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Michele A. Zavos

Michele A. Zavos

Practice areas:

Adoption, Family, Wills & Living Wills

About Me

Michele has more than 30 years of experience as an attorney in the Washington metropolitan area. She works very closely with her clients, and is known for her personal service. She generally is available to her clients after regular business hours and on weekends as necessary. Michele focuses her practice on adoptions, estate planning and the preparation of personal planning documents, including Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills, probate, surrogacy, and family mediation.


 


Michele has successfully represented clients in over one thousand adoptions in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including second-parent and joint adoptions, readoptions after a foreign adoption, step-parent adoptions, foster care adoptions, direct placements, and agency adoptions. She has worked with thousands of clients to establish estate plans, including drafting Wills and other personal planning documents. She has also negotiated property and custody agreements for separating couples. Michele now has a family mediation practice to assist couples in resolving their disputes without going to Court. Based on her work in adoption matters, Michele was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys in the spring of 2005. She was also elected to the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Attorneys for her work on surrogacy and other assisted reproduction issues.  Because of her extensive contacts, Michele can provide clients with appropriate referrals for any legal matter.


 


Michele has been a pioneer in creating legal protections for LGBT headed families and families headed by unmarried opposite sex couples. She was one of the founders in 1982 of the first "maybe baby" group for lesbians in the Washington metropolitan area. She has been representing LGBT families in second-parent and joint adoptions since these adoptions were established in Maryland and the District of Columbia in 1994. Michele is particularly sensitive to these issues as she has a now adult daughter from a same-sex relationship.


 


For many years Michele taught as an adjunct professor for the Women's Studies Program at the George Washington University and the Washington College of Law at American University. American University named her Outstanding Adjunct Professor in 1999. Michele has won many awards from LGBT organizations for her longstanding service to the LGBT community, including being the recipient of Capital Pride's Director's Award for Family, Woman's Monthly Community Service Award, Whitman-Walker Lesbian Services Program Community Service Award and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club Jerome Heilman Community Service Award.


 


Michele was also one of the first co-chairs of the Gay and Lesbian Subcommittee of the D.C. Bar, the precursor to GAYLAW. She served on the District of Columbia Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for more than 8 years by appointment of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Michele served on the Adoption Rules Committee for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and worked with Equality Maryland on a review of the Maryland Constitution and Code for discrimination against same-sex couples. She volunteers regularly with the Lesbian Services Program at the Whitman-Walker Clinic. She is also a selected member of the National Family Law Advisory Council for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.


 


For many years Michele has given presentations on adoption, estate, and same-sex family issues to all kinds of audiences, both national and local, including Unitarian Universalist Churches, Metropolitan Community Churches, Wanda's Will Project, "Maybe Baby" classes, Gay Family Foundation, the Passages Conference, National Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association, the District of Columbia Bar, the D.C. Center, Whitman-Walker Clinic, and others. She has also written extensively on LGBT family law, sexual orientation and the law, and AIDS and the law.


 


Prior to building her own law practice, Michele worked for Georgia Legal Services in Statesboro, Georgia; Legal Aid in Baltimore, Maryland; as a law clerk to Judge Gladys Kessler when she was on the bench of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; a small law firm in the District of Columbia, and the American Bar Association as Director of the AIDS Coordination Project. Michele was also a partner in the firm of Dolkart and Zavos.

She is an active member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and Maryland, and received her J.D. degree from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1979, and her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 1974.

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Languages Spoken: French

Photos and Videos

536991 1408548418

Practice Areas

Licensed since 1979

  1. Adoption: 40%
    22 years, 700 cases
  2. Family: 35%
    36 years, 300 cases
  3. Wills & Living Wills: 25%
    36 years, 1 thousand cases

Payment

Fees:

Hourly ($175-475/hour), Fixed (Sometimes), Retainer (Sometimes)

Payment Types:

Cash, Check, Credit Card

Attorney Endorsements

6 total 

  • No photo

    I endorse this lawyer; I am her client. Michele was my personal lawyer for a pre-nuptial, will, powers of attorney, and health care proxy. I received good advice and good service and enjoyed dealing with her.

    More 

    Ronald Friedmann General Practice Attorney
    Relationship: Other

  • Margaret Hackett Oliver

    Michele is a leader in the field of family law, a compassionate advocate and skilled litigator. I am pleased to endorse this lawyer.

