Founding partner Michael Stutman’s prestigious career spans three decades around the globe. He has been leading his peers, and is sought out as an expert in matrimonial law. Michael’s depth of knowledge not only on current family law but the way it is evolving combined with his strong resilient courtroom presence provide a winning edge when handling settlements and trials for his high net worth and notable clients.
Mr. Stutman takes a straightforward approach instilling a level of trust and confidence at a time when people need it most. From heading up the New York matrimonial practice at the firm that handled Princess Diana’s divorce to authoring two books on divorcing in New York and speaking at the nation’s top Universities, Michael is known for taking the time to explain the intricate divorce process and all of the options. He arms his clients with everything they need to make important decisions.
Some of Mr. Stutman’s most notable cases include one in which a wife received 100% of marital property, another in which his client’s right to use captured computer files was upheld and most recently in a matter where Michael prevailed in having a New York Court recognize and enforce a Father’s rights in a Singapore child custody arrangement—with the Mother being found in contempt and ordered to pay the Father’s expenses and counsel fees.
Michael has served terms as both the Vice President and President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, New York Chapter. He is also a Fellow of the Academy and serves on its National Board of Governors. He is again serving a three-year term on the prestigious Matrimonial Law Committee of the City Bar and has served two three-year terms on the Trust, Estate and Surrogates Court Committee of the City Bar. He is the co-author, along with Grier Raggio, of ‘How to Divorce in New York’ and he is the author of 'Divorce in New York'. Since 2008 he has been certified as one of the Best Lawyers in America and has been listed in the annual Super Lawyers publications since its inception in 2006 and is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.
Michael is regularly sought after by numerous media outlets to comment and provide insight concerning legislation and notable cases.
Dana M. Stutman
Founding partner Dana Stutman is a leading matrimonial attorney known for her profound financial expertise providing her clients with a decisive edge. This unparalleled combination of an accounting and litigation background sets her apart from her peers in negotiations and the courtroom.
Dana takes the time and extreme care to develop a unique strategy based solely on each client’s personal journey. Her compassion and unique arsenal of knowledge drives Dana to find new and dynamic solutions for even the most complicated and unmovable case.
Dana Stutman received her accounting focused business degree from Tulane University before changing her career path and attending Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Notably, while at Cardozo, Dana was part of the "The Innocence Project,", a famously effective legal initiative that examines DNA evidence to reverse wrongful criminal convictions. She clerked for The Honorable David B. Saxe (Ret.) and for The Honorable Richard T. Andrias (now appellate judge) in the matrimonial division of the State Supreme Court, She litigated as a law student for the New York State Attorney General's office and later worked with New York litigator Michael Dowd, an expert on battered-women's cases. Dana’s distinguished career had her making partner in the first seven years at one of the top firms in the country and named in the annual Super Lawyers publication since 2009.
She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and serves as treasurer for their New York chapter as well as serving on a number of committees within the legal community including the Association of the Bar of the City of New York as well as the New York State Bar Association.
Kari H. Lichtenstein
Kari H. Lichtenstein is a founding partner with almost twenty years of experience in family law and is known for her compassion and unwavering support of her clients. Through her experience in family law and her background in social work, Kari has developed a deep understanding of the emotional impact a divorce can take on all involved.
Kari takes special care to find ways to lessen the toll on her clients as they go through this arduous process. Her empathetic approach and forethought can be seen whether she’s representing her client in settlement negotiations or advocating for them in court. Kari never backs down from a fight, but she prides herself on helping her clients navigate through the emotional storm of a difficult divorce.
Ms. Lichtenstein received her undergraduate from the University of Michigan and her law degree, cum laude, from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Ms. Lichtenstein is a member of the Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and served as a member of the Matrimonial Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Kari’s notable career has seen her regularly listed in the annual Super Lawyers publications.
Kari is also certified in Family and Divorce Mediation.
Valerie Tocci is a partner of the firm. She represents individuals and families in all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including divorce, custody, spousal and child support, equitable distribution of property, pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and divorce agreements, post-judgment matters, hearings and trials. Valerie is a litigator with extensive courtroom experience. Prior to joining SSL, Valerie was a partner of Mishcon de Reya NY, LLP., a major international law firm, where she also focused on cross-border family law issues. She also previously worked at two of the premiere Manhattan matrimonial boutique firms. Valerie is expert in aiding high net worth families navigate the divorce process. Prior to devoting her practice to family law, Valerie served as a criminal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York and the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. Valerie also served as Court Attorney to the Honorable Esther M. Morgenstern, New York State Supreme Court Justice, in both the Kings County Family Court and the Queens County Integrated Domestic Violence Court, a unified court part handling matrimonial, family court and criminal cases simultaneously, which she helped to establish. Valerie's work with victims of crime and domestic violence gives her a unique perspective on the emotional challenges facing families dealing with divorce.
