College of Law > Academics > Centers, Institutes & Initiatives > Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center > Events

Events

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center is dedicated to providing multidisciplinary programming that expands students’ substantive knowledge and deepens their understanding of the field and practice of family law.

Each year the Center attracts nationally recognized scholars, practitioners, judges, and other professionals to share their insights at its annual Family Law Symposium, various lunch & learns, and distinguished lecture programs open to students and the family law community.  The Center hosts these events to provide an opportunity for students to learn about best practices as well as new and emerging topics within family law. Additionally, these events allow students unique opportunities to connect and speak with leading family law practitioners from both the public and private sectors about the practice of family law.

Upcoming Events


​​Past Events

Annual Family Law Symposium  Yours, Mine or Ours:  Cutting Edge Issues in Marital Asset Distribution (November 3, 2022)

2022 symposium

This year's Family Law Symposium centered on gaining a deeper understanding of financial asset and debt allocation in divorce cases.  Prof. Jennifer Bennett Shinall of Vanderbilt Law School was the Symposium Keynote Speaker and focused her presentation on implicit and explicit gender bias in marital asset division.  Following Prof. Bennett Shinall’s presentation, various experts in the field discussed the following financial issues with respect to divorce and separations:  drafting strong financial affidavits (presented by Mario Ventrelli of Ventrelli Simon LLC); the art and science of business valuations (presented by Jennifer Fletchall of The Fletchall Group LLC); qualified and non-qualified retirement plans (presented by Anne Prenner Schmidt of The Law Office of Anne Schmidt LLC and Jennifer Fletchall of The Fletchall Group LLC); understanding the tax implications in divorces (presented by Patrick Ryan of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLC); cryptocurrency and dissipation (presented by Tanya Witt of The Witt Law Firm, PC); dividing copyrights between spouses in the U.S. and internationally (presented by Tal Itkin of Tal Itkin Law Firm and Harry Radzyner Law School at Reichman University, Israel); mediating marital asset and debt allocation (presented by Kimberly Cook of Dovetail Conflict Resolution); and tracking family expenses post-separation (presented by Danielle Kestnbaum of Our Family Wizard – the Symposium’s sponsor). 


SBA Diversity Week’s Conversation about The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (November 2, 2022)

children in circle image

The SDF Family Law Center sponsored the SBA’s Diversity Week program on the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) with Ryann Unabia (Indian Child Welfare Specialist at IL’s Dept. of Children and Family Services) and Alexandra Payan (Federal Relation Manager at National Council of Urban Indian Health) who discussed the importance of ICWA and the impact of repelling ICWA by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Child & Family Law Association Judge Panel (November 2, 2022)

The SDF Family Law Center sponsored DePaul’s Child & Family Law Association’s Judge Q&A panel where students were able to meet with judges and ask questions about their paths and practice.        


Seventh Annual Attorney & Student Legal Answers Pro Bono Family Law & Housing Clinic (October 28, 2022)

clinic

The SDF Family Law Center partnered with the Center for Public Interest Law and the Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative to host its seventh annual Attorney & Student Legal Answers Pro Bono Family Law & Housing Clinic with Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI).  Attorneys and law students participated in the clinic and worked together to research and answer family law and housing questions posted on PILI’s Legal Answers website. 


Child & Family Law Association Attorney Q&A (October 20, 2022)

The SDF Family Law Center sponsored DePaul’s Child & Family Law Association’s Attorney Q&A panel where students were able to meet with attorneys and ask questions about their paths and practice.


Cook County Child Protection Division Information Session (October 17, 2022)

Cook County Panel

Several students met with the following Assistant State’s Attorneys from the Cook County State's Attorney's Child Protection Division to learn more about their externship program and postgraduate positions: Robert RodemeyerGina Crumble, Carrie Wells, Shawn Eddings Levesque, and Tolulope Tepede


Skill Series: Interviewing Clients & Intake Training (September 13, 20, & 27 2022)

The SDF Family Law Center partnered with the Center for Public Interest Law and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) to help students gain an understanding of the process of conducting a productive client interview by gathering all important information and organizing that information into a well-drafted case memo for attorney review.  Thirteen student volunteers attended the training series.  Following the trainings, students conducted actual client interviews at CVLS and drafted case memorandum for CVLS attorneys to review over the remainder of the semester. 


