Martin Sliwinski joined Stern Perkoski Mendez as an Associate Attorney in 2020 and practices exclusively in divorce and family law.
He comes to Stern Perkoski Mendez with rich experience in high-conflict cases, as well as complex financial analysis. But what really draws him to family law is the opportunity for human connection as he works diligently to support his clients.
Learn more about Martin’s dedication to divorce and family law in the interview below.
Q: Which areas of family law do you specialize in?
Martin: I work on a variety of family cases ranging from high-conflict parties fighting for parental rights to low-conflict clients working out an agreement primarily between themselves. These low-conflict clients may require an attorney to assist them in dividing marital assets if they have highly complex business asset and income structures.
I have always gravitated toward cases with complex financial disputes. While many of my peers became attorneys to avoid math, I love the statistics, formulas and finance side of law. It’s vital I understand how a client’s income or business functions to obtain successful financial results in a divorce. As part of an accelerated program in college, I studied Economics and Government before attending law school. This gave me a potent mix of policy and financial knowledge that now enables me to guide a client toward the most beneficial results.
Regardless of conflict level or financial complexity, I always aim to ensure a client’s position and voice are heard; their interests and assets are protected; and their cost and risk are minimized.
Q: What do you do at the office?
Martin: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I spent time in various court rooms in various counties in Illinois, and frequently met with clients in person. However, adapting to the changes brought on by the pandemic, I now utilize Zoom to move from one courtroom to the next—and I schedule more phone and video conferences with clients to meet their needs.
I also take great pride in drafting legal pleadings, parenting plans and settlement agreements. When drafting pleadings, I focus on incorporating a client’s facts and wishes, as well as including a clear explanation of legal precedent and binding case law. Pleadings can be a Court’s first impression of an issue, and they are critical to establishing the tone and direction of a case. Therefore, I draft pleadings with tremendous care and robust arguments.
Q: Why did you choose family law?
Martin: I have known I wanted to practice law since the age of fourteen. I avidly participated in my high school’s mock trial team and devoted serious amounts of time to practicing crossing witnesses, making opening and closing arguments and presenting evidence to a mock court. I was also deeply involved in my high school’s public policy debate team and traveled for many tournaments. I found myself successful early on in my ability to formulate and convey arguments, use evidence and conduct research. Throughout my time at Cornell, I knew that law school was the end goal—and I never deterred from my path to becoming an attorney.
I didn’t know what specific field of law I wanted to practice until my first year of law school. I had a wonderful experience serving as the direct extern to the Honorable Helaine L. Berger, who worked in the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. Under her guidance, I received insight into the inner workings of the Domestic Relations Division and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act—and witnessed and reviewed countless family law cases.
Despite clerking for a corporate law firm and a securities law firm in future years, I always found myself longing to return to the deeply human connection that I experienced each day when I worked in the field of family law. As such, I decided to commit myself to family law and supporting clients through divorce.
Q: What is something you want your clients to know?
Martin: Clients should know that nothing is more important to me than my role as my client’s zealous and uncompromising attorney to pursue the best outcome.
Clients are my first priority. Divorce court is often stressful and emotional, and I am present to provide answers and guidance to achieve my client’s goals. I provide a logical approach that enables me to find innovative and creative solutions to complex problems, with an understanding that every divorce and every client is unique.
I take personal satisfaction in applying and adapting honed skills to new problems. Each case is personal, and I treat it with the respect and attention it deserves.
Q: What do you enjoy most about the firm?
Martin: An incredible lake view early in the morning from the office.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?
Martin: I am a proud pet owner and spend time training my newfound Aussie-doodle puppy to run through agility training courses. I enjoy the outdoors; whenever possible I enjoy running, biking and hiking to stay in shape and to train my body and mind.
I am guided by the words of a former mentor who told me that, “when everything feels like an uphill struggle, think about the view from the top.” I find this quote just as applicable to divorce as it is to my life outside of the office: when everything feels like an uphill struggle, the goals that a client wants to reach in the end always motivate me to move forward.