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Margaret Held

Divorce and separation Attorney at Knoxville, TN

4.8   37 reviews

also known as Margaret B. Held

  • Licensed for 27 years
    State TN
    Acquired 1996
    Active Lawyer disciplined by state licensing authority in 2020

About Margaret

Learn Margaret’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Divorce and separation
    Divorce, child custody, child support, legitimization, parental rights. Contested and agreed divorces.

    28 years

  2. Child custody
    Child custody, visitation, and child support.

    1 year

Margaret Held has known she wanted to be a lawyer since she was 8 years old, hearing the stories of her grandfather’s practice in Knoxville. "When you decide to become a lawyer when you are a kid, it’s because you want to stick up for the little guy and take down the bully."


As a new attorney, that attitude landed Ms. Held a prestigious Equal Justice Fellowship, awarded by the National Association for Public Interest Law to honor lawyers who make unique contributions in public law. The Fellowship allowed Ms. Held to represent entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations to create and retain jobs in poor neighborhoods. "These folks could not afford corporate counsel," says Ms. Held. "It was great to be a new attorney, working up the legal documents to start a bank, suing the government over its use of economic incentives, and representing welfare moms to start businesses ranging from child-cares to ice cream parlors."


After the fellowship ended, Ms. Held continued her mission by founding Held Law Firm. "The Firm exists to support lawyers who have enough little kid in them to love the fight - who wake up each morning excited to take on the big boys, and who haven’t become cynical about ideals like justice and fair play."

Ms. Held represented India Tracy in her lawsuit against the Union County school system for religious discrimination. She represented Citizens for Police Review in its battle for increased accountability within KPD. She helped the Tennessee Industrial Renewal Network to fight for a living wage for Knoxville workers. She obtained a record-breaking settlement for a Department of Energy whistleblower who reported safety violations in Oak Ridge. She represented KnoxRecall in its drive for increased accountability from Knoxville city lawmakers, and Knox County over abuses within the juvenile detention facility. "I suppose that these sorts of lawsuits haven’t made me many friends in certain circles," laughs Ms. Held. "But they weren’t who I went to law school for anyway."


"But seriously," she continues, "As fun as those cases are, the issues that matter most to real people are much more personal. Law, for regular people, is about your kids, your job, your business, your neighborhood. That’s why we specialize in family law, employment law, and non-profit law." "My best hope is that we will take the mystery out of the legal process for my clients - that they will know how the legal system works, feel like they got sound advice and a good outcome, and know that, win or lose, we fought the good fight for them. Big cases are great, but there’s nothing more satisfying for me than to represent an honest, hard-working person well."

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Held Law Firm
1522 Highland Avenue
Knoxville, TN, 37916


