Brenda Russo, CFLS
Partner, Of Counsel
Experienced Solano County Family Law Lawyer, Mediator & Legal Consultant
Attorney Brenda Russo is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) who has been in private practice since 1986. Ms. Russo is semi-retired, but continues to offer some mediation and legal consulting services to private clients and attorneys in the areas of family law, guardianship, child custody and juvenile dependency law. Ms. Russo has extensive experience in civil litigation, family law, mediation, probate guardianship practice and juvenile dependency law. She has been devoted to working with families and children for more than twenty (20) years.
Ms. Russo co-founding Legal Services for Children in Solano County, where she represented children in the complex world of juvenile dependency court for many years. After many years handling juvenile dependency cases, Ms. Russo determined that she would be better able to assist children and families by concentrating her practice in the area of Family Law. Ms. Russo co-founded her second successful women-owned and operated law practice in Solano County when she opened the Law Offices of Russo & Prince, LLP with her law partner, and friend, Leslie Prince.
Ms. Russo is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS), having been certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California in 2001. Only a small number of family law attorneys are certified as specialists. This designation reflects Ms. Russo's commitment to providing superior legal representation in this specialized and unique area of the law. Family law is an area of law that is both complex, and ever changing. But what makes it unique is the crossover with numerous other areas of the law, such as guardianship, estate planning, criminal law and contracts, just to name a few.
In addition, family law often requires knowledge of psychological and therapeutic practices, child development, and community support resources. Ms. Russo has undergone extensive training in these areas in addition to her 20 years of practical experience. This training makes her uniquely suited to consulting both attorneys and litigants concerning complex child custody disputes, including cases with allegations of child abuse, sexual molest, neglect, substance abuse, estrangement, alienation, parent-teen conflict, or other complicating factors in a child custody proceeding.
Ms. Russo is admitted to practice in all of the courts of the State of California, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, and the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Russo has also participated in both basic and advanced training in the practice of collaborative law, and has participated in extensive mediation training, including an advanced course provided by the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University. Ms. Russo participates in continuing legal education each year in the form of regular participation in seminars provided by the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the Association of Family Law and Conciliation Courts, and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, among others.
Ms. Russo is currently admitted to practice, and is a member of, the California State Bar Association. She is also an active member of the Solano County Bar Association, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group, Solano, Napa and Yolo Collaborative Practice Group (SNAPY), and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Ms. Russo has previously served as judge pro tem for the Solano County Superior Court, has participated in the Solano County Bar Association's domestic violence response program; served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Solano County Bar Association; and served as editor of the Solano County Bar Association's newsletter. Ms. Russo has also spent a substantial portion of her career representing children in both family law and dependency matters.
Practicing family law for over twenty five (25) years, Ms. Russo has extensive experience in the areas of family law, mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), juvenile law and guardianship law. Ms. Russo strongly believes that families and children are best served by mediation rather than litigation. She has found that mediation enables parties to remain in charge of their own goals, resolutions, and agreements, whereas litigation results in orders imposed by the court based on the decisions reached by a judge.
In child custody matters in particular, Ms. Russo believes that child custody mediation is a method far more equipped to determine and consider the needs and concerns of the children involved in any divorce or separation, as well as those of the parents. Mediation typically results in a successful agreement between the parties, created through their own efforts and commitment, in a manner that allows them an opportunity to address their respective issues and concerns. It is a strong held belief that child custody disputes are not best resolved by the courts, and that frequently, the anger and contentiousness of litigation causes the conflict between parents to escalate, whereas mediation provides an opportunity to diffuse parental conflict.
As a result of her background in psychology and juvenile law, Ms. Russo has built a reputation for providing skilled representation in complex child custody matters involving allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, drug abuse and psychological trauma. Ms. Russo offers 25 years of experience guiding parents and guardians through these complex and emotionally trying cases with dignity, skill and compassion.
Legal Consultation Services:
Ms. Russo offers legal consultation and trial strategy consultation services to attorneys and pro per litigants who require assistance navigating their family law or juvenile law matters. Many attorneys who utilize these services have matters in other states that involve California family law issues, or are newly licensed attorneys in need of mentorship in this area. Consultation is particularly appropriate when attorneys encounter cases involving novel or highly complicated legal issues, or high conflict custody disputes. These cases frequently involve sensitive issues of drug abuse, child abuse, molest or psychological abuse -- areas in which Ms. Russo has decades of practical experience and training.
Ms. Russo has also assisted numerous pro per litigants as a legal strategist and consultant. Going into Court blind can be extremely daunting without an attorney, but many people simply cannot afford representation all the way through to trial. Seeking experienced legal consultation will assist pro per litigants in clearly and effectively pleading their cases to the courts, avoiding frequent legal pitfalls, and making the best use of available evidence. Legal consultation can also aid settlement. Perhaps you, or your spouse, has taken a position that is truly not reasonable under the law. Ms. Russo will give you the information and input you need to evaluate your case clearly and to see what your chances are of prevailing at trial. In these circumstances, you may also consider mediation. Even if things have become very contentious, an effective mediator can aid you towards resolution if the impasse stems from a lack of legal understanding. Attorneys Sarah B. Russo and Shannon M. Elms also offer mediation services.
Contact Ms. Russo today to discuss whether legal consultation services may be appropriate in your case. Hourly and flat-rate billing available, as appropriate.
Areas of Practice:
- Child Custody Mediation
- Collaborative Law
- Private Judging
- Complex Child Custody Disputes
- Divorce / Dissolution
- Parentage and Paternity Cases
- Child Custody & Visitation
- Child Support
- Step-Parent Adoptions
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
- Pre-Marital Agreements ("prenups")
- Spousal Support
- Legal Separation
- Domestic Partnerships
- Marital Property Division
- Navigating Custody Evaluations
Professional Degrees, Continuing Education and Memberships:
- Juris Doctorate, John F. Kennedy University, CA, 1986
- Admitted to State Bar of California, 1986
- Admitted to United States Supreme Court, 1995
- Admitted to the Supreme Court of California, 1986
- Admitted to the United States District Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- Certified Family Law Specialist, certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of CA, 2001
- Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group
- International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
- Solano County Bar Association, 1990
- California Family Law Report, CFLR Family Law Refresher Course 1996-2004
- The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Janet Johnston Seminar, 2001
- Collaborative Law Practice Training, 1999
- Collaborative Law Practice Training, Basic and Advanced Programs, 1999
- National Center for Youth Law Training 2000
- The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Janet Johnston Seminar, 2001
- Strauss Institute, Pepperdine University, Mediation Training, 2007
- Minor's Counsel Training, Sacramento Bar Association, 2008
- Northern California Mediation Center, Essentials of Mediation & Divorce, 2009
- SCBA Mediation Workshop, 2011
- AAML Symposium January 2011
- ACFLS Advanced Course In Family Law Evidence, 2011
- AAML Symposium 2012
- AAML Symposium 2014
- 2005-2014 (annually): Attorneys' Briefcase Annual Year-in-Review Family Law Update