DePaul’s 2022 Family Law Welcome Reception with the Child & Family Law Association and Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center Advisory Board Members (September 7, 2022)

2022 Welcome Reception

Each year, the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center hosts a Family Law Welcome Reception in the beginning of the fall semester to kick off the year.  This year, it was well attended by our family law students as well as practitioners in the Chicago legal community.  As always, this reception remains a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the start of our academic year, learn more about the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and the Child & Family Law Association’s annual programs, as well as network. 


Protecting your Pet in Domestic Violence Cases Webinar (February 17, 2022)

Protecting Your Pet

As part of Animal Protection Awareness Week, the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and Center for Animal Law cosponsored a live webinar to over 50 attendees about protecting pets in domestic violence cases.  Dr. Rhonda DeLong (DePaul University College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences) addressed how pets connect to their families, how pets are impacted by domestic violence in the house, and how survivors of domestic violence are treated as pet owners when going to shelters.


Pet Allocation in Divorce and Separation Cases  (February 14, 2022)

pet allocation

Animal Protection Awareness Week started with attorneys Tania K. Harvey and Heather Smith Grattan talking with 11 family law students about the topic of pet allocation in divorces and separation cases.  This program was co-sponsored by The Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and the Center for Animal Law. 


Donate-a-Day at a local Animal Shelter (February 2, 2022)

Donate a Day cropped

Nine student volunteers spent the afternoon helping make toys for animals temporarily living at a Chicago animal shelter.  This event was co-sponsored by DePaul’s Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center, and Center for Animal Law as part of Animal Protection Awareness Week.  


CFLA Speed Networking Event  (January 31, 2022)

cfa

The SDF Family Law Center sponsored DePaul’s Child & Family Law Association’s annual Speed Networking Event where approximately 25 students were able to connect in small groups with 10 family law attorneys in the Chicagoland area. 


5th Annual Family Law Summer Internshp Fair  (January 27, 2022)

flc internship fair

Advisory Board Member Boye Akinwande (Cook County Office of the Public Guardian), Mitch Dean (The Law Office of Jonathan Merel, P.C.), Kerry Hamill (Cook County Office of the Public Guardian), Brad Kaye (The Law Office of Jonathan Merel, P.C.), Advisory Board Member Marcellus Moore (Child Advocate Law Group), Advisory Board Member Nicole Onorato (Beattie Freeman Onorato Family Law Group), Kimberly Washington (Ascend Justice), Paige Zilinskas (The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC), and past Advisory Board Member David Zwaska (The Law Office of Jonathan Merel, P.C.) met with over 20 family law students to talk about their work and their individual offices.  After each employer briefly presented, law students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with each presenter, all of whom are actively hiring students for the summer. 


Child & Family Law Association Associate-Alumni Panel (November 16, 2021)

panel

The SDF Family Law Center sponsored DePaul’s Child & Family Law Association’s Associate-Alumni Panel where recent DePaul alumni discussed their life after graduation. 


Sixth Annual Attorney & Student Legal Answers Pro Bono Family Law & Housing Clinic (October 29, 2021)

The SDF Family Law Center partnered with the Center for Public Interest Law and the Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative to host its sixth annual Attorney & Student Legal Answers Pro Bono Family Law & Housing Clinic with Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI).  Attorneys and law students participated in the clinic and worked together to research and answer family law and housing questions posted on PILI’s Legal Answers website. 


Child & Family Law Association Attorney Q&A (October 28, 2021)

The SDF Family Law Center sponsored DePaul’s Child & Family Law Association’s Attorney Q&A panel where students were able to meet with attorneys and ask questions about their paths and practice. 


Annual Family Law Symposium - A Deep Dive into Domestic Violence Representation (October 7 & 8, 2021)

flc symposium

This year’s two-day Family Law Symposium centered on the premise that 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 cutting-edge 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).  

Video link to Day 1 - Oct. 7, 2021

Video link to Day 2 - Oct. 8, 2021


Skill Series: Interviewing Clients & Intake Training (September 27 & October 4, 2021)

The SDF Family Law Center partnered with the Center for Public Interest Law and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) to help students gain an understanding of the process of conducting a productive client interview by gathering all important information and organizing that information into a well-drafted case memo for attorney review.  Thirteen student volunteers attended the training series.  Following the trainings, students conducted actual client interviews at CVLS and drafted case memorandum for CVLS attorneys to review over the remainder of the semester. 


