Member Groups

The Catalyst
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law

October 2016, vol. 22, no. 2

Spotlight on Kelly Thames Bennett

Kelly Thames Bennett has a lot of new things to adjust to in her life. She married her husband in March in Riviera Maya, Mexico and moved to a new law firm in July.

Always on the go, Kelly has had an interesting and unusual path to law. She is originally from a small town outside of Houston, Texas. She moved to New York for college to pursue an interest in theatre. She studied to be an actor and a dramaturg, earning a bachelor’s degree in theatre and public communications at the State University of New York in New Paltz. Kelly developed an interest in law, originally thinking she might practice entertainment law and represent theatres. Once she got to law school, though, she realized the real drama was in family law and she could exercise creative thinking in that career. Working in the Family Law Clinic at DePaul University College of Law solidified her interest in that area of the law.

Upon graduation from DePaul in 2010, Kelly spent a year working in the Law Office of Marcia Lipkin, then moved to the Chicago Family Law Group, where she spent five years representing clients in divorce and parentage proceedings, child custody, minor guardianship matters, and adoption cases. She believes family law combines her interests in people, stories, research, and writing. Kelly says one of her goals is to develop more expertise in adoptions.  

Kelly also gives back to the community by engaging in pro bono work as a Child Representative in the Domestic Relations Division and acting as a Guardian Ad Litem for Minor Guardianship in Probate. In her free time, Kelly likes to practice beach yoga and run by the lakeshore.

Through her practice, Kelly developed a friendship with another attorney, who was originally one of her opposing counsel. This past July, she left the Chicago Family Law Group to practice with her friend and is now practicing in the Law Offices of J. Jeltes, Ltd.

Kelly was appointed to the ISBA’s Women and the Law Committee in 2014. She was recruited by former WATL Chair, Mary Petruchius. She has since become an invaluable member of the WATL Committee, serving as the co-editor of the Catalyst newsletter and assisting with other WATL activities, such as the service project at the Teen Living Center this past spring. Kelly joined WATL because she believes it is important to be a mentor who leads the way for other female attorneys coming into the profession. She sees the WATL Committee as a group that is dedicated to mentoring and helping other women attorneys in a challenging world.