Brendan Hammer


Brendan Hammer 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.

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 include:

  • 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

Professional Recognition

  • 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
  • Leading Lawyers Network
    • Emerging Lawyers, 2015 – 2018
    • Leading Lawyers, 2018 – Present
  • Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch, 2012

Publications & Presentations

  • Lessons Learned Through COVID-19: Utilizing Technology to Move Your Family Law Practice Forward – Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Spring 2020
  • The State of Family Law During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Chicago Bar Association, Spring 2020
  • Family 2.0 – Coparenting After Divorce – Family Law Symposium on the New American Family, DePaul University College of Law, Fall 2019
  • The Evolution of Dissolution – Navigating the Shifting Landscape of Divorce –DePaul University College of Law, Fall 2019
  • Meditate Before You Litigate – Mindfulness for Lawyers – Illinois State Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Conference, Fall 2019
  • Putting on a Financial Case in Domestic Relations – Chicago Bar Association, Fall 2018
  • 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

Community Involvement

  • Advisory Board of DePaul University College of Law / SDF Family Law Center, member
  • Advisory Council – David Lynch Foundation Chicago, member
Brendan Hammer,Partner

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DePaul University College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2007

Indiana University, B.S., cum laude, 2004

Harvard University, Program on Negotiation/AAML, 2019

Advanced Cross Examination Program, National Family Law Trial Institute, 2014

Northwestern University, Certificate in Mediation, 2013

Family Law Trial Advocacy Program, National Family Law Trial Institute, 2012

Bar Admissions


Texas (Inactive Status)

Professional Leadership

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