After graduating from a small high school in West Virginia, Maria thought her career path was in sports administration. She worked as the Sports Information Director at her alma mater, Muskingum College, and then went on to serve as the Information Director of the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Maria loved her work, but she felt that something was missing in her professional life. She wanted a career in which she could truly help people. She decided to explore the legal field and enrolled at Cleveland-Marshall Law School. It was there she found her calling. She loved the hands-on, real world experience of the school's employment law clinic and enjoyed working as a law clerk for a general practice law firm in Cleveland.
Maria graduated magna cum laude from Cleveland-Marshall in 1997. She stayed on at the Cleveland firm as an associate attorney, preparing wills and handling probate matters and workers’ compensation claims. Again, she enjoyed her work, but she longed for something different. She wanted to focus her law practice to estate planning, probate administration, and elder law. She also wanted to help non-traditional families and people in the LGBTQ community. She embarked on a new adventure by starting her own law firm in 2000.
Maria strongly believes that every couple and family, both traditional and non-traditional, deserve the same quality legal services and the same legal protections for themselves and their loved ones. Her experience with her own non-traditional family gives Maria exceptional insight into the broad range of issues her clients, both traditional and non-traditional, face. This insight is another reason why you will receive superb legal services from Maria.
Maria also believes in giving back to the community. She has provided pro bono legal services to many clients, first as a volunteer attorney with the Visiting Nurse Association of Cleveland Hospice for many years, and then donating time to name change legal clinics and with Cleveland Legal Aid. Over the years, Maria has served on numerous Board of Directors for many wonderful organizations, including the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, LakewoodAlive, and Adoption Network.
- United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio
- Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1997 J.D.; magna cum laude
- Muskingum College, 1990 B.A.; summa cum laude
- Ohio State Bar Association
- Ohio Women’s Bar Association
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- National LGBT Bar Association
- Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section of OSBA
- Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section of CMBA
- 2017 Cleveland LGBT Heritage Day Award for Service
- 2016 Women Honoring Women Award - Small Firm/Solo Practitioner, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- 2015 LakewoodAlive Volunteer Champion Award
- 2013 Lakewood Chamber of Commerce Outstanding New Member
- 2010 and 2005 VNA Hospice Volunteer of the Year Award
- Co-Parenting Has No Legal Status In Ohio, Northeast Ohio PFLAG Newsletter (July/August 2011, Vol. 42, No. 7-8)
- LGBT Parenting Seminar, Lakewood, Ohio (May 2017).
- What LGBTQ Individuals and Families Need to Know about Estate Planning, PFLAG Cleveland (April 2017).
- Planning for Non-Traditional Families During the Trump Presidency, Continuing Legal Education Seminar, sponsored by Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (Jan. 2017).
- Same-Sex/Transgender Birth Certificates in Ohio, OPHA Vital Statistics Section Conference, Columbus, Ohio (Aug. 2016).
- A Legal Workshop with an Elder Law Focus, Parma VA Center (December 2015).
- Unfinished Business: The State of LGBT Rights Post-Obergefell (Family Law: Part I), Continuing Legal Education Seminar, sponsored by Cleveland Marshall College of Law (October 2015).
- Preparing for the Freedom to Marry in Ohio, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland (May 2015).
- Legal Issues for Non-Traditional Families, Northeast Ohio Financial Planning Association (April 2015).
- Custody and Adoption for Non-Traditional Families, Continuing Legal Education Seminar, sponsored by Ohio Northern University College of Law (March 2015).
- Legal Protections for LGBT Seniors, Aging & Sage-ing Conference, Rocky River, Ohio (Oct. 2014).
- Additional Legal Protections for Non-Traditional Families, Continuing Legal Education Seminar, sponsored by Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (May 2014).
- Legal Protections for Seniors and Non-Traditional Families, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio (March 2014).
- Legal Protections for LGBT Seniors, LGBT Community Center of Cleveland (Feb. 2014).
- Legal Protections for LGBT Seniors, Continuing Legal Education Seminar, sponsored by Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Oct. 2013).
- A Legal Workshop with an Elder Law Focus, Parma VA Center (May and June 2013).
- Legal Protections for LGBT Seniors, Jewish Family Service of Akron (June 2013).
- Legal Issues for Non-Traditional Families, Cleveland VA Medical Center (June 2013).
- Legal Protections for LGBT Elders, A Legal Workshop with an Elder Law Focus, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland (Oct. 2012).
- Estate Planning Basics, Continuing Legal Education Seminar for 3.25 credit hours, sponsored by LawReviewCle, Cleveland (Feb. 2012).
- Legal Issues for LGBT Individuals, Couples, and Families, MetroHealth Gay-Straight Alliance (Feb. 2011).
- Protecting Our Community: Legal Issues in the LGBT Community, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) Cleveland (2010).
- Estate Planning for the Non-Traditional Family: Ways to Protect You, Your Partner and Your Children, MetroHealth Gay-Straight Alliance (2010).
- Legal Protections for the Non-Traditional Family, MetroHealth GSA Mini-Film Series and Panel, co-sponsored by Equality Ohio and PFLAG Cleveland (2008).
- Legal Protections for the LGBT Community, Cleveland Couples Together (2008).
- Estate Planning for the Non-Traditional Family, Greater Cleveland Adoption and Foster Care Fair at LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland (2007).