Attorney Profiles - Child:Muller Davis

Muller Davis

Senior Counsel

"My father was a divorce lawyer and I became very eager to work with him," Muller Davis recalls. "I am an only child and was very close to my father. It was a great and happy learning experience being in the business and practicing law with the wise lawyer that he was." Davis had first worked at Jenner & Block, but credits working alongside his father with imparting a formative understanding: getting to know clients requires sitting down and listening to them.

"At Davis Friedman, we try to practice at a very high level, which includes a high ethical standard. We're sensitive to our clients' important issues and we are very well prepared when we go into a negotiation or a court hearing. Were realistic when telling a client what would constitute a good outcome. We try to settle cases because that is often the best resolution for clients, particularly when the costs of litigation, emotional distress and interests of the children are considered."

In Davis' view, "For many people today, a sense of dissatisfaction permeates their lives. People go into the divorce more anxious and bitter." Davis says the most anxiety-inducing issues tend to be those concerning economics and children, but notes that "all kinds of things seem to irritate people. The critical thing to keep in mind is the best interests of our clients and their children. But if we are trying to settle a case," he adds, "we also have to think about the interests of our opponent."

Davis notes that the law has changed dramatically during his 50-year tenure. It has taken on a complexity that he understands in a uniquely authoritative way: He has written with Jody Meyer Yazici every edition of The Illinois Practice of Family Law, a two-volume work first published in 1994 that is taught in Illinois law schools and referred to as "The Bible" by family law attorneys and judges throughout the State. "We practice under a no-fault law that is a great deal more codified than it was," he notes.

But as family law gets increasingly technical and complex, Davis finds that many opinions are rooted in overly simplistic and unenlightened assumptions. "There has been a ridiculous expectation that women who have been out of the marketplace for 20 years, focusing their lives on caring for children, can just walk back into the workplace and compete at the same level as their former husbands." He observes that he always supported "making maintenance payments more adequate and even-handed," and thinks that — rather than dividing standards along gender lines — this matter is better addressed today based on individual need, income and circumstances.

Reflecting on the journey thats taken him from his father's side into founding his own practice, Davis says warmly, "I like all of it. It's an ideal way to try to help people and earn a living at the same time. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to do so for all these years."

Admitted to the Bar

1960, Illinois; 1961, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Education

Phillips Exeter Academy, 1953

Yale University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1957

Harvard University Law School, J.D., 1960

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers: Illinois Chapter, Member; Board of Managers, 1996-1999

American Bar Association

American Bar Foundation, Fellow

Association of Trial Lawyers of America

Chicago Bar Association: Matrimonial Committee, 1968-1983; Committee on Civil Practice, Chairman, 1981-1982

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois: Committee to Study and Recommend a Comprehensive Rules Design for the Domestic Relations Division, Co-Chair, 2003-2009

Equitable Distribution Journal: Member; Editorial Board, 1983-2007

Federal Bar Association

Illinois State Bar Association: Family Law Section, Member

Lawyers Club of Chicago

Legal Aid Society: Chairman, 1997-1999

Pi Sigma Alpha

Accomplishments and Publications

Illinois Practice of Family Law, Co-Author with Jody Meyer Yazici, 1994-2011; Co-Author with Jody Meyer Yazici and James L. Rubens, 2011-present

The Parental Couple in a Successful Divorce, Co-Author with Sherman C. Feinstein, 1984

Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Leading Lawyers

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