| Practice Description: |
"I help my clients stay true to their own priorities and values, especially when difficult situations arise during the process," states Jody Meyer Yazici. "I always tell my clients: 'Don't get caught up in the games. Identify where you want to be at the end of this process, and we'll work together to get you there.'"
Yazici speaks with authority. With Muller Davis and James L. Rubens, she is the author of the 14th Edition of The Illinois Practice of Family Law. At 3,000 pages in two volumes, it is the most widely used text in the field by practitioners, judges and law students in Illinois. Being the co-author of a family law classic was not something Yazici anticipated when she decided to be a lawyer, at age 10.
After Northwestern University, Yazici went to Cornell Law School, intending to practice international law: "Then I took a writing course taught by a divorce practitioner, and I liked the immediacy of family law. I wanted the opportunity to help real people with real problems."
In 1994, she returned to Chicago specifically to write the first edition of the book. She likes the balance: "I work with clients on a daily basis. Plus, I have the academic side of my practice where I produce a comprehensive reference book that is not only well-accepted but also has really made a difference in the field."
Every week, Yazici skims West's Illinois Decisions that include all the cases published by the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts. She annotates those most relevant to the practice of family law for the next edition of The Illinois Practice of Family Law. The 15th edition, by Yazici and her new co-authors, David I. Grund and Marvin Leavitt, will be published in the fall of 2015. "My constant review keeps our firm at the forefront of our practice," she explains, noting that the pages in the annual edition have more than tripled since it was first published 18 years ago.
In addition to her writing and editing skills, Yazici is a good listener, who cautions clients about losing sight of their goals. "I always encourage my clients to contain their anger or fear or revenge so those emotions do not drive the litigation process and derail the ultimate outcome they seek. Ninety-five percent of our cases get settled because, ultimately, it is the clients themselves who have the biggest stake in obtaining an equitable and workable result. Family law is so fact-specific," she explains. "You can't just plug in a formula. We work together to craft a resolution for each client's circumstances."
Keeping emotions in check, Yazici finds, is an essential role of counsel. "I can't act with the same level of emotion as my client. If I get as angry as my client does, I can't accomplish what I need to do. I empathize with them. I know that the divorce process can be painful. But I remind my client, 'My role is to get you out of this situation and get you refocused on goals for your future."
Yazici observes, "Sometimes the demands of the other side are unreasonable, and opposing attorneys can create a lot of unnecessary animosity to divert attention from our primary goal of reaching a favorable and final resolution."
She concludes, "That's not what we do here."
Law School: Cornell Law School, , J.D., 1994
Undergraduate School: Northwestern University, B.A., political science, 1990
Bar/Professional Association Involvement:
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Chicago Council of Lawyers
- Judicial Evaluation Committee (former member)
Awards; Honors; Distinctions:
- Selected by her Illinois peers since 2004 as a Leading Lawyer in Family Law
Published Legal Writing:
The Illinois Practice of Family Law, (co-author), West, 1995-present. The 15th edition of the Illinois Practice of Family Law, by Yazici and her new co-authors, David I. Grund and Marvin Leavitt, will be published in the fall of 2015.
- "Enforceable Civility: A Critical Part of the Judicial Process in Divorce Litigation," (co-author), Strategies for Family Law in Illinois, 2011 Edition, Aspatore
- "Best Interest of the Child: The Case for Joint Custody Even in Contested Divorces," 84 Illinois Bar Journal 348, 1996
- "The Consequences of Eavesdropping: Client and Attorney Liability," contributor, Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter, March 1996
Grund & Leavitt is one of the nation’s preeminent family law firms, combining legal, commercial, and psycho-social sophistication with a distinguished track record.
Grund & Leavitt represents clients vigorously and skillfully to ensure a just result. It is the firm's goal to ease the process of divorce and to effectively advocate for clients’ interests in a dignified manner while affording the utmost discretion.
The firm’s attorneys have considerable experience handling issues from the trial and appeal of custody disputes to complex business valuation contests. Grund & Leavitt’s clients include many well-known Chicago socialites, business professionals, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, or their spouses.
Additional Office Locations:
812 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60610