4.8 / 5.0
  37 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Janie | March 28, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
On my way to a resolution.
I am extremely impressed with Margaret’s professionalism while being approachable. She listened, she took action and we are on our way to a resolution! Her staff is very helpful as well.
Posted by Debra | January 16, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Held Law Firm - The Winning Team
I hired Margaret Held to secure visitation with my grandchild because visitation was being denied. My specific circumstances were "unique" and somewhat difficult. However, she fought for me and I received everything I was asking for. Without Margaret Held I would not be able to spend time with my precious grandchild.
Posted by Jeff | February 9, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Help across state lines
When we contacted Ms. Held and her firm we had already been turned down by several other firms. The firms that turned us away either stated the case was too complex for them to handle or that there was no reasonable legal route to our goal. Our goal was the removal of my two children from a household where they were being abused and neglected. We had no choice but to continue seeking an attorney who was willing to represent us. We, myself and my parents, are Georgia residents. My children were at the time residents of Tennessee. Ms. Held was undaunted. She took our case. She won. My children are safe as a result. I and my family sleep well at night because of the diligence shown by Held Law Firm. Ms. Held personally represented the interests of myself and my children. She showed herself to be tenacious, insightful, and thorough. And with the stakes as high as they were...nothing less than the excellence and professionalism shown by the staff at Held Law Firm would have been acceptable. I was completely satisfied with the result of the case.
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Posted by Kristi | June 13, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Top Notch, the best in Knoxville
She always seems to know exactly what direction your case should go on and takes all routes to get to the outcome you desire. Very knowledgeable and understanding and worked to get the best outcome for my child and our family. She has done so much for me and my child and I can never thank her enough for all the hard work and hours she has given us.
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Posted by anonymous | June 12, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
First one who cared
I've worked with more attorneys than I like to think about, but Margaret is the first one who seems to care about my outcome. She's quick to respond to any questions I have, and she's full of ideas about how to get me closer to what I want. If you're tired of attorneys who seem to keep billing without getting anything accomplished (or who go silent for weeks at a time), Margaret and her team at Held Law Firm are a breath of fresh air.
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Posted by Judd | April 1, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Stop looking. You found her.
The day you got married, you never thought you'd need a divorce lawyer. But now you do. You want someone who's competent, professional, knows the law, has her feet on the ground, and a good head on her shoulders. You want someone who will represent your interests fairly, and who will respect your need to keep costs down. You want someone who will respond to your emails! You want Margaret Held. You want Margaret Held and her super-competent, super-professional, super-effective team. I hired Margaret and her team to represent me in what unfortunately turned out to be a "high conflict" divorce. I can't say it was fun. But I can say, I would hire Margaret again in a heartbeat. In a New York minute. You get the idea. When I talk to close friends, friends I love, and they ask me for advice, I refer them to Margaret, without hesitation, and without qualification. She's that good.
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Posted by Barbara | September 17, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly recommended!
Ms. Held and her staff helped me through my divorce and were amazingly supportive during this time when I was so stressed I could barely function. They were all professional and compassionate. I highly recommend Ms. Held; she is the best!
Posted by Darrel | June 21, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Simply The Best
My wife and I hired the Held law firm for a highly contested child custody case. The Held law firm is staffed with only the best and they will fight for you in court. They cleaned up a mess made by our previous attorney, and got our case moving forward. Margaret has the experience and skills to get you the best results possible. Margaret has a way of taking charge of situations and not letting things just happen. She is a real fighter in the court room. My wife’s ex tried to block documents, lower child support, and delay the trial. We got the documents, child support got raised, the trial date didn’t change and Margaret actually got them to settle before the trial. Hire them, you won’t be disappointed.
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Posted by Julia | June 14, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best Attorney and Law Firm Around
We used Held Law Firm to handle a custody trial for us. They were amazing. We had tried others firms in the past but they were above and beyond any experience we had come across. The entire office works together as a team and they know the law. Margaret Held has employed only the best in her office so she won't even consider taking your case if she feels she cannot win it. The are more like family to me now than anything else. I would highly recommend them and if they cannot win your case, it can't be won.
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Posted by Jennifer Grace | April 6, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Absolutely the BEST!
There isn't a better group in Knoxville. Very efficient and so easy to work with. I can't say enough about how wonderful Held Law Firm truly is. They went above and beyond for my Mother during her (senseless and ugly) divorce. I wouldn't go anywhere else for something like this. Very highly recommended!
Posted by Maura | December 21, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best attorney in the Knoxville area
Margaret Held is by far the best attorney in the Knoxville area! I had previously been represented by two attorneys, which resulted in over two years of delayed court hearings, numerous unsuccessful meditations, and costly legal fees. I felt hopeless and was doubtful if there would ever be justice in my case. Hiring Margaret Held was the best decision I had ever made, and I only wish I had hired her in the beginning. She fought for me when no one else would. I can honestly say it does matter the attorney you have. Throughout the case, she provided solid legal counsel, listened, supported and protected me. She is strong, aggressive, hardworking, honest and ethical. Margaret Held always quickly answered my emails, phone calls and genuinely cared about my case. She also made a conscious effort to keep the legal fees low and went above and beyond my expectations for looking out for the best interest of myself and my children. I am extremely grateful for the Held Law firm for giving me "my life back." It is the only Law Firm I will continue to recommend to my friends and family.
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Posted by Joan Woodard | December 20, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very knowledgable and professional
Margaret has been wonderful throughout my divorce proceedings, which have almost stretched out to be two, yes, two years now! My ex's attorney thought the rules did not apply to him and followed none of them, making Margaret's job almost intolerable. He eventually malpracticed and my ex had to fire him and get another attorney. Despite all of the aggravation, Margaret (and Luke) have been on top of the situation every step of the way. In addition, she has been very reassuring along the way. I could not be happier with her performance on my behalf. Margaret's heart and soul is in her work. She is one of the few attorneys who are still in it with an inherent sense of right and wrong and a conviction that justice should always be done.
