40 Under Class – 2017
How do you know when a young attorney has earned the trust of his more experienced peers? When they run cases without the help of a senior partner in the courtroom.
Craig M. Mandell, a family law attorney with Chicago’s Berger Schatz, has already reached this level, a sure sign of respect from his senior partners.
“Rarely have I seen Craig with a senior partner in court,” said Thomas Field with Chicago’s Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove. “This speaks to the trust his senior partners have in him and the high caliber of skill he has, which is clearly beyond his years.”
Field and Mandell’s partners are far from the only legal minds in the region who have complete trust in this young attorney’s legal skills.
Those who work with Mandell say that he fights tirelessly for his clients and boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of family law. But just as importantly, Mandell works to ease at least some of the strain that his clients are inevitably suffering as they work through divorce proceedings and other familial matters.
“Craig treats the parties, witnesses and opponents with respect, and always seems to maintain his composure in the highly emotionally charged arena of family law,” said Michael Strauss, with the Libertyville, Illinois-based law firm of Schlesinger & Strauss. “Craig always seems to remain above the fray, even when dealing with some impossible personalities.”
This doesn’t mean, though, that Mandell does not take a stand for his clients. Strauss describes Mandell as a fierce and tremendous opponent in the courtroom. Strauss has seen this firsthand in a case he is currently working with Mandell.
“In a truly emotionally charged case, Craig has stayed above the mud-slinging and has constantly tried to resolve the issues, while always advocating professionally for his client,” Strauss said.
One Judge who nominated Mandell had multiple occasions to observe and work with him .And almost all of the cases on which he appeared were large, complex, highly contested dissolution of marriage or family cases. Had this to say about him, “He is a natural leader and assisted the Court with form review and suggestions on administrative changes.”
Another Judge who also has seen Mandell in action had this to day, “Mr. Mandell is an astute scholar of the law, particularly in the area of Family Law, and he applies the knowledge skillfully, with a calm and pleasant demeanor. It has been my experience that many Family Law attorneys approach their cases thinking that whoever yells the loudest at the bench will prevail. Many times, I have seen Mr. Mandell in court stand back quietly and patiently while the other attorneys obstreperously caused a commotion at the bench, and then step in at the appropriate moment and turn the tide in his client's favor with a brief and skillfully crafted legal argument.
While Mandell has crafted a thriving family law career, he remains a well-rounded individual. When not arguing cases or writing briefs, he devotes his spare time, creativity and wry sense of humor to the dramatic arts. Performing and writing since he was in high school, Mandell now puts his talents to use in the service of his profession.
The Lake County Bar Association puts on its Gridiron Show biannually. Mandell was a cast member in the show in 2014, a cast member and one of the show’s writers in 2016 and in 2018 will become the event’s co-director.
“In this day and age when we see all sorts of folks in whatever discipline ‘going off the tracks,’ Craig displays and has as part of his character qualities of trustworthiness, honesty, transparency and just plain good old heart and diligence,” said Miles Zaremski with Highland Park’s Zaremski Law Group.