Steven N. Peskind

Biography

steven-n-peskind

I have practiced family law continuously for over 34 years

My late father, David P. Peskind, was a general civil lawyer. He taught me many things about life and the law. By his example I learned that kindness and professional effectiveness are not mutually exclusive; one can be both dignified and still be a successful advocate. He also taught me the importance of persistence and patience. I live my life by those principles.

I studied literature and philosophy at Tulane University in New Orleans. I was a huge fan of Jack Kerouac and Beat Literature. I also loved Modern Poetry. After college I returned home to Chicago to attend law school at DePaul University. While there I observed many great trial lawyers practicing at the Daley Center and Dirksen Federal Courthouse. My first professional job was with the renowned Chicago tort lawyer, Susan Loggans. Susan taught me the importance of self-confidence and to seek professional excellence. She always urged me to push beyond my comfort zones. She was a huge influence on my later success.

I have also had other brilliant mentors. Lynne Z. Gold-Bikin and Stephen Kolodny, my instructors at the ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute, taught me the correct way to try a divorce case. They terrified and inspired me to greatness. From Monroe Inker, the best of the best, I learned to ceaselessly study trial advocacy and other professional improvement texts (I still follow that advice today). He also taught me the silence can sometimes be deadly in a courtroom. From my dear friend Anita Ventrelli, I learned the importance of having allies in a sometimes ruthless profession. Her friendship has enriched me professionally and personally. H. Joseph Gitlin taught me the joy of an academic approach to family law and how to live well despite the pressures of the practice. He was truly a gentleman lawyer. Finally I would like to acknowledge my friend and trial guru, Mark Caldwell, with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Both Mark and the brilliant faculty at the Trial Institute continuously educate and galvanize me.

Besides these primary sources, I have been schooled by the excellent lawyers and judges I have practiced with over the years. I consider most of them my friends and am grateful for the battle scars they have inflicted, making me a better lawyer.

In addition to my mentors and adversaries, I attribute much professional and personal success to three skills: life-long learning, Kaizen, and a positive mental attitude.

As a life-long learner, I habitually study literature, philosophy, poetry and other wisdom literature. All of these subjects provide insight into the human condition and help to improve my critical thinking. Regular study has helped me thrive on the front lines of the human drama called family law for decades.

Kaizen is the Japanese word for “constant and continuous improvement.” I love learning better ways of doing things and am a devoted follower of Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris. I am constantly refining my life and my systems “to do it better.” Excellence is a process rather than a destination.

Finally I work hard to maintain an optimistic and positive attitude to neutralize the negativity of a family law practice. I am a committed student of Stoic Philosophy and Zen Buddhism, both of which I read daily. Most of our problems result from poor thinking and these disciplines help me to see circumstances more clearly.

My law practice, Peskind Law Firm, based in St. Charles Illinois, continues to grow and thrive. I eagerly anticipate challenging legal issues and love working on complex cases. In particular, I love trial work but I am equally in the zone at the appellate court. I have been fortunate to work with many interesting and intelligent clients. I admire their strength under difficult circumstances. Many have become my good friends after the divorce.

Beside the practice, my other passion is writing and teaching. I have written five books on family law related topics and am working on my sixth. I serve on the faculty of the Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute in Boulder Colorado. The Institute is presented annually by the ABA Family Law Section and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. The Institute teaches divorce lawyers the art and science of trying family law cases. I love the opportunity to review the fundamentals and intensively hone my trial skills each year. I also lecture on family law trial skills around the country.

I have been married to Susan for over thirty years. She is the key to my professional success and personal happiness. Sue is my cheerleader when I need a boost and an honest critic when I occasionally veer off the path. She is my life partner and inspiration. We have three children, all involved in the law. We are also blessed with three beautiful grandsons and two sweet and mischievous pitbulls.