Raleigh Kalbfleisch prides herself on combining empathy, compassion, love for the law, and a deep desire to help families, in all aspects of her work.
“It’s the most fascinating and impactful thing I’ve ever done,” says Raleigh of her family law practice.
With her firm, the Law Office of Raleigh D Kalbfleisch, Raleigh’s focus is on family law litigation, appeals, divorce, property division, child support, custody, paternity actions, prenuptials, adoption and similar cases. The firm handles matters in Wheaton, Kendall, Kane, Will, DeKalb, and Cook Counties.
Raleigh is the Immediate Past President of the DuPage Association of Women Lawyers, the President of the DuPage County Bar Foundation, and a member of the following organizations: DuPage County Bar Association including the Family Law Committee, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the (currently on hiatus) Family Violence Coordinating Counsel.
From 2006 to 2008, Raleigh was a Special Assistant State’s Attorney for DuPage County in the Expedited Child Support Division.
Among the many accolades she has earned, Raleigh is the recipient of the DuPage Bar Legal Aid Service Pro Bono Award for 2005-2006 and 2012-2013, and given the 2016 Recognition for Distinction by Women in Law Women in Leadership, the 2017 and 2015 “10 Best Law Firms” award, and 2015 “10 Best” Client Satisfaction award from the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys.
My Business Magazine caught up with Raleigh Kalbfleisch to discuss her unique skills, how she helps clients, and her unique take on her job.
MBM: Besides legal advice, what are some outside skills that you can offer clients?
Raleigh: I spent sixteen years in the restaurant industry, so learning to deal with people was a very important skill. In family law, it is highly emotional and highly intense. People are exceptionally volatile on occasion. Those people can be clients, opposing counsel, or opposing parties. So, just being able to keep calm works.
I went through three divorces between my parents by the time I was twelve. I lived in an abusive household while my mother was married to my step-father, so I have a unique perspective of having been there, done that. I have seen a lot of things happen to my mother and other people who are in the same situation she was.
MBM: Can you elaborate on how this experience helps with clients?
Raleigh: I can empathize in a way that, perhaps, some other family law attorneys might not be able to. That gives me, I think, a different perspective and a different way to relate to my clients.I’m able to offer some unique perspectives about decision making, and try to help them make good choices. I can’t make the choices for them, but I can give them insight into how things may affect them or their children when they make certain decisions.
For example, suppose a parent wants to make a decision that is a knee-jerk reaction, I’m able to tell them, “step back. This is what this is going to mean to your child if you do this. This is how your child feels about this. This is how your child is going to view this. This is not about you, not about the other party. This is about how you deal with the other parent; most importantly the other parent whom your child still loves.”
MBM: What fulfills you most about what you do?
Raleigh: The thing that I like the most about my work is also the hardest. I’m a court appointed Guardian ad litem. I have been since I began my practice. As a Guardian ad litem, I am the court’s witness. I conduct an investigation into what an appropriate custodial or parenting situation may be and I make a recommendation to the Judge based on my investigation. Those are the hardest cases.
Those are the ones that keep me up at night wrestling over whether or not I’m making the right recommendation. I don’t make the ultimate decision, I just make a recommendation. Those are the ones I like the best because I feel like I’m making the most impact there.
MBM: What’s an accomplishment of note?
Raleigh: I was just recently the President of the DuPage Association of Women Lawyers and I’m currently the President of the DuPage County Bar Association’s Foundation Board. Those are big accomplishments. They mean a lot to me because I’ve been able to do that as a part of my involvement in my community – the legal community.
I am a mentor through the DuPage County Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association. They pair new lawyers with experienced lawyers. I am a mentor for a young girl through a local school district. I also helped develop and ran a mentoring program for at-risk teen girls for a couple of years until the funding dried up.
We’re in a place now that the wealthiest and poorest have the most access to the legal system. Many people fall into a grey area where they can’t afford legal help because they make too much money to qualify for Pro Bono services or they have enough money to pay for a lawyer to represent them.
That’s why I volunteer. It’s very important to give back to the community and it’s very important that everyone has the same access and opportunities to equally participate in the legal system.
MBM: What do you want people to know most about who you are?
Raleigh: I’m dedicated to my practice, and to my clients. I am a big believer in both parents having the opportunity to parent and love their children. I have a lot of clients who are male that might not otherwise find representation.
I think it’s critical that everybody has an opportunity to be a parent, and every child has the opportunity to love their parents – which doesn’t always happen.
I’m doing what I can to make sure relationships stay intact, and everybody has the opportunity to be who they need to be with their kids and their families.
Dave Gordon has penned more than a thousand articles, and more than five hundred editorials, on every topic imaginable. He writes regularly on domestic and international politics, current events, culture, relationship issues, and much more.
He has spent time in the newsrooms of the Toronto Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, National Post and eye Weekly.
Law Office of Raleigh D Kalbfleisch
Raleigh D. Kalbfleisch
310 S County Farm Road, Suite F
Wheaton, IL 60187