Dussias Skallas Wittenberg
40 Under Class – 2016
Succeeding in family law requires more than just hard work, talent and dedication. Lawyers who want to thrive in this field must also be able to empathize with their clients, to understand the incredible stress that often comes with family law cases.
Christine Harney, a family law attorney with Chicago’s Dussias, Skallas, Wittenberg, has this ability. It helps, too, that she possesses the smarts, work ethic and legal knowledge that has given her a reputation as one of the top young family law practitioners in the region.
Carlton Marcyan with Chicago’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck sums it up this way: “She is smart and aggressive, but not offensive. She has a wonderful demeanor in a very difficult area of the law. She also has the respect of the family law bar in the Chicago area and the respect of the divorce court judges. She already has all the ‘right stuff’ to not only continue to excel but become one of the very best across the board.”
One nominator tells of a case that Harney handled. Harney litigated a claim for contribution for private school tuition from a husband, even though the Agreed Parenting Order stated that the contribution could only be awarded under “compelling circumstances.” Many would have considered it impossible to meet this standard.
“In the eyes of many practitioners, obtaining contribution would be a proverbial ‘mission impossible,’ said David Hopkins with Schiller DuCanto & Fleck. “Nevertheless, Christine prevailed.”
“Christine approaches cases with the highest degree of professionalism,” Hopkins said. “She always explores settlement, striving to preclude excessive litigation. Nevertheless, she has honed her litigation skills. In various cases, she has achieved excellent results in court contests.”
Another nominator points to a divorce case in which one side contested just about every matter. Despite the challenging circumstances, Harney was able to broker an agreement in a situation that the nominator said seemed impossible.
These results, and the praise she generates from her clients, is one reason why Harney has already achieved partner status at Dussias, Skallas, Wittenberg, even though she had yet to hit her 33rd birthday as of the writing of this profile.
Even Harney’s opponents have nothing but praise for her legal skills.
“Christine is very good at coming up with various alternatives to settle a case,” said Kimberly Cook with Schiller DuCanto & Fleck. “She is honest, empathetic and is a pleasure to have as an opposing counsel on a case.”
Outside the courtroom, Harney is an active member several organizations, including the Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association and Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. She also served as co-chair of the Family Law Committee the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Section. If that is not enough, she guest lectured at Loyola University School of Law regarding child support, maintenance and temporary relief.
“Ms. Harney was always well-prepared, diligent and extremely knowledgeable in the area of matrimonial law,” said Chicago attorney Robert Kominsky. “She has excellent court skills and was very polished in court. She was patient and understanding of my situation as a client, and worked tirelessly and diligently on my behalf.”