You know just how talented attorneys are when their opposing counsel praises them. Hailee Zabrin, a partner with Berger Schatz, one of Chicago’s premier matrimonial and family law firms, earns plenty of compliments from her fellow litigators.
Consider Thomas Villanti, an attorney with Schiller DuCanto & Fleck. He has known Zabrin for more than 10 years, spending plenty of time opposing her. His thoughts on Zabrin are nothing but positive.
“Hailee is a very professional attorney, always treating others with civility and respect,” Villanti said. “I can always trust Hailee’s word, even though we often litigate against one another.”
Villanti is far from alone in his respect of Zabrin. She has also earned praise from judges and clients. That’s because Zabrin works tirelessly for her clients, boasts an in-depth knowledge of family law, has the courtroom presence to win contested cases and possesses the negotiating skills to hammer out settlements that benefit those she represents.
Retired judge Michele Lowrance, who now works with Chicago-based mediation services provider JAMS, has often seen Zabrin in action. She points to one case in particular as a showcase for this up-and-coming attorney’s skills.
The parties in the case struggled to reach any agreements and were often in bitter conflict with each other, and the case presented several tricky financial issues, as well. “Zabrin showed a mastery of the most complicated legal issues that arose during the case,” Lowrance said. Just as importantly, Zabrin understood how to handle the complex personalities of the parties involved.
“I knew what a great asset to the family law profession she was,” Lowrance said. “I think Hailee is very intelligent – and not only legally. She has great emotional intelligence, too. She is insightful and quick to grasp the dynamics of complicated situations. She sets a great example for young attorneys to aspire to.”
Karen Shields, a mediator also with JAMS, met Zabrin in 2012. Shields said that Zabrin “has mastered the art of structuring and organizing cases.” She skillfully works with experts to bolster her cases – and works tirelessly when preparing case for litigation, Shields added.
But what truly makes Zabrin a star, Shields says, is her empathy. Zabrin understands the pain and stress her clients are often feeling, and the sympathy she has for her clients is always in the foreground.
“Hailee amazed me in so many ways – her understanding of the law, her organization of the case,” Shields said. “If I needed any information on the case, it was Hailee that I called.”
Zabrin has also earned certification as a mediator, having trained at the Center for Conflict Resolution.
Zabrin, a busy wife and mother of two young boys, also finds time to give back to her firm. For several years, she and another Berger Schatz attorney fostered the firm’s law clerk program. Many of those law school students eventually became Berger Schatz attorneys and continue to be enriched by Zabrin’s mentoring.
“Berger Schatz has been my second home for nearly 12 years,” Zabrin said. “I started as a law clerk in the fall of my second year of law school, and the mentoring and guidance I received in those early days and beyond showed me this is a firm that values excellence, compassion and client advocacy above all else.”
Hailee Zabrin, a graduate of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, has been selected by her peers to the 2018 and 2019 Illinois Super Lawyers list of Rising Stars and the 2015 Leading Lawyers Network list of Emerging Lawyers.