DePaul University College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude (2007)
Indiana University, B.S. cum laude (2004)
Northwestern University, Certificate in Mediation (2013)
Additional Courses
Harvard University, Program on Negotiation/AAML (2019)
Advanced Cross Examination Program, National Family Law Trial Institute (2014)
Family Law Trial Advocacy Program, National Family Law Trial Institute (2012)

Brendan Hammer is a partner with Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP. He is an experienced and acclaimed trial lawyer in the field of family law, widely praised for his creative and psychologically sophisticated approach to litigation.

Brendan represents a wide variety of individuals, from executives, entrepreneurs, and medical, legal and creative professionals to political figures, professional athletes, and their spouses. He concentrates his practice on the litigation of sophisticated family law matters including high conflict parenting disputes, the valuation and division of assets, fraud and dissipation claims, complex compensation structures, spousal challenges to trust and estate plans, and high net worth maintenance and child support.

Clients turn to Brendan for proven, innovative, and effective litigation results. Brendan’s distinct focus on courtroom advocacy marks him as a notable presence in the Chicago family law field. Brendan’s clients know that he brings a unique perspective and set of abilities to his trial practice, drawing equally upon his wealth of experience litigating complicated family law matters and his background in the performing arts.

  • Crain’s, Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago, 2017
  • The Best Lawyers in America® for the practice of Family Law, 2019 – Present
  • H-Texas Magazine, Top Family Lawyers in Houston, 2016
  • Super Lawyers 2021
  • Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2012-2015
  • Leading Lawyers Network
  • Emerging Lawyers, 2015 – 2018
  • Leading Lawyers, 2018 – Present
  • Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch, 2012
  • Illinois
  • Texas (Inactive Status)
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
  • Chair of the Advisory Board of DePaul University College of Law / SDF Family Law Center
  • Advisory Council – David Lynch Foundation Chicago, member

Brendan is also a well-regarded presenter and teacher who speaks, educates, and publishes on various trial-related matters including cross-examination, evidence, the performance aspects of litigation, trial techniques, and oral argument. Since 2019, Brendan has served on the faculty of the National Family Law Trial Institute. In response to the recent COVID-19 crisis, Brendan volunteers for a self-represented litigant program started by the Honorable Grace G. Dickler, Presiding Judge Domestic Relations Division. The program assists those without legal representation in the navigation of coronavirus-related case concerns via phone.

Brendan firmly believes that family law litigation requires more than just legal sophistication. In a field where the use of a traditional, symmetrical approach to the adversarial process is still the norm, Brendan utilizes a unique and comprehensive strategy in litigation that draws upon his keen understanding of human emotion, decision-making models, cognitive biases, performance, and persuasion. At all times, Brendan maintains his approach with a deeply pragmatic and analytical grasp of how litigation operates in reality, as opposed to theory.

Representative Cases That Brendan Has Litigated:

  • Successful defense of fraud claims brought by former spouse regarding valuation and sale of business owner’s company
  • Successful defense against spousal challenges to multi-generational family estate plan
  • Successful obtainment of relocation of mother and child to North Carolina, despite father exercising close to equal parenting time
  • Successful reduction by 80% and then eventually terminated long-term maintenance award of spouse of business executive
  • Successful litigation of substantial downward deviation in child support for professional athlete
  • Successful litigation of numerous motions for summary judgment regarding the characterization of business interests, trusts, and executive compensation
  • Successful litigation of numerous high-conflict, complex child custody, and parenting matters involving significant mental health and substance abuse components


  • American Bar Association (Family Law and Litigation Sections), Member
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Member
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member
  • State Bar of Texas, Member
  • DuPage County Bar Association, Member
  • Everything You Need to Know and Do if There is an Entity or Trust in Your Case – co-author of presentation with Sherri A. Evans and Taylor Toombs Imel (Koons Fuller, P.C.), 39th Annual Marriage Dissolution Institute, State Bar of Texas, 2016
  • “Insights and Tactics for Remote Litigation in Family Law,” CBA Fall 2020 (Co-Presentation)
  • “Tips and Warnings in Remote Evidentiary Hearings,” DCBA, Fall 2020 (Co-Presentation)
  • “How to Cross Examine a Witness,” Chicago Bar Association, Winter 2015 (Co-Presentation)
  • “Williams v. Illinois and Forensic Evidence,” 77th Annual Conference of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Summer 2014 (Co-Presentation)

Podcast: Irreconcilable Differences