Valerie is founding member of the Associates Board of New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), a not-for-profit legal services agency providing representation to low income individuals. She is the co-author of Divorce Settlements Funded By Proceeds Of Fraud: Good News For Innocent Spouses' New York Family Law Monthly, Vol. 13. No. 1, September 2011. Valerie has a B.A. from the University of Michigan. While an undergraduate, Valerie completed the general course at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was awarded the Heyman Corporate Governance Fellowship. She has also received specialized training from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in family law matters. Valerie is native Manhattanite and is graduate of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School.
Andrea is a partner of the firm. She represents individuals in a wide range of family law matters, including equitable distribution, spousal support, child support, custody and access, paternity, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.
Andrea is a compassionate and zealous advocate who prides herself on developing a rapport with her clients that allows her to understand each client's unique needs. That relationship is the foundation upon which Andrea works with her clients to develop legal strategies custom tailored to achieve their individual goals. While Andrea understands that a client's best interests are often served by staying out of the courtroom, she is also a formidable courtroom advocate and litigator.
Prior to joining the firm, Andrea worked at several preeminent boutique matrimonial firms in Manhattan where she represented clients in complex matrimonial and family law matters. Before devoting her practice to matrimonial and family law, Andrea was an attorney for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services where she represented the Commissioner of Social Services in child abuse and neglect proceedings.
Andrea is a member of the New York City Bar Association, the Nassau County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association (Family Law Section). She received her B.A. from Arizona State University and her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, where she served as an editor of the Hofstra Law Review.
Andrea resides on Long Island with her husband and their two sons.
Joel Bañuelos is an associate of the firm. He brings almost a decade of experience and a level of detail that ensures nothing escapes his team. Prior to joining the firm, from 2011-2016, Joel was an associate at an international law firm where he handled commercial, matrimonial and family matters in the appellate, trial and family courts. Prior to that, from 2009 to 2010, Joel served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Allan L. Gropper of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, during which he handled matters involving fraudulent conveyance litigation, commercial and contract disputes, and plan confirmations.
Joel received his J.D. from Fordham Law School, where he was an associate editor of the Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial law. Prior to attending Fordham Law School, he received his B.S., magna cum laude, from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, where he was a member of the Honors program.
Joel is admitted to practice in the state of New York, and is a member of the New York State Bar Association. Joel is also a member of the New York City Bar Association where he is appointed to sit on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights Committee.
Jacqueline P. Itani
As an Associate at the firm, Jacqueline is known for guiding her clients through complex issues, while zealously advocating on their behalf and serving as an effective and compassionate counsel. She takes incredible pride in prioritizing client needs above all else and applying her unique skills to each individual case. Jaqueline aims to settle disputes as amicably as possible, but is not afraid to litigate on her client’s behalf when necessary.
Jacqueline received her Juris Doctor from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law with a concentration in Matrimonial and Family Law, where she was a member of Cardozo's Law and Literature Journal. Jacqueline also participated in an Intensive Trial Advocacy Program to solidify her litigation strategies and skills.
She completed a fellowship at the Children’s Law Center, and interned for the Honorable Matthew F. Cooper in the New York Supreme Court, Matrimonial Part. Notably, Jacqueline drafted the winning Appellate Brief in Counihan v. Bishop, where the non-biological mother of a child born to a same-sex marriage was awarded standing as the child's parent to seek custody and visitation. Additionally, in the matter of Chue v. Clark, Jacqueline successfully petitioned the Court on behalf of her client, a resident of Singapore, to recognize the parties’ foreign Judgment of Divorce and hold her client's ex-wife in contempt of Court for her violation of visitation terms of the custody order.
Jacqueline is licensed to practice law in both New York and New Jersey and is a member of the New York State Bar Association, Family Law Section. Jacqueline is also certified in Family and Divorce Mediation.
In 2017, Jacqueline was nominated as a Rising Star in the area of Family Law by Super Lawyers Magazine for the New York Metro area.
Jessica Friedrich is an Associate at the firm who works on a broad spectrum of cases involving a variety of issues. She is known for her client-focused approach, adjusting her practice to the needs and circumstances of the case at hand. She is committed to being available to her clients and a passionate advocate for each.
Jessica received her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law, where she was a member of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal. Jessica was also a competitor for and editor of the Fordham Moot Court Board where she honed her litigation skills.
Jessica is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey and is a member of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and the Irish American Bar Association of New York.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from the University of Georgia.