Our Team

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Our Team

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Our Philosophy

At Joint Custody Advocates, we pride ourselves on taking a personal approach with each and every client. We don’t treat people as numbers. We provide a service that is caring, professional, and tailored to your specific needs. We realize that you are in a difficult situation and our priority is to ensure we do our best for you.

Each case we deal with varies in terms of complexity and in order to ensure smooth-sailing, we know that we need to build relationships with all concerned parties. Our attorneys are adept at forming alliances while also negotiating aggressively, which means that the whole legal process will be easier on you. Collectively, our team has extensive experience and a high degree of skill when it comes to custody proceedings.

To help you to familiarize yourself with our legal team, we have provided an in-depth bio about each of our team members. This will enable you to learn more about their experience, how they operate, the type of work they get involved with, and much more. So read on and learn about our caring, professional team.

Our Philosophy

At Joint Custody Advocates, we pride ourselves on taking a personal approach with each and every client. We don’t treat people as numbers. We provide a service that is caring, professional, and tailored to your specific needs. We realize that you are in a difficult situation and our priority is to ensure we do our best for you.

Each case we deal with varies in terms of complexity and in order to ensure smooth-sailing, we know that we need to build relationships with all concerned parties. Our attorneys are adept at forming alliances while also negotiating aggressively, which means that the whole legal process will be easier on you. Collectively, our team has extensive experience and a high degree of skill when it comes to custody proceedings.

To help you to familiarize yourself with our legal team, we have provided an in-depth bio about each of our team members. This will enable you to learn more about their experience, how they operate, the type of work they get involved with, and much more. So read on and learn about our caring, professional team.

What's your position at the Law Office of Robert B. Buchanan?

Founder/Lead Attorney

Who is your biggest influence?

Without question, my father. He passed away from pancreatic cancer in September 2018. He was a great man – a kind, hardworking, ethical, and respectful man. He taught me to believe in myself and my ideas. He taught me the power of non-judgment and encouragement.

Losing my father was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. I slept next to his bed in the hospital, the last four days of his life. I saw the pure love he had for my mom, my sister, and I. I saw his strength, insightfulness, and unrelenting compassion.

Every day I try and honor what my dad taught me about how to treat other people.

When are you in your element at work?

When I’m bridge building. Even in the most contentious cases, there are common interests. I excel at finding those interests and facilitating understanding between the parties. An effective custody attorney is first and foremost a diplomat.

My job is to stop the war and bring peace – for the sake of the children. Only 2% of cases go to trial. Why? Because it is so detrimental to the family unit, unnecessary, and avoidable. If you have a personal injury or criminal matter, you need a bulldog or a shark as a lawyer. If you have a custody matter, you need an attorney who is skilled at high-level negotiation. That’s my wheelhouse.

When are you in your element outside of work?

When outside – in nature. I grew up next to a National Seashore in Northern California on a dirt road. I love exploring, hiking, and getting a good workout outdoors.

What do think everyone should know about the custody or divorce process from your perspective?

That 98% of cases settle, and the process is most constructive if each side is willing to compromise. But that doesn’t mean you are compromising from your current position.

If you are currently locked-out of meaningful parenting time, a good attorney can resolve that issue and create a new power balance between you and the other parent. Once you hire a lawyer, your leverage and negotiation power will change – often substantially and for the better.

What are educational, professional, or life-event highlights that you'd like prospective clients to know about?
  • Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley
  • Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent graduating in the top 25% of my class
  • 300+ families assisted through domestic relations court
  • I lived in Brazil and learned Portuguese in my early twenties, backpacked in South America, lived on a farm in Italy, grew up in a small beach town in Northern California, I have lived in Chicago for 10 years, I’m married and starting a family
What's your position at the Law Office of Robert B. Buchanan?

Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

What is your greatest strength that you bring to this team?

I have pride in my own work, pride and confidence in our team. My years in the legal profession have given me the skill of relentless follow through. My follow through helps rebut the adage of “Murphy’s Law” – whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.  I am convinced that one can intercept problems at the first sight of “Murphy’s Law” to get things back on track.

What does a typical day at the Law Office of Robert B. Buchanan look like for you?

In the world of custody and divorce litigation, it is difficult to describe a typical day because each morning brings something new.

Generally, the first task of the day is to ensure that my managing attorney, Robert Buchanan, has everything he needs for court by reviewing the files that are up in court that day.

Once he’s off to Court, I complete a variety of tasks including filing documents, docketing orders, following up with clients and potential new clients, and before you know it, it’s lunch!

I always go out for lunch!  My lunch hour is my “down time”, and regardless of the weather, I try to get out for fresh air and walk through downtown, treating myself to different restaurants for lunch where I come back after lunch refreshed and ready for the remainder of the day.

In the afternoon, I will help in addressing any immediate issues that came up from court in the morning. I may be on the phone most of the afternoon, drafting and filing, or meeting with my team to ensure we are dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s!

I’m usually at the office until near 6:00 p.m. and sometimes after.  I like staying after everyone leaves to clear my desk and be at a good starting point for the next day.  It also helps to let the traffic die down a bit, and then jump on the Number 14 Jeffery Jump Express for a pleasant end-of-the-day ride South, down Lake Shore Drive to end my day and arrive at  home, quickly changing from my old-school business suits and dresses which I love, to my sweat pants and sweat shirts – which I also love.

When are you in your element at work?

When I am helping people.  I trained as a court reporter in college, and spent over 35 years working in law firms as a Legal Secretary/Legal Assistant.  However, I also thought about and was encouraged to go to law school when people would listen to my layman’s advice and see that in addition to having some basic knowledge about the law, I truly care about what is going in people’s lives.  

I have flying fingers from my court reporting dexterity, and have always loved the atmosphere of an office, knowing that I contributed to my team being successful in helping people at one of the most crucial and emotional times in their lives. 

Sometimes the unpleasant tug-of-war that goes on between two people when they are in the throes of divorce or custody and other kinds of emotional issues can wear on clients, but I always assure them that we’re working to get them the best possible outcome for their particular situations.  I’m always rooting for a successful outcome for our clients, but also an outcome where everyone comes out “whole” in the end regardless of who wins or who loses any particular issue, especially where there are children involved.

When are you in your element outside of work?

I love listening to live Blues bands when I can get out for entertainment. I like nice restaurants. I enjoy people and enjoy talking to people.  Once I was talking to someone at a concession stand downtown where I frequently stopped in to make various sundry purchases.  When the person left the store, the owner felt that we had had such a friendly conversation that he thought I knew the person, and asked, “Does he work with you in your building?”  And my response, “No, I’ve never seen him before in my life.”  But that’s just who I am . . . I genuinely enjoy talking to people and helping in whatever way I can. 

What do think everyone should know about the custody or divorce process from your perspective?

That once clients settle into knowing that they have a competent attorney and team working for the best solution in their case’s circumstances, they relax and accept that the custody or divorce procedures are a “process”, and that no matter how stressful it may initially appear to be, “This too shall pass” . . . with your attorney giving your case the utmost professional, legal and empathetic attention for the best possible outcome.

What are educational, professional, or life-event highlights that you'd like prospective clients to know about?
  • Honor Student throughout Parker High School (South side of Chicago);
  • Associates Degree in Court Reporting,
  • 35 years of experience working in law firms throughout downtown Chicago, from working with very major and large law firms that employed from 200 to 500 attorneys, plus support staff, to working with the solo practitioner, one-woman office lawyer.
  • I have lived on the South side of Chicago for my entire life (born at the old Michael Reese Hospital), was married, now widowed, with a daughter who resides in Los Angeles and two grown grandchildren who reside in Atlanta.
What's your position at the Law Office of Robert B. Buchanan?

Law Clerk (i.e. Law Student) – If all goes according to plan, I’ll be licensed in November of 2019.

What is your greatest strength that you bring to this team?

I am empathetic, diligent, and patient. Communication is key – I do my best to work around client’s schedules even if it means coming in on a Sunday to respond to a discovery request or staying late for a telephone conference after a client gets off work.

What does a typical day at the Law Office of Robert B. Buchanan look like for you?

I begin by checking my emails and voicemails as soon as I get to the office. I try my best to make sure that I answer any questions anyone may have regarding a pleading/motion, procedure, or upcoming court date.

After that, I begin working on any tasks assigned to me. Tasks can include anything from legal research, drafting pre-trial memorandums, drafting and revising petitions or motions, communicating with clients regarding upcoming court dates, and more.

After my work day is done, I pick up my 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee and head to class or hit the books.

When are you in your element at work?

When I am learning something new or improving a particular skill. I enjoy reviewing case files and spotting potential issues and important facts and considering how to incorporate those facts into pleadings. I also enjoy communicating with clients. I want to help our clients feel comfortable asking questions and understand what is going on with their cases.

When are you in your element outside of work?

When I am around other people or being active. I love yoga, running, exploring new places, and spending time with my friends and family.

What do think everyone should know about the custody or divorce process from your perspective?

Everyone has questions. Clients should never be afraid of asking questions. If you have procedural or personal questions, chances are others have the same questions, too. The more you understand your case, the easier it will be for those assisting you to do their jobs. Our team focuses on transparency, which helps clients understand exactly what is being done in connection with their cases.

What are educational, professional, or life-event highlights that you'd like prospective clients to know about?
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law, and Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago, cum laude;
  • J.D. Candidate at Chicago-Kent College of Law where I was philanthropy chair of Chicago-Kent’s Society of Women in Law and a member of the nationally ranked Trial Advocacy Team (ranked #4 nationally) and personally won “Best Opening Statement” at The Hofstra Medical-Legal Competition in New York;
  • I volunteered 480 hours this past summer with the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and represented litigants as a 711-licensed attorney in domestic violence matters; 
  • I was a judicial extern for the Honorable Mark J. Lopez, Domestic Relations Division, where I researched and wrote bench memoranda, drafted court orders, interviewed pro se litigants regarding any outstanding issues before they stepped up in court, and observed and assisted with courtroom proceedings and pretrial conferences.

What our clients have to say

I hired Bobby because my friend, an attorney, recommended him, and told me he would be honest and would save me money. That is exactly what happened. Because of Bobby’s excellent knowledge of the law, and because he genuinely kept my best interests in mind, my ex-husband and I quickly agreed on the division of our assets. Bobby wrote up the agreement, and I think we saved tens of thousands of dollars. My divorce was done in less than a month after our first consultation with Bobby.

Our one and only day in court was eye-opening. Sitting there in the courtroom, seeing cases that have dragged on for years, I felt so proud and smart to have avoided all that drama and expense. In another couple’s case that I observed, the judge said, “Go have your lawyer re-write this document. I can’t read this chicken scratch.” I’m so glad that nothing like that happened to us, because of Bobby’s excellent write-up. Our case went very smoothly. I am very thankful for Bobby’s excellent advice and expertise, for his commitment to saving me time and money, and for doing an overall outstanding job

MASHA KOCHERGINSKY

Have questions?

Contact us

180 N. LaSalle St., Ste. 3700, Chicago, IL 60601

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