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Posted by anonymous | April 29, 2015
BEST lawyer/team out there!!!
Just stop looking, you have found the lawyer/team you need right here! Knowledgeable, trustworthy, timely, passionate, hard working ... I could go on and on... and on. They find ways that will work better for you in the long run and get the job done. They keep in touch, I never have to "sit and worry". Ms. Held is a firecracker and Luke is just as good. The new female team member they added is wonderful as well. She is worth the money and time most definitely. Look Held Law Firm up online, you'll see what I mean. :) She has truly done mircales and wonders for me so far!
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Posted by anonymous | May 15, 2014
these guys rock!!
Margaret and Mr. Shipley helped me with my divorce and custody of my son while my ex husband was overseas. When the whole thing started, I was very worried because I thought that since he was in the military, things were going to get complicated fast. They never once told me that they knew something that they didn't, and they were able to get in touch with other attorneys and even a senator to get the information they needed! Everyone at the firm was and is incredibly resourceful, strategic, knowledgeable, dependable, honest, and able to put things in layman's terms to ensure that I knew exactly what was going on and what to expect. I would recommend Held Law Firm to anyone. Period.
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Posted by anonymous | March 19, 2014
She gets it!
I just can’t say enough good things. Margaret and her firm are simply the best people I’ve ever worked with. She didn’t make promises they couldn’t keep, she knew what the law was, knew what the judge would do, and backed it all up. If I would’ve started my case with them, I would’ve saved so much time, money and frustration. Plus, I got a check back from ther when they didn’t use all my retainer. Call her, it’s worth it.
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Posted by anonymous | January 21, 2014
I had a very good experience with Margaret Held. I was a little gun shy when I went to see Margaret. I had to find another lawyer to handle my child custody case that was not handled properly to begin with. Margaret was very understanding and honest about what the outcome of the situation could be. She was able to handle my case and all parties were able to reach an agreement. The staff at her office were excellent. She or someone in her office would always return my calls and answer any questions I had regarding my case. I would recommend Maragaret to anyone that may need her services.
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Posted by anonymous | August 2, 2013
Passion and Expertise
I came to Margaret's office 6 months ago not knowing which way was up. She immediately recognized the gravity of my situation and the need to respond immediately. Her and her team began drawing up the necessary paperwork that very evening to have it ready to file first thing in the morning. Margaret has unfailingly responded to every question and concern I have had, usually, within hours, sometimes immediately. Her love of the law and the art of practicing it is evident in everything she has done for me. The opposing attorney was consistently thwarted because she knew the intricacies of law and legal more thoroughly than he did. That's all well and good, but the thing that really made me love working with Ms. Held was her compassion and obvious passion to fight hard to right what she saw as an injustice. She cared about my well-being and the well-being of my children. At that time, our future was unknown and at risk. I needed an attorney who would fight for me and respond to my concerns. She was that attorney and that meant more to me than anything.
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Posted by anonymous | April 5, 2013
Why didn't I go to her first?
I’ve been to a lot of lawyers in Knoxville who said they could help but they all wound up taking my money and not getting me much of anything. I came to Margaret having very little hope that anyone could fix the mess I was in. As soon as I walked in the door, I knew I had made the right choice. She told me the truth, not what she thought I wanted to hear. She fixed the mess the other lawyers had made and then got me back where I wanted to be. I’ll always be grateful for the work she and the whole firm did. If you’re looking for help, don’t look any faurther you can’t go wrong with Margaret
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Posted by Heather | March 14, 2013
Absolute Highest Recommendation
I conducted extensive research, obtained recommendations, and interviewed numerous attorneys prior to hiring Ms. Held for my divorce. From the very beginning, it was clear that Ms. Held really stood out above her colleagues. Now that my divorce is finalized, I can honestly say that I was fortunate to have such an excellent attorney on my side. Ms. Held and her entire team were absolutely amazing. I always felt that Ms. Held had my best interests in mind, first and foremost. From my first meeting to the last, Ms. Held did everything possible to ensure a smooth, yet fair and equitable divorce. Ms. Held explained every last detail to me, answered numerous questions, and genuinely cared about the outcome of my divorce, all while caring about me as a person, both in terms of the present time (going through the divorce) and in preparing for the future. At all times, Ms. Held was enthusiastic but also realistic, which I greatly appreciated. Ms. Held was willing to meet with me in person, talk by telephone, or communicate through e-mail based on my preference. Her communication skills are outstanding, and she always responded to me immediately, even on the smallest of details. I was constantly provided with updates and always knew what was going on, from a letter being sent to the court date. I was 110% confident of everything that Ms. Held did throughout the entire course of my divorce. The total cost for the services for my divorce was considerably less than I was expecting. I can honestly say that for the level of service that I was provided, I would have expected to and would have been willing to pay more. The services that I was provided by Ms. Held were absolutely worth every single penny that I paid. Of note, Held Law Firm was diligent and meticulous with billing, which I appreciated. I received detailed bills explaining what services had been provided and the associated charges. To provide the most helpful review, I feel inclined to provide constructive criticism. I have spent considerable time thinking about this, and quite honestly, I cannot name a single aspect of my divorce or interaction with Ms. Held that I wished had been handled differently. I provide my absolute highest recommendation for Ms. Held. I would recommend Ms. Held to my closest friends or to family members without hesitation. Ms. Held’s communication skills, enthusiasm, personality, and services are clearly well above and beyond that of her colleagues.
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Posted by Vicki | October 2, 2012
Highly recommend
Margaret has been a strong and compassionate advocate in my divorce case. She has continuously made me feel at ease, supported me and kept me up to date. She answered questions in a timely manner with understanding and expertise. Margaret always listened to my concerns and dealt with my case with respect toward my individuality and needs. I would highly recommend Margaret Held.
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  • Hourly Rates $ 350-350 per hour
  • Retainer Sometimes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 7.4 (Very Good)

