. Robert Bellarmine Parish Domestic Violence Ministry, and as a member Neighbors for Affordable Housing.

Professor D. Kelly Weisberg

Professor D. Kelly Weisberg has been a faculty member at University of California Hastings College of Law for more than 35 years.  She teaches courses on family law, domestic violence, stalking, juvenile justice, children and the law, and wills and trusts. Since 2013, she has served as editor of Domestic Violence Report, a national newsletter on domestic violence law and policy. In that role, she was awarded the 2021 Hope Rising Journalism Award at the 21st Annual International Family Justice Center Conference. The award recognizes those who have helped advance awareness, training and policy change around domestic and sexual violence, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking. 

Professor Weisberg is the author of several law review articles and books on family law and domestic violence, including:  MODERN FAMILY LAW; CASES AND MATERIALS (Wolters Kluwer, 7th ed., 2020), DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW (West Academic Pub. Co. 2019) and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: LEGAL AND SOCIAL REALITY (Wolters Kluwer, 2nd ed., 2019). She is also a liaison to the ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.  

Professor Weisberg received her undergraduate degree, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in Sociology and French Literature, and her PhD in Sociology from Brandeis University, and she received her JD from the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

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