Cook County Child Protection Division Information Session (September 21, 2021)

info session

Several students met with the following Assistant State’s Attorneys from the Cook County State's Attorney's Child Protection Division to learn more about their externship program and postgraduate positions:  Mary Joly, Robert Rodemeyer, Gina Crumble, and Shawn Eddings Levesque.


Annual Family Law Welcome Reception (September 1, 2021)

annual welcome reception

Each year, the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center hosts a Family Law Welcome Reception in the beginning of the fall semester to kick off the year.  This year, it was well attended by our family law students as well as practitioners in the Chicago legal community.  As always, this reception remains a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the start of our academic year, learn more about the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and the Child & Family Law Association’s annual programs, as well as network.  

Using Tech to Help Family Law Clients Struggling with Alcohol Addiction (April 7, 2021)

soberlink

Mike Fonseca (Soberlink) and Danielle Kestnbaum (Our Family Wizard) presented to DePaul family law students and the legal community on the important topic of how modern technology can help parties going through a divorce or separation while struggling with alcohol addiction. Both students and attorneys learned not only about the tech aspect, but also how to best advise clients when alcohol addiction, trust, and communication issues arise in a case.


Planning for the Future: Medical and Legal Components of End of Life Decisions (March 1, 2021)

Mitha Rao (Rao Legal, LLC) and Dr. Anuj Shah (Heartland Health Centers) met with our students and legal community to provide a thought-provoking discussion on the importance of estate planning and incapacity planning.  They also talked about challenges health care providers face when treating patients without decision making capacity and no estate plans in place. The SDF Family Law Center co-hosted this event with the Jaharis Health Law Institute.


FLC Mental Health and Self-Care Week (February 19, 2021)

Friday, February 19, 2021 12pm-1pm
Mental Health & Self-Care Week:  Yoga Class

The Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center’s Mental Health & Self-Care Week ended with our students taking a yoga class taught by Unfold Yoga & Wellness, LLC. 
 
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 12pm-1pm
Mental Health & Self-Care Week:  Cognition, Emotion, and the Legal Practice

DePaul Law's Centennial Professor of Law Emeritus Susan Bandes, a widely known as a scholar in the areas of federal jurisdiction, criminal procedure and civil rights, and more recently, as a pioneer in the emerging study of the role of emotion in law, spoke with our family law students, faculty, staff, and the legal community about how to understand and use one’s own emotions to become a better family law practitioner.  Additionally, she discussed her findings in her paper "Feeling and Thinking Like a Lawyer: What Cognitive Science Tells Us about Cognition, Emotion, and Legal Practice," which will be published in the Fordham Law Review in 2021.
Monday, February 15, 2021 12pm-1pm
Mental Health & Self-Care Week:  Meditation 101

Brendan Hammer (Partner at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck and Chair of the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center's Advisory Board) spoke with our family law students and legal community on the mindful practice of meditation, the various techniques of meditation, and tips on how to meditate efficiently.

4th Annual Family Law Summer Internship Fair (January 28, 2021)

4th annual internship fair

Boye Akinwande (Cook County Office of the Public Guardian), Advisory Board Member Andrea Belard (Legal Aid Society), Gina Crumble (Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney’s Office – Juvenile Justice Bureau), Patrick Ryan (Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP), Trina Smith (Cook County Public Defender – Juvenile Justice Division), and Advisory Board Member Erin Wilson (The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC) met with close to 30 family law students to talk about their work and their individual offices.  After each attorney briefly presented, law students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one in breakout rooms with these attorneys who are actively hiring students for the summer.


Child Protection 101 (December 2, 2020)

child protection 101

Maryam Ahmad (Chief of the Juvenile Justice Bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office) joined our family law students for an engaging virtual lunch on child protection with respect to custody/temporary custody, adjudication, dispositional hearings, and termination of parental rights.  She also discussed how COVID has impacted screening child protection related matters. 


