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

March 2018, vol. 23, no. 4

Spotlight on Maxine Weiss Kunz

Maxine Weiss Kunz had her awakening while laying on a yoga mat, practicing the lovely yoga pose of Shavasana. You know, the pose where you finally get to rest after an hour of strenuous, often-impossible yogi moves. One day in 2014, while lying on her mat, Maxine had a vision of a law firm. A law firm where she was boss.

Three months later, Maxine resigned from her then-firm and started her own private practice, Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC. The firm opened with three locations: Chicago, Park Ridge and Elmhurst. Maxine’s firm is concentrated in family law, which includes divorce, parentage, custody (now allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time), child support, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and adoptions. Maxine is a certified mediator, guardian ad litem (attorney appointed by the court to determine the best interests of children) and collaborative lawyer. She additionally handles appeals to the appellate court. In short, Maxine is busy.

In addition to running a successful family law practice, Maxine spent much of 2017 pregnant with her third child. Healthy baby boy Kunz arrived in November 2017 and Maxine was back to work full-time by January 2018. Maxine’s older children are six and four years old. Maxine, her husband, and their three kids live in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Maxine is a Chicagoland native, growing up in Oak Park and Downers Grove. She attended college at Indiana University (Bloomington) where she studied psychology, communications and business. Of note, Indiana University was voted as the biggest party school in the nation the year Maxine graduated. Maxine likes to take credit for this “honor” bestowed on her alma mater the year she graduated. How Maxine had time for partying is unclear as, in addition to studying for three degrees, Maxine was busy working as the school videographer and editor of their telecom journal.

Maxine enjoys having fun! One example: She chose law school over clinical psychology because, “lawyers are more fun.” Many of Maxine’s closest friends are fellow lawyers. (Disclaimer: this is not to say other professionals are not fun!).

Maxine attended law school at IIT, Chicago-Kent. While in law school, Maxine was fairly confident that family law was her calling. She has a psychology background, volunteered in the advanced family law clinic and clerked for Davis Freidman (another preeminent family law firm in Chicago). She also received the LADR certificate: Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, and CALI’d her Advanced Family Law class in her last year of law school. In order to assure herself that family law was absolutely for her, Maxine clerked for a personal injury firm in 2003; that only lasted two weeks before she started having nightmares. That experience solidified her desire to practice only family law.

Now Maxine has been a practicing family law attorney for over 13 years. Maxine was recently selected as a 2018 Super Lawyers and selected as 40 Under 40 Attorneys to Watch by ASLA (American Society of Legal Advocates). Maxine likes using her abilities to help those who feel they are helpless. A great reward for Maxine is a client whose head is held high after achieving the outcome he or she deserves. Maxine credits Debra Braselton, Kathryn Farmer and her partner in law, Amanda Oliver, as being great influences on her career. “They are not only amazing at their jobs, they are supportive and encouraging of other women attorneys,” says Maxine of her mentors.

To conclude, Maxine’s story reminds us to listen to our inner voice (with or without yoga).