Many people can relate to Julie Stankowski – a highly sought-after family lawyer and media legal expert with great compassion for her clients and daunting skills in the courtroom.
JULIE STANKOWSKI - A top-notch advocate with more than 20 years of experience, understanding and integrity.
When Julie graduated from Southwestern Law School in 1994, her credentials were already impressive: she had clerked for Judge Margaret Grignon of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
This caught the eye of a boutique firm in Beverly Hills, which hired Julie as a business litigator. This in turn led to an associate position litigating malpractice cases at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, a New York-based firm with offices internationally, including Los Angeles.
After several years, she took a bigger career step and signed on as in-house counsel for Chubb Insurance, which defended business clients against employment discrimination and sexual harassment claims.
Her biggest cases included defending former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in a sexual harassment case and litigating ownership shares to the Hotel Del Coronado when its millionaire owner died.
Then Julie -- who’s always had a family-first philosophy -- took a break to have her children, now 16 and 11.
“This is what I was meant to do,” Julie says. “I’m on my own, I can devote as much time as I want to a case to make sure my client is taken care of.”
For anyone who has had a negative experience with a family law attorney who submitted high bills with not a lot of success to show for it, you’ll find that Julie is the opposite.
“I’m very proactive, I try to get things moving along,” she said. “Hiring a family law attorney is a life-changing event. You have got to trust this person is guiding you and doing the best thing. If you are questioning whether you can rely on that lawyer, he/she isn’t the best lawyer for you.”
Julie -- a wife, mom, avid reader, travel lover and prolific blogger about family issues -- found her niche in a pretty unconventional way.
“I took time off from my legal career to have kids, and when I decided I wanted to go back to work, I was helping all my friends with divorces and referring them to various lawyers,” Julie said, adding that she gave various legal advice but left the actual case work to other lawyers.
She eventually decided to switch from business litigation to family law.
“I’m completely passionate about the law -- I love people and the law and family law is the perfect fit for me,” Julie said. “While I was being a mom, I wrote a blog called ‘Sex and Suburbia’ that was a takeoff on ‘Sex and the City’ for 40-plus moms. I love writing and it was fun.”
To that end, Family Law Court is a place where you often just have one shot to get it right.
Unlike civil and criminal courts where judges hear motions that appear to stretch out forever, an ill-prepared attorney in a single Family Court hearing can be the difference between gaining or losing custody and a fair financial settlement. Some judges make up their minds before an attorney even appears.
Julie’s writing and reasoning skills have brought great success to her clients.
“I give a strong argument in the papers I file with the court,” she says. “You need an advocate who is advocating thoroughly on paper, arguing the case. I write persuasively with every detail I can think of and turn it into a point that protects my argument. I do a lot of critical thinking.”