Hallie Van Duren: Family Lawyer

At the Center for Family Law offices, Hallie Van Duren is entirely in her element. As we spoke, it was fascinating to hear Hallie’s reasons for going into family law. And her continuing reasons to practice. To hear our StoryCorps interview, click READ MORE and then click here: https://archive.storycorps.org/interviews/hallie-van-duren-family-lawyer/

“Showing up is what I want to do,” says Hallie Van Duren.

She knew at an early age she would be a lawyer. Hallie was always interested in politics, government, and debate. In high school she wanted to be a prosecutor. When she got to law school, she realized prosecution wasn’t for her. Instead, she thought about what she did want to do. How she could make a difference in her way.  Hallie always wanted to contribute and do, “Something that mattered, something on a small scale, something that matters to people, which affects people’s lives on the small scale.”

Not change the world but change THEIR world.

As a lawyer, Hallie cares. She cares about her clients in a way that lets them know they are important. That they matter.

With her innate sense of fairness, she is professional and has a low-key approach. In her work experiences: her fairness and professionalism shine through in meetings, and exchanges with clients, professionals, and her team. She is brilliant, personal, and personable, always making sure her clients are okay.

This is NOT easy. Especially in family law.

Lawyers can be scary as can the process. Hallie let me see that they were people, women. And doing what they could to make family law easier and understandable to all involved.

“The most important thing in my job is to connect with people. I have to meet you where you are. Help you get through it. This includes connections with other attorneys, judges, and anyone associated with this process. Making a personal connection is my priority.”

She also appreciates the diversity of her clients, “I see who they are and where they are.”

Hallie is a trained collaborative family divorce attorney as well. “This is a special practice. A particular process/method. Clients are committing from the beginning that they will resolve things outside of court and that they agree to be fair and reasonable. Everyone agrees to work this out outside of court. And everyone is willing to commit to disclosure. That all information will be provided, and everyone gets to make decisions.”

In addition, both parties have collaborative attorneys-specially trained, a mental health coach and a financial coach. The goal: by surrounding yourself with people who are helping you in a collaborative way, everyone can make informed, respectful decisions that work in the present and future. For everyone. Clients and children.

Hallie says, “You come out of this, and you are not married anymore. AND you can still have a respectful relationship.”

For many reasons people might not be able to take this route.

In her work, Hallie would like to expand this practice. She says, “There are other types and levels of this which can be utilized. I also work as a mediator. And I work with mediation. Many of these skills can work in these situations.”

Hallie’s family law practice includes divorce, custody and support cases, property, adoptions, guardianship-adults and kids, estate planning, trusts, power of attorney, probate estates, name changes. Modification of divorces, custody cases.

As often happens with a client and family, they sometimes come back after divorce for adoptions, estate planning. And when things aren’t going well.

The Center for Family Law has six attorneys. “We’ve had a few retirements, and these lawyers are amazing legacies for our firm. We also have new lawyers coming in. People come out and in. Just like in any workplace.”

“We are a family here,” Hallie says. “At family law practices, we support one another in the day to day as this can be exhausting and emotionally draining. We have a support system here.”

They are a trusted group. “You have to trust one another; we all rely on one another-intellectually, emotionally. We are a family here and work as a team. And that’s how we serve our clients differently.”

Fortunately, Hallie has found mentorship as well as mentoring younger lawyers.

“We mentor one another. Since 2016, three years out of law school, after practicing other places, I came here. And knew this was my home.

Mentor Ann Bauer is a great lawyer, person, and woman to learn from.

“She’s an inspiration. I’m blessed to be able to learn from her.”

“My other partner, Allison Gerli and I graduated the same year. We went from young associates to partners. Ann was our employer and now, she’s, our partner!”

As for work life balance, Hallie’s first answer, “what work-life balance?” made us both smile.

“It is possible, to have a work-life balance! As a working mom of young children, they are a lot of work, and my work is a lot of work. It’s a struggle. My goal is to be fully present wherever I am. It’s a work in progress. If I can be there for the kids-school parties, I want to be. I hope we are creating memories!”

When asked what she’d like her legacy to be, she replied, “I want to be there for the people I need to be. My kids, my family, and my clients.”

Hallie shows up. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Empowered women empower women. I have such gratitude for The Center for Family law and the lawyers who showed up for me…with boots on the ground. Capes on. Bracelets ready.

Thank you to Hallie Van Duren for her time for this interview and for her caring, compassionate work. And the entire team at The Center For Family Law. https://www.thecenterforfamilylaw.com/

Expect Good. Defy Gravity. Sparkle On. Boots ON the ground.

For more StoryCorps interviews, personal narratives, travel blogs and information about Whole Brain Thinking, you can find me on FB and LinkedIn and visit my website: https://wilsonmentoringwriting.com/



About Pam Wilson

I've been writing since I can remember. At heart, I am a story-teller; making sense of my world, finding humor and light through writing. Now I help clients to write their own stories. As I continue my own writing journey, my passion is to help clients write their own stories.