Why Us

A Trial Centered Approach

We believe that experienced and effective trial attorneys are most suitably situated to resolve matters in this area of law. By virtue of our courtroom experience, we are aware of the factors that the courts consider when issuing rulings and rendering decisions. This invaluable knowledge helps us to advise our clients as to their rights and responsibilities. It also gives our clients great comfort, knowing that they are in good hands should their case proceed to trial.

Family and Matrimonial Law involves some of the most important, complex and broad legal issues. As a trial focused practice, we actually begin preparing as if we are going to trial shortly after our retention. Our approach is fact centered which involves gathering all the relevant information necessary to formulate the course of action for each unique case. In custody cases, this may include gathering and reviewing emails, medical records, and report cards. In financial matters, we analyze tax returns, bank and credit cards records. During the course of the proceeding, when experts are involved, we work closely with our clients to ensure that their trial themes are well developed and effectively presented. It is by gathering the facts and developing our themes that we are best able represent our clients, either by way of settlement or trial.

How We Try Cases

We try a lean case. The facts that we present to the court are vetted and organized by using the chapter method of examination developed by the famed trial attorneys Roger Dodd and Larry Pozner. Each fact is offered to lead to a specific point that we are attempting to establish, and each point in turn supports one of our trial themes. We discard irrelevant facts that can clutter a trial and distract the court. Our trials are carefully arranged and produced to have the maximum impact on the court.

Our witness examinations are carefully scripted through meticulous preparation. This preparation increases our effectiveness and manages our clients’ expectations at trial leaving little room for surprises.

Through a series of questions and answers, direct examination is our clients’ opportunity to tell their side of the story. In order to accomplish this we work extensively with our clients to ensure that they are fully prepared and as comfortable as possible on the witness stand so their message is clear and accurate. Our clients work closely and comprehensively with us to create a direct examination script that sets forth each relevant fact organized into issue-specific chapters. We rehearse the question and answer scripts extensively so that our presentations are carefully honed for maximum impact.

Cross-examination is an opportunity for us to illuminate the weaknesses on the other side, while bolstering our case. Our cross-examinations, which are also based upon the chapter method, focus both on discrediting the hostile witness (destructive cross-examination) and on using the hostile witness to present favorable facts in support of our themes (constructive cross-examination). Just as we do with our direct examinations, we prepare for and hone our cross-examinations to illicit the most favorable facts for our clients.

Our trials are based on facts, carefully vetted and seamlessly presented. When going to trial our clients know exactly what to expect, and the outcome is not based on a hope and a dream, but on the real facts of the case.

What Our Clients Say About Us

We urge you to speak with our clients before you retain our firm. They can describe their stories, and how we helped them achieve their goals.

Pro Bono

One of our core values at Bikel & Schanfield is to represent clients in need who cannot afford legal representation. Whether it is clients experiencing acute financial distress referred to us by the Women’s Bar Pro Bono Project, or disabled clients referred to us through the New York Center for Law and Justice, we take great pride in our pro bono services.


All of our attorneys are deeply committed to charitable and public service organizations. Our attorneys have served, and continue to serve, in a variety of leadership roles for public interest and charitable organizations. We give back to support the causes and organizations that have changed our lives for the better, or assist the disadvantaged members of our society. We serve these organizations with the same vigor and energy we offer our clients.

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