young woman with long brown hair smiling and wearing black shirt

Ellie Ackerman

Early on my legal career, I began working with a matrimonial litigator. I was unaware that options outside of litigation existed, so to me, this job seemed like a dream come true.

Over time I learned that the adversarial system seemed to encourage former partners to continue to damage an already frail family structure, beyond repair. I hated watching a system that encouraged families to rip themselves apart and I wondered if there was a better way.

Luckily, I found one. In 2012, I began working as an associate at a boutique law firm in New York City. I worked exclusively with couples who wished to stay out of court. I was able to help these families build a strong, albeit different, family unit in a way that worked for both parents and children alike. Because of my experience, early on in my legal career I received my mediation certification and then completed my collaborative law training. I relocated to New Jersey in June 2018 and joined the Berner Law & Mediation Group that September. I joined this firm because I share its value of resolving conflict peacefully and keeping families together, despite the parents coming apart.

What continues to stand out most to me about mediation and collaborative law is the emphasis on the whole client, and the whole family. The aftershocks of divorce last far beyond the day a Judge signs a paper. I believe that my job as a cooperative and collaborative attorney is more than just educating my clients about the law and advocating for them in the moment; it is to ensure, to the best of my ability, that the agreement they reach is sustainable and provides them with emotional and financial stability moving forward. I view my role as a mediator in the same way.

In all aspects of my practice, I strive to be an empathetic listener, an effective communicator, and a supportive professional and advocate to my clients.