| Practice Description: |
Mr. Gitlin's law firm, The Gitlin Law Firm, is exclusively devoted to family law cases including complex divorce litigation. Mr. Gitlin practices primarily in the following counties: McHenry County, Lake County, Kane County, Illinois.
Gitlin has been a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1996. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers consists of the top 1,500 family law attorneys in the United States and Canada. Appointment to the Academy requires passage of written and oral examinations.
He is a frequent lecturer to family lawyers both statewide and nationally. He was named by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education as one of five family lawyers for their 21st Century Master Teacher's Project. Mr. Gitlin was the co-dean of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers' Institute for Matrimonial Law Associates from 1999 through 2002. This is a national program in which fellows of the academy send associates with several years of experience for education and training on family law issues.
Notable Cases and Results:
IRMO Brackett, 309 Ill. App. 3d 329, 242 Ill.Dec. 798, 722 N.E.2d 287 (2nd Dist. 1999). Case of first impression in Illinois prohibiting a maintenance award in lieu of a property interest in a pension plan. This case was a significant case addressing the issue of rehabilitative versus permanent maintenance. Finally, it was one of the first Illinois cases on the subject of the "Leveling the Playing Field" legislation as applied to divorce cases.
State of Illinois, 1987
Varies upon case
Year of Birth: 1962
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D.
Schiller, DuCanto and Fleck, 1987-1988; associate
Gitlin & Burns, 1988-1991; associate,
Gitlin & Gitlin, Woodstock, Illinois, 1991-2002; partner
The Gitlin Law Firm, 2002-present; owner
Bar/Professional Association Involvement:
Co-editor, American Bar Association Family Law Section's Fax News Update, 1999-2003
Chairman, McHenry County Bar Association Legal Aid Committee, 1993 to 1996
Member, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Continuing Legal Education and Admissions Procedures Committees, 1997 to 2001
Institute for Matrimonial Law Associates, 1998-2003
Family that Practices Family Law Together Committee, 2000-2001
Co-Dean, Institute for Matrimonial Law Associates, 1999-2000; 2000-2001; 2001-2002
Illinois Chapter American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Board of Directors, 1997-2003
Chairman, New Case Law Committee, 1997-1998; 2001-2002
Member, Continuing Legal Education Committee, 1998-2001
Legislation and Lobbying Committee, 1998-1999
Member, McHenry County, Lake County, Kane County, Illinois State and American Bar Associations
Published Legal Writing:
Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education's Illinois Family Law Practice Handbook; co-author, chapter on business valuation, 2000 edition
"Appellate Review in Domestic Relations Cases: The Elusive Final and Appealable Order," Illinois Bar Journal, August 2000. Vol. 88, No. 8; co-author with Chris S. Haaff.
"Post-Eckert Trends in Child Removal: A Review of Appellate Cases," Illinois Bar Journal, February 1996; co-author
Contributing author to "Gitlin on Divorce - Case Reports," 1988 to-, and Gitlin on Divorce: A Guide to Illinois Matrimonial Law, 1997-; comment in Gitlin on Divorce cited with approval in IRMO Wisniewski, 675 N.E.2d 1362, Gitlin on Divorce Reports, 4th Dist. 1997
"Leveling of the Playing Field Statute" and forms supplement to Gitlin on Divorce: A Guide to Illinois Matrimonial Law, 1998
"QILDRO Legislation" supplement to Gitlin on Divorce: A Guide to Illinois Matrimonial Law, 1998
"Division of Retirement Benefits -- Portions of Plans Constituting Marital and Non-Marital Property" supplement to Gitlin on Divorce: A Guide to Illinois Matrimonial Law, 1998
"Notices for Income Withhold Statute" and forms supplement to Gitlin on Divorce: A Guide to Illinois Matrimonial Law, 1998
"Business Valuation in Divorce - What is Double-Dipping and How is it Quantified?" American Journal of Family Law, Volume 11, Number 2, summer 1997. Cited in bibliography in Valuing Small Business & Professional Practices, third edition, 1998, marital dissolution chapter
"Bull Market Raises Stakes in Marital Property Splits," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Lawyer's Forum, August 23, 1999 and August 24, 1999; two-part article
Chapter author, "Tax and Financial Planning Strategies in Divorce," Business Valuation in Divorce, second edition by Bruce Richman.
