About Michelle

Leading family law on a new way forward

Family law is deeply personal. It requires empathy and advocacy, and a deep understanding of everything from complex financial transactions to mental health issues, to parenting issues and conflict resolution.

Every family is unique, and each client deserves an advocate who helps them take the right steps toward attaining the future they envision, both for themselves and for their loved ones.

It’s an unfortunate truth that no one wins in divorce. And while litigation is still an avenue some must take, it’s had its day in court—it’s costly, public, and, contrary to what many believe, there is no succinct or satisfying resolution as is often portrayed in the movies and television. Instead, families can be torn apart, financially and emotionally, without a mutually beneficial resolution.

And that is why Michelle A. Lawless has created a new way forward in family law. A twenty-year veteran of family law, Michelle has “seen it all.” After nineteen years at a prestigious litigation firm, Michelle took a leap of faith and forged a new path—a new way forward in family law—and founded her solo-practice, The Law Office of Michelle A. Lawless LLC.

Michelle has made a name for herself as a leader in conflict resolution and is the voice of reason when it comes to family law dispute resolution. As an attorney, thought leader, and business owner, Michelle’s goal is to create a better, more compassionate avenue to navigate a family law crisis, and guide toward a brighter, kinder, richer future. And her success and frequent referrals speak to her approach—clients want a new, less conflict-driven option.

Michelle brings progressive insight and cutting-edge techniques to a field that is in desperate need of reform. Focusing in resolution-oriented collaborative law, mediation, and attorney assisted mediation, Michelle offers multiple avenues for resolution and support.

As a solo-practitioner by design, she’s able to translate big firm experience into a personalized approach that is more flexible, private, and gives couples and families the opportunity for resolution without threat of the court system, ultimately creating less financial and emotional burden for all parties.

Michelle’s ability to understand the complexities of family disputes enables her to replace fear with logic and resolve conflicts that appear to be unresolvable. She supports her clients with the tools to advocate for and articulate themselves, and under her guidance, clients are able to make informed decisions that allow both parties to move on and move forward amicably.

With Michelle’s collaborative, values-driven approach, there are several possible paths to reach an agreement that respectfully resolve issues without conflict or excess cost, making her a sought-after and beneficial counsel and expert in family law. There may be two sides to every story in a divorce, but there is only one voice of reason: Michelle A. Lawless.

When you hire Michelle

Get a fierce advocate and partner who understands you.

Your situation and vision for the future are unique. Michelle begins by learning what is most important to you, your concerns, your hopes and goals for life after divorce. You will feel heard, understood and supported.

Get a problem solver.

Bringing empathy, acumen and insight, she will articulate your options for resolving disputes, empowering you to make smart decisions and keeping you in the driver’s seat. And she’ll find creative solutions that attempt to avoid unnecessary conflict and enable the best outcome, often working through issues and overcoming obstacles you thought were insurmountable.

Are in very good hands.
Whether you need an empathetic and artful negotiator in mediation, or a formidable litigator in the courtroom, Michelle has a notable track record and reputation in both.
Have a seasoned lawyer with more than 20 years experience.

Michelle deeply understands the process, the players and the pitfalls. A thought leader in the family law industry, Michelle offers and applies the latest family law strategies and techniques. She also has deep financial expertise covering executive compensation packages, valuation of closely held businesses, and other hard-to-value assets and income streams. She can accurately assess your situation; help you determine the best way forward and deftly navigate the complex and cumbersome system.


St. Louis University School of Law, J.D. (1999)
Indiana University, B.A. (1996)

Advanced Training and Certifications

  • American Bar Association Trial Advocacy Institute
  • American Bar Association’s Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute focusing exclusively on business valuations
  • Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) training and certification
  • Certified Mediator
  • Certified Collaborative Practitioner

Awards and Recognitions

  • Lawyer of the Year, Collaborative Law: Family Law Chicago, The Best Lawyers of America (2022 and 2024)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers of America, by Neifeh and Smith (2015-2024)
  • Named on the 10 Best Attorneys in Illinois for Outstanding Client Service by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (AIOFLA) (2017-2019)
  • “40 Under 40 Illinois Attorneys to Watch” by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (2010)
  • Illinois Super Lawyers (2014-2024)
  • Illinois Super Lawyers – Rising Star (2013)
  • Listed as a Top 100 Women Consumer Lawyer by Leading Lawyers Magazine (2016)
  • Leading Lawyers Network (2013-2019)

Memberships and Community Involvement

  • Frequent author and lecturer on family law subjects and current co-author the IICLE Family Law Flash Points with Donald C. Schiller.
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Family Law Section Council, Member
  • American Bar Association
  • Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council
  • Holy Trinity High School Board of Trustees
  • Past-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Domestic Relations Committee.