Professional misconduct

This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in 2020.

Censured issued in TN, 2020
updated on 09/24/2020

When an attorney is censured it means he or she did something wrong but may still practice law. Typically in this case the lawyer's poor behavior is exposed to the public in hopes that he or she will not repeat the behavior.

Work Experience

  • Managing Partner
  • Held Law Firm
  • 1998 - Present
  • Attorney
  • Knoxville Legal Aid Society
  • 1992 - 1998
  • Law clerk
  • Gilreath and Associates
  • 1989 - 1990
  • Law clerk
  • Mildred Cunningham, esq.
  • 1988 - 1990
  • Legal secretary
  • Rainwater, Humble and Vowell
  • 1988 - 1989
  • Legal secretary
  • Poore, Cox, Baker, Ray and Byrne
  • 1986 - 1987
  • File Clerk
  • Hunter, Smith and Davis
  • 1985 - 1986
View all work experience


  • University of Tennessee College of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1995
  • University of Tennessee, KnoxvilTennessee
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1990
  • Furman University
  • N/A

Legal Cases

  • Holley v. Holley
  • Won
  • Pruitt vs. city of Clinton
  • Settled for full relief.
  • Tracey v. Union county schools
  • Settled for all requested relief
View all legal cases


  • Knoxville Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1998 - Present
  • National Employment Lawyers Association (Illinois chapter)
  • Affiliate Member
  • 2001 - 2004
  • National association for public interest law
  • Fellow
  • 1995 - 1997

Honors and Awards

  • Patriotic Employer
  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
  • 2018
  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2014
  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2013
  • Peer rated "excellent" for ethics and professionalism
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2012
  • "Legal Eagle Award"
  • Tennessee Industrial Renewal Network
  • 1999
  • Annie Selwyn Award
  • Knoxville Women's Center
  • 1998
  • Equal Justice Award
  • National Association for Public Interest Law
  • 1996
  • Dean's list
  • University of Tennessee college of law
  • 1995
  • Public interest fellow
  • Tennessee bar foundation fellow
  • 1991
View all awards


  • Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review
  • Creating Jobs in Low Income Neighborhoods
  • 1997

