4.5 stars 6 totalReview Annelisa Smith
I was in a 26 year unregistered domestic partnership until my partner left me. Since we shared net assets of $400,000 I sought out the “best” family law firm of McKinley Irvin LLP to defend my interests. They assigned attorney Annelisa D Smith to represent me and defend my interests against the Dissolution filed by my ex.
The main assets of our partnership were a home and my ex’s PERS retirement funds. There also was a luxury RV, cars and two bulldogs. I had worked as a litigation paralegal since committing to my ex-wife, so I was the source of income while my ex went to school to become an auto mechanic. When we bought our home in 1993, I paid the downpayment and $25,000 improving the property.
I instructed Annelisa that I wanted to keep the home and my ex could keep her retirement funds, which would be a 50/50 split of the net assets, with the other personal items split down the middle. This seemed simple enough.
Over the course of one year, I paid over $30,000 for Ms Smith services. Despite written and oral instructions to her, Ms. Smith did not compel all discovery from my ex (who was transferring and hiding assets from me), and did not have the Settlement Agreement signed before my ex came to my home to collect her personal items--despite my begging Smith to do because I knew my ex would claim some of her belongings were “missing”--which she did and then refused to sign the Settlement. Also, as part of the Settlement, Attorney Smith recommended I “give up” a $55,000 equalizing asset payment from my ex because “it would be too hard to get,” and BOTH bulldogs. Ms. Smith’s rationale for this was by my being so reasonable, my ex would expediently settle the asset partition. Instead I came away without a signed Settlement Agreement.
Ms Smith then advised we file a Judgment based on the reneged Settlement Agreement. As a litigation paralegal for over 20 years, I drafted many judgments. Instead of drafting an unequivocal money judgment in my favor, Attorney Smith “copy and pasted” the exact form of the equitable Settlement Agreement into the Judgment without revising it to specifically cause my ex to pay me any monies. Further, this Judgment didn't contain any language to protect my financial interests if my ex filed Bankruptcy to avoid her financial obligations. Ms Smith told me she had never had to draft a judgment in a dissolution before. When I asked her for assistance in collecting on the Judgment, she advised she didn’t know how.
A week after Attorney Smith filed the Judgment, my ex retained bankruptcy counsel and filed for protection. My ex had not removed my name off the RV title (as the Judgment instructed) and surrendered it, creating an “unpaid installment balance” on my credit report. I spent all my savings and credit cards on Annelisa Smith and had no assets left to hire bankruptcy counsel. My ex’s bankruptcy was granted and she did not pay any of our mutual debt.
What did I get from Annelisa Smith for over $30,000 in legal fees? Nothing. I only wanted to keep my home (eight years left on a 30 year mortgage). Instead, I had to sell my home, my car and most personal belongings to pay the entire partnership debt since my “Judgment” was discharged in the bankruptcy court. Thanks to Annelisa Smith at age 54 I am homeless with a negative mark on my credit. And the ex-wife got both bulldogs, me never to see them again. When I emailed Annelisa Smith about these issues, I received a “nasty-gram” email from the office partner, Colin McKean, advising me Ms. Smith had done nothing wrong and suggesting I find another law firm to represent me—how supportive, AFTER I had already paid Ms Smith $30,000+ from June 2013 thru July 2014. Ms Smith is a nice lady--yet an incompetent defender of my interests in a simple dissolution. It would have been nice if Annelisa took responsibility for the life-changing errors she made on my behalf and offered to refund some of the immense legal fees charged. All I wanted was my home.
Annelisa won me the most important thing of my life – the custody of my son and a whole lot more during one of the most trying time of my life. Mine was an extremely complex and long drawn child custody case which went to trial. The case involved several issues ranging from culture, domestic abuse, relocation and an extremely aggressive opposing counsel. But Annelisa’s expert knowledge of law and her practical approach was a HUGE factor in me winning the legal battle. She had a very clear case strategy and had my best interests throughout, while the opposing party tried to throw every rule book and accusation at us for nearly 1.5 years.
