Dec 6, 2021

Our Heartfelt Loss Of Arnold B. Stein

Our dear partner Arnold (Arnie) Stein passed away on Tuesday, November 23, 2021at the age of 73 in Boca Raton, Florida. He fought a long and valiant battle with a cancer of plasma cells known as multiple myeloma. He is survived by his loving wife Gail, daughter Jennifer (Judd Goodman), and two precious grandchildren Charlie and Jordan. He was preceded in death by his son Jeffrey, who passed away in 2019.

Arnie was one of the first lawyers to join Schiller DuCanto & Fleck after it was formed in 1981. He rose very quickly in the firm becoming a senior partner as well as our Managing Partner for a number of years. He was a wonderful attorney, mentor, and friend to many. When he joined the firm, Arnie brought with him incredible business and financial acumen which helped elevate the firm and attracted many affluent clientele the firm serves today. Over the course of his 40+ year career, Arnie built a reputation as a fierce and highly respected litigator specializing in complex business issues and valuations in divorce cases. Passionate about helping others and protecting his clients’ assets, he had the expertise to skillfully guide his clients towards the path that best suited their needs, whether through a negotiated resolution or navigating contentious legal proceedings when necessary. Impeccably honest, goal driven, and competitive, Arnie wanted to see his clients satisfied as well as thrive after divorce.

Respected and beloved by not only his fellow partners, associates at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, but also by the entire legal community, his impact on the family law community is exemplified by comments made by our Chief Judge, Honorable Grace G. Dickler, the presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

In a letter to family law colleagues of all backgrounds, Judge Dickler said, “I remember meeting Arnie when I was a young judge new to the Division. He always looked younger than his years and had a certain mischievous Leave it to Beaver look about him. One could easily be disarmed by the way he looked and acted. He had absolutely no ego. He was never boastful. Thus, it was only after seeing him arguing motions or trying a case, that one realized the extent of his brilliance as a practitioner.”

Dickler continues, “Arnie’s most notable characteristic was his passion for helping others. Whether it was to protect a vulnerable client or mentor a new attorney at the firm or beyond, Arnie was always there, willing to help. In speaking to lawyers inside and outside the firm, he was described as honorable, ethical, a lawyer’s lawyer, one of those attorneys that gave lawyers a good name that made one proud to be a lawyer. No one had a negative word about Arnie.  He was the type of lawyer that we should all aspire to become.”

Known for his business valuation and financial expertise, Arnie, for many years, mentored and trained individual attorneys about business valuation. Sharing his knowledge with others was something he genuinely enjoyed. He worked extensively with the Illinois State Bar and the American Bar Association dealing with trial practice. He also put on mock trials, lectured, authored numerous articles on the importance of strong business and financial knowledge in high net worth divorce cases. Also, in complex cases, it is many times difficult to differentiate between marital and non-marital property. Finding and tracing assets has a very large effect on a divorce case’s outcome. Clients could rest assured that Arnie knew exactly how to trace and untangle the web of financial statements, tax documents, and retirement accounts to set them up for success.

“Those of us that had the opportunity to work with Arnie over the years, have all been blessed by learning from one of the very best—and I am grateful to know that in some small way his legacy lives on in the many lawyers and clients whose lives he has touched over the years,” said Meighan Harmon, Managing Partner of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck.

Senior Partner Anita Ventrelli said, “to sit in his office watching everything he did for 9 months after law school graduation gave me lifelong fond memories of the time he took explaining everything to me and having strategy sessions with me. I owe so much to him.”

Donald Schiller, co-founder of our firm, said, “Arnie was absolutely part of the foundation of our firm. He made great contributions to what the firm is today. I will miss him very much.”

In addition to mentoring attorneys, Arnie worked closely with accountants and business valuators. He was asked by many of them to train them on how to become better at their work as well as be better witnesses to get their points across. The American Institute of CPAs, the Illinois CPA Society, and others asked for his help with developing skills and how to do effective direct and cross examinations.

Arnie’s reputation extended to handling complex divorce matters in Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Missouri, Arizona, New York, and California as well as here in Illinois.

Arnie was voted by his peers as one of the top 100 lawyers in the State of Illinois by Leading Lawyers, and was named to the Illinois Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America lists for more than 30 years. In addition to representing clients, he lectured extensively and presented many workshops on trial-oriented topics.

Arnie earned his Juris Doctor with high honors from Northwestern University in 1974 and his Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois in 1970.

Arnie was an amalgamation of expertise, experience, skill, and empathy. He truly cared about others and was devoted to his work, clients, and colleagues. Arnie epitomized the ideals of our profession yet never compromised his dedication as a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He will be deeply missed.

To view Arnie’s obituary in the Chicago Tribune, visit here.

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