Speaking Engagements

  • Family rights for same sex couples
  • Family rights for same sex couples
  • 2012
  • Continuing Legal Education Seminar
  • Family Law Rights for Gay and
  • 2012
  • interview with local media
  • Facebook and Divorce,
  • 2011
  • Ut college of law orientation
  • Careers in law
  • 2010
  • (private speech)
  • First Amendment and Public Education
  • 2003
  • private speech
  • Hate Crimes and Police Brutality Claims
  • 1998
  • stand-alone speech
  • Government Accountability for Economic Development Incentives
  • 1997
  • private speech
  • The Use of Public Benefits to Spur Economic Growth in Low Income
  • 1996
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (24)
Given (22)
Endorse Margaret
Divorce and separation Attorney | Apr 04
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Margaret has been a great mentor since I joined Held Law Firm. She cares about everything from her clients to her employees to the way the business operates, and takes great care to make sure she is advocating for those around her. She is a great advocate and has a knowledge of the rules that I can only hope to come close to one day."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Aug 10
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Margaret is an excellent attorney with a strong working knowledge of family law. I would highly recommend her to any prospective client needing competent guidance through the complex legal system."
Unknown Attorney | Oct 31
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I absolutely endorse Margaret. I worked with Margaret on an out-of-state divorce, which makes any divorce very difficult no matter the issues. Margaret was very professional and goal oriented, but fully advocated for her client at the same time. Any person seeking a divorce would greatly benefit having Margaret on their side."
Discrimination Attorney | Aug 16
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Margaret is a joy to work with. She fights zealously for her clients, but is practical and solution-oriented. This combination means that her clients are getting the best representation possible. I highly recommend her."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jun 19
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Ms. Held is very knowledgeable about all aspects of the law and works hard to get positive results for her clients. She is a very innovative thinker when it comes to resolving issues. I would readily endorse Ms. Held."
Child support Attorney | Jun 12
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I recommend Margaret Held and her firm for providing great domestic relations representation. Margaret is a tireless advocate and a creative strategist. She cares about her clients and has high ethical standards. I highly recommend her."
Family Attorney | Jun 01
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Margaret knows the law and works diligently on every case. I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jan 17
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I accepted a position with Held Law Firm because of the firm's reputation for zealous advocacy. Margaret has built both a strong personal practice as well as a successful firm though hard work and diligence. Her energy level is unbelievable. I'm glad to be associated with such a reputable firm."
Child custody Attorney | Jul 14
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I recently worked with Margaret on a child custody case. In addition to having a strong knowledge of custody law in Tennessee, Margaret was a tenacious advocate for her client. However, Margaret also spent untold hours working with my office to find a workable solution for the Parties' case. I would highly recommend Margaret as an attorney or mediator for any divorce/custody case."
Employment and labor Attorney | Jun 02
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Margaret is an awesome colleague. She brings intelligence and insight to the table with a perspective that is unique in our field. It is rare to find a true advocate in a profession that can often get lost in the day to day legal business."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jun 09
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 06
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Nov 15
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. She is always passionate behind her causes. Even as an adversary, I respect and enjoy working with the tough attorney."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Apr 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Mar 25
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Margaret is passionate about her clients. She is very thorough and works very hard to protect her clients' interests."
Probate Attorney | Mar 05
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer."
Child custody Attorney | Nov 04
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I fully endorse Margaret Held. She dots every i and crosses every t. She will ethically fight for her clients by building her client's case as thoroughly as possible. More importantly, in custody cases, she will consider the children she is fighting for and will not take positions on behalf of a client that would be harmful to a child."
Child custody Attorney | Oct 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. The first time I met attorney Margaret Held, I was a recently-licensed attorney watching juvenile court proceedings and happened to observe a portion of one of her cases. Ms. Held's litigation skills were among the strongest I have ever seen. Her cross-examination was polished, organized, and effective. Ms. Held and her firm are well-respected in the Knoxville legal community, and deservedly so. She is an excellent advocate in family law and custody matters!"
Family Attorney | May 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Margaret is always quick to respond and will always ensure the best result possible for her clients. Margaret is able to be easy to work with while at the same time aggressively advocating her her client's rights."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Dec 27
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Margaret loves what she does and is really good at it to boot. I've learned more form her than could fit in an endorsement box, but suffice it to say she's as good as they come.If someone is looking for ethics, skill, and honesty they don't need to look any farther."
View more endorsements
Divorce and separation
Juvenile law
Criminal defense
Criminal defense
Contracts and agreements
Juvenile law
Child custody
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation