Barbara Ellen Handschu, Special Counsel to the firm, is recognized as a leader in the national matrimonial bar associations. She is a graduate of New York University where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She was graduated from the law school of the University of Michigan. After law school she handled civil rights and criminal law cases, including the defense of the Attica prisoners which led her to establish an office in Buffalo, New York. She started her concentration in family law-related cases, both trials and appeals, in the late 1970’s.
Ms. Handschu has been very active in national and statewide bar associations. She was national President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers after serving some six years as the Academy’s Vice-President, First Vice-President and President-Elect. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Academy Journal (a law review publication) and continues to serve on the Journal Board where she has been an Editor since its inception. Ms. Handschu was the first woman to be elected to Chair the Family Law Section of the New York Bar Association. She also was the first woman to serve as President of the New York State chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
A founding Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers (limited to 100 family law practioners in the U.S.) Ms. Handschu also was a founding Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Ms. Handschu has lectured extensively throughout the United States to diverse audiences, including lectures to the judiciary on such issues as interstate child custody jurisdiction and the relocation of children. She regularly presents to New York Judges at their Judicial Seminars. She has published articles on family law matters including appellate oral advocacy, relocation of children, jurisdictional disputes and trial presentations. She has a bi-monthly column in the National Law Journal on unique family law issues.
For more than two decades Ms. Handschu taught and co-chaired the American Bar Association’s Advanced Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston. She estimates that she has trained more than 1,000 lawyers to be more effective family law trial lawyers during that time. Ms. Handschu has served on the Joint Editorial Board of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, since the Board was created as a family law “think tank.” She was responsible for the introduction and ultimate enactment of New York’s Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
Ms. Handschu has represented individual clients in family law disputes. She has served in an advisory capacity to lawyers in New York and elsewhere and also has appeared in all four of the Appellate Courts throughout New York State. She has been featured in Super Lawyers and been named by Woodward White as one of the Best Lawyers in America.