Gemma B. Allen
A heartfelt plea to help her mother’s friend with a complex high stakes divorce led Gemma B. Allen to dedicate most of her professional career to family law. Though an advocate for marriage, she has long understood that, when a marriage breaks down irreconcilably, a client needs strong counsel and caring support with the least amount of stress on the children. She combines her unique brand of strategic thinking and compassion with effective advocacy in the courtroom to successfully represent the firm’s clients.
Gemma established Ladden & Allen, Chartered, with Ron Ladden in 1999 to offer professional, caring and accessible representation in the areas of marriage, divorce, mediation, financial settlements and custody matters. Prior to starting the firm, she was a partner at McDermott, Will & Emery.
In addition to running a successful law practice, Gemma and Ron have conducted more than two dozen “think tanks” over the years, bringing together judges, mental health practitioners, clergy, attorneys and other interdisciplinary professionals who are interested in recognizing and addressing serious family law related matters. Topics have included “intimate terrorism” in relationships, the law and psychology attendant to custody litigation and its effect on children, the strategy and costs of litigation, as well as the need for more resources for divorcing couples both inside and outside the courtroom.
Gemma is a co-author with retired Cook County Judge Michele Lowrance and financial writer and money advisor, of THE NEW LOVE DEAL: Everything you MUST know before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On(May 2014, Paperback $16.95), which fearlessly explores the financial and practical issues that couples confront, and the agreements that can resolve these differences before they destroy the relationship.
Gemma repeatedly has been selected by her peers as a member of the Leading Lawyers Network® and a SuperLawyer®, and was named by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Chicago’s 100 Most Influential Women. She recently completed coursework in Mediation at Northwestern University School of Law.
Because of her commitment to family law, including her work with Illinois State Senator John P. Cullerton to introduce a bill advocating pre-marital education, Gemma has appeared on Oprah, CNN’s “Talk Back Live,” ABC and NBC television, network radio and local Chicago broadcast outlets.
Gemma is the author of a book, Secrets of Successful Partners, which is a compilation of interviews she conducted with successfully married couples of all ages. She is a contributing writer and blogger for Today’s Chicago Woman magazine, and is a frequent contributor to Chicago Lawyer and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
She was invited to author a chapter, “Family Law: A Mission and a Career,” published in 2011 by Asporte Press, a leading publisher of business and legal materials. Additionally, she has written more than 100 other articles and lectured on topics that include divorce, child support, the representation of children in divorce, maintenance, mediation, business valuations in divorce litigation, psychological/legal standards for forensic evaluations in custody issues, cohabitation, civil unions, women and money, and legal separation and reconciliation. Gemma served on the Planning Committee for “Business Valuation: Financial & Tax Issues in Divorce 2013,” Illinois’ foremost CLE event on advanced financial topics for family law attorneys, presented by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.
Long active in the Illinois State Bar Association, she has served as an appointed member of its Family Law Section Council and was co-chair of the Model Mediation Act sub-committee. She was appointed a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Child Support and the Task Force on Attorneys for Children. She has served on the Advisory Council on Women of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and serves on the Board of the John Felice Rome Center at Loyola University, Chicago.
Gemma is the past president of two nonprofit organizations: The Lilac Tree, a resource for women at all stages of divorce, and the Forensic Forum, a membership organization that provides a platform for forensic experts in the family law field to share information, propose legislation, and work to improve the practice of domestic relations.
She and her husband Albert Nader, founder and president of Questar Entertainment, have four adult children and several grandchildren.
B.S. – 1966
Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago IL
Honors: Magna cum laude
J.D. – 1969
University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, MI
Bar Admissions:Illinois, 1972