Gitlin's extensive experience lecturing statewide and nationally includes:
Faculty -- American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Institute for Training New Lawyers
Chicago Illinois Program: Pension Plans and Drafting of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders; Business Valuation 101/102; Use of Spreadsheets and Other tools for the Family Lawyer
2002, Chicago, Illinois Program: Pension Plans and Drafting of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. Co-chairman for 2002 program
2001, Chicago, Illinois Program: Business Valuation 101/102 (a primer on business valuation issues in divorce cases). co-chairman for 2001 program
2000, Chicago, Illinois Program: Preparation for Trial Preparation: The Trial Notebook. Co-chairman for 2000 program
1999, Fort Worth, Texas Program: Presentation for Trial Preparation: Preparing the Client for Mediation and Custody Evaluation
1997, Chicago, Illinois Program: Presentation for "Common Assets Program"
Retirement Benefits and How to Effectively Draft QDROs; and Business Valuation Primer
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers: HotTips from the Experts - Sanibel, Florida, March 4, 2002 Program
"Minority Interest Discounts and Lack of Marketability Discounts - 101"
Law Education Institute, Inc & BNA Books, National CLE Conferences - Colorado:
"QDROs 102: A Primer on Advanced Issues Re QDROs - Drafting and Qualification," January 2003 conference, Aspen, Colorado.
"Business Evaluation Premiums and Discounts," January 2001 conference, Vail, Colorado.
"Preparing the Client for Mediation and the Custody Evaluation: Understanding How Psychologists Use the MMPI-2 in Custody Evaluations," January 1999 conference, Vail, Colorado.
Illinois Chapter American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Matrimonial Law Update to DuPage County Family Law Section
"The Revolution that Wasn't - Leveling Two Years Later," October 7, 1999
Northwest Suburban Bar Association:
"Removal Trends: An Analysis and Update of Original Illinois Bar Journal Article regarding Removal," January 25, 1999.
Written materials used for presentation on joint custody including updated article by Gitlin reviewing each Illinois appellate court case involving an award of joint custody and joint parenting agreement of the Gitlin Law Firm, 2003
Winnebago Bar Association
"Child Support Presentation - New Legislation Re Child Support and Income Withholding," joint presentation with Dennis Casty of FinPlan, November 16, 1999.
"Trends in Maintenance Award: The Trend Toward Reviewable Maintenance and Permanent Maintenance," and "Trends in Custody Cases: A Comprehensive Analysis Joint Versus Sole Custody Awards," April 20, 1999.
Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education:
Friday, April 4, 2003, Urbana, Illinois and Wednesday, April 9, 2003, Chicago - UBS Tower: "Jurisdictional Issues in Divorce - Jurisdiction and Venue; UCCJA/UCCJEA/PKPA; and Personal Jurisdiction Versus Subject Matter Jurisdiction in Divorce"
Master Teacher Program: "Child Support and Maintenance: Using the Law, the Facts and Savvy Planing to Get the Best Awards for Your Clients," January 23, 2003, Chicago. Full day program presented by Gunnar J. Gitlin - "Master Teacher." Additional full day program presented in Champaign/Urbana in November, 2002, and in Chicago in December, 2002
"Case Law Update 2001 to 2002 and Trends in Illinois Family Law Cases," April 2002, Chicago and Springfield for "First Annual Family Law Conference"
One of five Illinois family lawyers selected as master teacher for the Twenty-First Century Master Teacher Project by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Educations, June 2000
Moderator of key issues in child custody seminar, Springfield and Chicago. Lecturer, "Preparing Your Client for Mediation and Custody Evaluation," March 13, 1998, and March 25, 1998
"The Shrinking of Child Custody Cases: The Use of Mental Health Experts - Preparing Your Client for the Contested Custody Case," Springfield, 1996
Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, drafting of marital settlement agreements workshops
Third Chicago program, February 24, 2000
Springfield program, March 25, 1999
Second Chicago program, February 26, 1999
First Chicago program, November 20, 1998
Litigation Issues 1997, Business Valuation Case Law Update, 1997
DePaul University Graduate School of Taxation
"An Overview of Recent Business Valuation Cases and Issues in Divorce," February 17, 1997
Illinois State Bar Association, Family Law Section, "Leveling the Playing Field Legislation - Contribution Petitions and Final Fee Hearings," mid-year meeting 1997
American Bar Association, Family Law Section, "Hot Tips by the Experts" program: "Key Books in Every Divorce Lawyer's Library," mid-year meeting 1997
Numerous presentations for the Illinois Chapter American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, including:
Case law update 2002, April, 2002
Case law Update 2002, February, 2002
Financial Matters in Divorce 2002: "Business Valuation Discounts and Other Issues Affecting Valuation of Closely Held Businesses," January, 2002
"Top Cases Year 2000," November 7, 2000
"Treatment of Depreciation and Business Expenses in Determining Net Income According to the Child Support"
"Venue in Divorce Cases: What is Residency," June 2, 1998
"Top Ten Cases 1998 - A Case Law Review 1998"
"Qualified Domestic Relations Orders and the Department of Labor's QDRO Handbook; Analysis of the Marriage of Wenc Decision and Issues in Drafting QDROs Regarding Defined Benefit Plans," May 5, 1998
"Joint Custody in Illinois/1998 Tax Worksheets," February 3, 1998
"Top 10 1997 Cases," January 1998
"Maintenance and Property Spreadsheets: An Analysis of Illinois Case Law," December 1997.