Annelisa was extremely professional who analysed every situation with a clear head and came up with the appropriate strategy. She was highly personable, very well organized, detail oriented, with a good recollection of facts and took the extra effort in presenting our arguments in a clear fashion both to the 1)the opposing counsel 2) and to the Judge. She was prompt in her filings, incorporating suggestions from her client and explaining why if she chose not to. This in my opinion is very important because the client has so many things emotionally and financially to deal with, during a highly contested divorce case. She made extra efforts to learn more about the cultural issues pertinent to my case and was open minded.
During our many meetings, her suggestions always kept the best interest of me and my son as top priority. Her personal connection with me and my family and her professionalism was a great combination and I cannot stress enough how crucial this was during my divorce case. Many a times she went beyond the role of a lawyer and helped me navigate various parenting issues during the course of the trial.
Most importantly her conduct during trial was highly impressive. She was very well prepared for the trial and meticulous in her presentation of our arguments and cross examination of my ex-husband. Her level of experience in arguing a case during trial was clearly evident.
Words cannot describe enough the importance of having an attorney like Annelisa Smith and her role in winning my case and I have no qualms in recommending her to anybody out there.
My name is Ryan, I hired Annelisa smith to represent me as I was battling with my ex over custody and I thought I deserved a better parenting plan with my child. My ex was withholding my child from me and needed help!!
Before my first consultation, I was frustrated, hurt, overwhelmed, stressed, mad and confused! Annelisa changed all that in just one meeting with her! She made me feel like I was in control! She made me feel like I deserved more! She made things more clear! Annelisa communicated via phone, email and one on one and had incredible flexibility! She always responded quick via email! (unless she was in trial of course)
We went to trial in May 2015. Her knowledge of the law is spectacular and she took over in trial! I got everything I wanted!! Even with a few battles we had fighting a few things, She gave good reasoning and we won!!!! Annelisa exceeded all my expectations!!
Since Trial, my life with my daughter has been spectacular!! I see her double the amount of time and I couldn’t of done this without the help of Annelisa Smith!! I
don’t just consider her a great attorney, I consider her friend!!
Trust me, you will not go wrong hiring Annelisa Smith!
That’s a 100% guarantee!!
Posted by Ryan
Annelisa and her team were ever so respectful of what I was needing to accomplish in my case. It was a long hard struggle, but the composure and guidance that Annelisa helped me with made all the difference. As a client, I am more than satisfied with what she was able to accomplish. Annelisa truly worked with me to hear the needs of both my daughter and I. In the end I feel that Annelisa has not only fulfilled her duties as a lawyer, but someone whom truly cared for the well being of my family.
Posted by Paul
Ms Smith saved me. I was totally unprepared and unaware that my wife got a lawyer and filed for divorce. I found Annelisa through my brother ( who is also a lawyer) and it was the best advice he has ever given me.
I was a total mess 9 months ago Sept. 1, 2013 and didn't know what to do and right away from the first meeting with Ms Smith she gave me the confidence to make my way through this divorce.
I know i was a trying client for Ms Smith as i wanted to make sure my wife was also taken care of and of course Ms Smith would rather i only took care of myself which is exactly what i should do but that is not me and Ms Smith allowed me to be me throughout the whole process weather she agreed not she always told me that i am the boss and what i decide is what will happen she was just there to guide me and let me know what was a fair deal and to make sure i understood what i was agreeing to.
If you are looking for a lawyer who will be deceitful and not give you the time of day you should go and get my wife's lawyer as that is the opposite of Ms Smith. She is charming with just the right amount of aggressiveness. Sweet with just the right amount of bittter. I have personally never worked with anyone with such a high integrity level as Ms Smith. Ialso want to make a note that the office personal at the Portland office are the best one in these types of situations could hope for and a big thanks to Ms James when Ms Smith was not available always took the time to help me out and get any questions i had to Ms Smith and a answer back to me in short order. Anyway i am not evert planning on getting divorced again but i know where to turn if the situations arises again.
Posted by Haven
Annelisa represented me in my divorce. As tends to be the case, it was avery difficult process for me, but from the first meeting she gained myrust and made me feel that she had my best interests at heart. Throughoutour time working together she always communicated what was happening and what I should anticipate, took the time to answer my questions and listen to my concerns and emotional ramblings, and generally helped put me at ease. Her knowledge and insight were amazing, and in the end she helped me to avoid arbitration and gain the settlement I wanted. I would absolutely
recommend Annelisa for anyone needing a family lawyer.