    More 

    Margaret Oliver Divorce & Separation Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact Info

Zavos Juncker Law Group, PLLC

8455 Colesville Rd.
Suite 1500
Silver Spring, MD, 20910

Resume

License

StateStatusAcquiredUpdated
DCActive 198305/24/2015
MDActive198107/14/2015
GATerminated - Nonpayment of Dues197908/22/2015

Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Avvo Contributions

Legal Answers

Awards

Award NameGrantorDate Granted
Best Lawyer Family LawBest Lawyers2013
One of 25 TopDivorce Lawyers in Montgomery County, MarylandBethesda Magazine2013
Family Law Lawyer of the YearBart Association of Montgomery County2013
Best Lawyers in America - Family LawBest Lawyers in America2012
Angel in AdoptionCongresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton2009
Wanda's Warrior AwardWanda's Wills Project2008
Capital Pride's Director's Award for FamilyD.C. Capital Pride2005
Community Service AwardWoman's Monthly2002
Community Service AwardWhitman-Walker Lesbian Services Program2000
Outstanding Adjunct ProfessorWashington College of Law, American University1999
Jerome Heilman Community Service AwardGertrude Stein Democratic Club1987

Work Experience

TitleCompany NameDuration
PartnerZAVOS JUNCKER LAW GROUP PLLC2011 - Present
PrincipalMICHELE ZAVOS LAW GROUP, PLLC2007 - 2010
Solo PractitionerMICHELE ZAVOS1996 - 2007
Director, AIDS Coordination ProjectAmerican Bar Association1990 - 1996
PartnerDOLKART & ZAVOS1985 - 1990
AssociateGarfinkle & Dranitzke1982 - 1985
Staff AttorneyLegal Aid Bureau, MD, Prisoner Assistance Project1979 - 1982

Associations

Association NamePosition NameDuration
Women's Bar Association of Maryland (Montgomery County chapter)Member2013 - Present
Maryland Association for JusticeMember2013 - Present
Bar Association of Montgomery CountyMember2011 - Present
American Academy of Assisted Reproductive AttorneysElected Fellow2010 - Present
American Fertility AssociationMember2009 - Present
American Academy of Adoption AttorneysElected Fellow2005 - Present
National Family Law Advisory Council, National Center for Lesbian RightsMember2003 - Present
GAYLAWMember2002 - Present
Federal Judicial Nominating Commission of the District of ColumbiaMember1992 - 2000
District of Columbia Bar, Family Law SectionMember1982 - Present
District of Columbia BarMember1982 - Present
Maryland State BarMember1981 - Present

Legal Cases

Case NameOutcome
Jane Doe v. Ruth Roesettlement agreement for visitation
Fisher-Davenport v. BowserVirginia Supreme Court ordered that both parents must ne listed on the birth certificate.
Port v. CowanThe MD Court of Appeals held that Maryland must recognize this marriage for purposes of divorce, which meant that MD must recognize out of state valid marriages between same-sex couples.

See all Legal Cases 

Publications

Publication NameTitleDate
Washington BladeDon't Wait for Rights2009
TrialSexual Orientation and the Law in the 1990s1995
AIDS Benchbook SupplementAIDS Benchbook Supplement1995
TrialFederal ADA Protections for People with HIV1994
John Marshall Law ReviewAIDS and Health Care Reform1994
Until the Cure: Caring for Women with HIVLegal Considerations1993
Creating a Pro Bono Program for People with AIDS & HIVSame1993
TrialRight to Work: Job Protections for People with HIV1993
Human RightsAIDS and Insurance: No Guarantees1993
Centers for Disease Control: The Americans with Disabilities ActSame1992
Human RightsWomen in the Shadow of AIDS1992
Directory of Legal Resources for People with AIDS & HIVSame1991
ABA AIDS BenchbookSame1991

Education

School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
Catholic Univ-WashingtonLawJ.D.1979
University of Wisconsin, MadisonHistory/JournalismBA - Bachelor of Arts1974

Speaking Engagements

Conference NameTitleDate
WebinarEstate Planning for Same Sex Couples2011
MeetingUpdate on LGBT Family Law for DC and MD2011
Inside Out Radio ShowMarriage Equality2011
Bar CLEParentage Issues for the LGBT Community2011
Sistah Conference 09Estate Planning for LGBT couples and individuals2009
Same-Sex RelationshipsSame-Sex Relationships2009
Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of LawyersThe Unmarried Couples: Rights & Responsibilities without the Marriage Certificate2009
Financial Planning and Estate Planning SeminarEstate Planning for LGBT couples and individuals2009
Estate Planning and Family Law SeminarEstate Planning and Family Law in the LGBT Community2009
Bar CLELGBT Family Law2009
Montgomery County Law DayFamily Issues for LGBT couples and individuals2008
A Responsible ExitEstate Planning2007
Wanda's Wills ProjectEstate Planning for LGBT couples and individuals2006
Wanda's Wills ProjectEstate Planning for LGBT couples and individuals2006
The Equality ForumSo You Want to Be a Parent2006
Seminar on LGBT Family and Estate LawLGBT Family and Estate Law2006
Montgomery County Bar Association ConferenceFamily Law Issued Affecting Non-Traditional Families2006
Sunday Morning SeriesLGBT Estate Planning2004