5th Annual Attorney and Student Legal Answers Pro Bono Family Law and Housing Clinic (October 30, 2020)

The SDF Family Law Center partnered with the Center for Public Interest Law and the Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative to host its fifth annual Attorney & Student Legal Answers Pro Bono Family Law & Housing Clinic with Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI).  Thirteen law students and nine attorneys participated in the clinic day and worked together to research and answer family law and housing questions posted on PILI’s Legal Answers website.  By the end of the clinic, the attorney/student pro bono teams answered twenty-four legal questions on a variety of issues submitted by low income Illinois residents lacking legal representation. The students enjoyed working closely with the attorneys and gained invaluable hands-on experience in family law, as well as advice and tips for breaking into the field.  The attorneys enjoyed the experience because they were able to engage in pro bono work while at the same time mentoring and supporting aspiring family law students.  Four of the students and two of the attorneys who participated continued to answer questions in partnership after this clinic.

Parentage Under Illinois Law (October 21, 2020)

parentage

SDF Family Law Advisory Board Member Colleen Breems (Lavelle Law, Ltd.) returned to DePaul to present her third annual talk on parentage cases to DePaul’s family law students.  She covered everything from the birth of the child, the initial filing, determining parentage, as well as entering a final child support order and parenting time order.


Annual Family Law Symposium - The Current State of Elder Law (October 13, 2020)

living trust

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.


Domestic Violence During COVID19 (September 24, 2020)

covid

Advisory Board Member Danielle Parisi Ruffatto (Ascend Justice), Loren Gutierrez (Legal Aid Society), and Renata Stiehl (Metropolitan Family Services) joined our students and the legal community for a discussion on how COVID-19 has impacted domestic violence advocacy, what it's like to practice in this area now, and the legal community's response to the pandemic.  This event was co-hosted by DePaul's Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and Center for Public Interest Law.


2020 Annual Family Law Welcome Reception (September 3, 2020)

zoom

Each year, the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center hosts a Family Law Welcome Reception in the beginning of the fall semester to kick off the year.  This year, our event was virtual for the first time ever and it was well attended by 49 of our family law students as well as practitioners in the Chicago legal community.  As always, this reception remains a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the start of our academic year, learn more about the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and the Child & Family Law Association’s annual programs, as well as network.


Family Law Center's 4th Annual Legal Answers Clinic (March 6, 2020)

clinic

The SDF Family Law Center partnered with the Center for Public Interest Law and the Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative to host its fourth annual Alumni & Student Legal Answers Free Legal Answers Clinic with Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI).  Law students and attorneys participated in the clinic day and worked together in eight different teams to research and answer family law questions posted on PILI’s Legal Answers website.  By the end of the clinic, the attorney/student pro bono teams answered over fifty legal questions on a variety of issues submitted by low income Illinois residents lacking legal representation. The students enjoyed working closely with the attorneys and gained invaluable hands-on experience in family law, as well as advice and tips for breaking into the field.  The attorneys enjoyed the experience because they were able to engage in pro bono work while at the same time mentoring and supporting aspiring family law students. 


Violence Awareness Week (February 10-14, 2020)

violence awareness week

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. Domestic violence impacts everyone regardless of demographics. The SDF Family Law Center dedicated this week to raising awareness around campus on this important issue.  Kathleen Degnan of 606 Karate started the week with a self-defense class over the lunch hour.  Students, faculty, and staff learned and practiced how to protect themselves in case of an attack.  Rise from the Ashes co-founders Stephanie A. & Michael Biederstadt talked with our students about domestic violence and the important work their organization is doing for victims of domestic violence.  Stephanie also shared her powerful story as a survivor of domestic violence.  The week ended with several law students volunteering at one of WINGS’ domestic violence shelters on Chicago’s south side. These students spent Valentine’s Day preparing dinner for the residents and donated several boxes of toiletries that were collected throughout the week at DePaul in collaboration with DePaul’s Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative and Women of Color Collective.


3rd Annual Family Law Summer Internship Fair (January 29, 2020)

3rd annual internship fair

Boye Akinwande (Cook County Office of the Public Guardian), Michael Alvarado (Davis Friedman), Advisory Board Member Andrea Belard (Legal Aid Society), Gina Crumble (Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney’s Office – Juvenile Justice Bureau), Trina Smith (Cook County Public Defender – Juvenile Justice Division), Erin Wilson (The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC), and Advisory Board Member David Zwaska (Dussias Wittenberg Koenigsberger) met with our law students to talk about their work and their individual offices.  After each attorney briefly presented, law students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these attorneys who were actively hiring students for the summer.  Students brought their resumes and made connections, some of which resulted in 2020 summer law clerk positions.