Aug 16, 2019

Remembering David Hopkins: Family Law Leader, Domestic Violence Advocate and Dog Lover

David Hopkins, a partner at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP, passed away at the age of 75 on August 7, 2019, following a brave battle with cancer.

David was a beloved colleague who was an extraordinarily passionate advocate for his clients, especially those who had been affected by domestic violence.

“David was always very determined and protective of our clients’ rights,” said Founding Partner Donald Schiller. “Clients would always compliment David’s loyalty and determination to help them.”

Over the course of his career, David specialized in divorce taxation, and he contributed to a number of legislative improvements on laws affecting divorcing couples at the state and federal levels. From 1980 to 1986, David chaired the American Bar Association’s Tax Section's Domestic Relations Tax Simplification Task Force, which spearheaded divorce tax reforms to the Internal Revenue Code. He also chaired a task force that re-wrote the Illinois Domestic Violence Act and received the Board of Governors’ Award from the Illinois State Bar Association for related work. Perhaps most notably, David was a founder of The Weitzman Center, a support and networking organization for victims of domestic violence.

David earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1966 and then attended Columbia Law School where he received his J.D. in 1969. He began practicing law in Chicago at McDermott Will & Emery before joining Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, where he would remain throughout the rest of his distinguished career.

At Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, David was dedicated to developing young talent and focusing on the future legacy of the firm’s elite practice. “David was a mentor to me and a lot of my contemporaries,” said Managing Partner Meighan Harmon. “He was very proud of having been a major contributor to the growth of the firm, and so he was invested in the legacy of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck in a very passionate way, always a champion for training and supporting younger people. He really invested in all of us.”

Known for his integrity and great passion for his work, David amassed a number of impressive honors over the course of his career. He was named among the Best Lawyers in America© from 2010 to 2019, recognized by Illinois Super Lawyers from 2005 to 2019, and by Illinois Leading Lawyers from 2003 to 2018. David also served as chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Section Council and as Chair of the Chicago Bar Association's Matrimonial Law Committee. Additionally, he was a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s Board of Managers and served on the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors.  

Even with all of his achievements, David was not one who felt the need to dominate the spotlight, but rather was eager to share in success. Sarane Siewerth, a former partner of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck and colleague of David’s for nearly 25 years, recalls her many fond memories working with him, including the time when he asked her to co-present at a major tax conference at Notre Dame University. “He was so willing to give other people a chance at greater exposure in the field,” Siewerth said. “He certainly didn’t have to do that, but that was the way he treated people. He was confident in his own abilities that he didn’t need to take the limelight even when it was offered to him.”

Outside the office, Siewerth shared fond memories of David’s pastime that was more a passion project than a hobby: breeding and training champion English Springer Spaniels. 

“David never let a puppy go to anyone that he hadn’t interviewed and approved. That’s just David. He took such care with his dog breeding that he wasn’t going to give a dog to anyone he hadn’t interviewed himself and who would not treat the dog the way it should be treated,” Siewerth said, noting that her family had four dogs bred by David over the years. “That same care that he took with his cases also showed in how he cared for his dogs.”

In addition to being a beloved colleague and friend, David will be remembered as a loving husband to his wife Marie of 47 years, a caring father to his two children, Christopher and Melissa, and a beloved grandfather of three. He will also be fondly remembered as the brother of Jay and Richard.

At Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, David will be remembered for many of his accomplishments and contributions to the practice of family law, but more importantly, as a kind, generous and just man.  “He’s somebody we’ll miss very, very much,” said Schiller.

David’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The American Cancer Society or to The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation.

A visitation will be held Friday, August 16, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Hallowell & James Funeral Home, 1025 W. 55th St. in Countryside, Ill. Interment will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 17, at All Saints Cemetery, 700 N. River Road in Des Plaines, Ill.

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