McHenry County Bar Association: Numerous presentations from 1990 to 2002
"Family Law and Federal Taxation," 1990
"Attorney's Fees Under Section 508 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act," 1992
"Tips re: Drafting Qualified Domestic Relations Orders," 1994
"Family Law Form Changes in Light of Amendments to the Supreme Court Rules," 1996
"Case Law update 1997 to 1998: Review of Top Ten Cases 1997"
"Leveling the Playing Field - Five Years Later - The Revolution that Wasn't," October, 2002
"Business Valuation, Financial and Tax Issues Affecting Divorce;" case law update regarding sophisticated issues regarding property, maintenance and other financial issues in divorce cases. Programs associated with the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education; Deerfield, Illinois, 2004 and 2005
The Gitlin Law Firm limits its practice to family law. The firm handles:
Original divorce proceedings
Post-divorce judgment proceedings including child support enforcement and support modification
Child custody cases
Premarital and post-marital agreements
Parentage (paternity) proceedings
Appeals of family law cases
Collaborative divorce and advising clients while in mediation
By exclusively handling family law cases, the attorneys of The Gitlin Law Firm are more familiar with divorce and family law than lawyers who do not limit their practice to this area. Limiting the practice to divorce and family law also increases a lawyer's efficiency in handling a case.
In some firms the lawyer with whom you interview will not handle court appearances. For the sake of efficiency, Gunnar J. Gitlin believes that the same lawyer who handles your case on a day to day basis should also be the lawyer who handles any contested matters in court. The lawyers of The Gitlin Law Firm, Gunnar J. Gitlin, Paulette M. Gray, Stephanie A. Kasten and Scott Farrell are experienced in negotiating and in trying family law cases.
State of the Art Practice:
The Gitlin Law Firm's practice is state of the art. This involves both investments in technology which increase efficiency as well as investments in remaining at the cutting edge of family law issues. This web site is one example of the investment that the firm has made into compiling resources for family lawyers including the lawyers of the Gitlin Law Firm. The Gitlin Law Firm efficiency is demonstrated its online database of Illinois family law cases. This electronic database was developed over the years by Gunnar J. Gitlin and includes copies of the Gitlin on Divorce Reports, edited by H. Joseph Gitlin. It includes charts and various comments by Gunnar J. Gitlin. The online database is used in-house by the lawyers and legal assistants of the Gitlin Law Firm so that virtually any family law issue can be researched quickly and authoritatively.
Clients of The Gitlin Law Firm may communicate with the law firm via fax transmission. If secure protocols are established, clients may also communicate with the law firm via e-mail.
Nature of the Practice:
Family law proceedings involve one of the most difficult periods in a person's life. Studies indicate that three of the most stressful events are divorce, moving and death of a close family member. Divorce often involves at least two of these significant events. Post-divorce proceedings can be equally traumatic. They may involve proceedings for modification of custody which is one of the most difficult areas of a family lawyer's practice.
It has been said that family lawyers see good people at their worst. For this reason a lawyer handling a family law practice must have the ability to listen well, to communicate promptly and to commit himself to providing quality legal services. This is the goal of The Gitlin Law Firm.
Most firms handle only traditional adversarial representation. Some people refer to Baruch's Observation as: "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Accordingly, when a lawyer only knows about traditional adversarial representation, generally this is the only approach that the lawyer will suggest. There are cases which are appropriate for adversarial representation and cases which are appropriate for collaborative representation. All the lawyers of the Gitlin Law Firm have been trained as collaborative professionals and have significant experience in adversarial representation. Accordingly, the lawyers of The Gitlin Law Firm will be able to give the pros and cons as to the type of representation that is appropriate.