Firm Profile

Principal partners in a law firm dedicated to the dynamic practice of family law, Mary Therese Doheny and David Wessel first met at the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian where they each worked as attorneys representing children and children's interests in the Domestic Relations Division and the Child Protection Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

They each pursued the protection of children and the presentation in court of family law issues in the years that followed their Office of the Public Guardian experience. Not coincidentally, they each maintained their friendship and mutual respect for the other's legal abilities and sensitivities to families in stress.

They determined their best way to help families, parents, and children in the manner they preferred was to combine their talents and efforts and do professionally what they liked best.

Hence, the creation of the law firm of Wessel and Doheny, which brought together two long-time professional friends for the purpose of providing legal services to families in stress in the strong and compassionate manner that they believe such services require.

David J. Wessel, M.S.W., J.D.

Admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1982, David J. Wessel is an experienced attorney. He received his legal training at Loyola University School of Law and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Urbana. Raised in Chicago, as early as high school he had received an award for citizenship and scholarship from Mayor Richard Daley. For several years he lived and worked at the Salvation Army Emergency Lodge with his family where his mother was the director of this shelter for families and victims of domestic violence. While at the University of Illinois, as part of his coursework he was a teaching assistant in child psychology and development. He served on the Illinois Commission on Children and was chairperson of its standing subcommittee Illinois Council of Youth. With his Social Work degree, he provided mental health counseling with families and individuals for several years. Afterwards, he began representing children as an attorney, first with the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian and subsequently in private practice. He has received Divorce Mediation training and has been a speaker on the topic of representation of children in matrimonial law cases in a variety of seminars. Mr. Wessel was a member of the committee that drafted the Chicago Bar Association practice guidelines for attorneys who represent minor children, and he has chaired the Chicago Bar Association Committee on Children and Custody in Dissolution of Marriage Cases.

Mary Therese Doheny, J.D.

A leader in the area of family practice, Mary Therese Doheny received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana and her Juris Doctor with honors from the Indiana University School of Law. She has concentrated her practice in the area of family law since 1984. Ms. Doheny is a member of the Illinois State Bar, the Washington State Bar, the U.S. District Courts of Western Washington and Northern Illinois, and the U.S. District Court Trial Bar. Experienced in family law litigation, Ms. Doheny has been trained by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in trial advocacy and deposition skills. She is also a certified collaborative lawyer and has been formally trained in conflict mediation for use in divorce and child custody settings.

Ms. Doheny worked with a law firm handling family law, along with complicated financial and commercial litigation. She also was an attorney in a federal media defamation lawsuit involving extensive litigation, and ending in a negotiated settlement. Her adeptness in deposing financial and custody experts was refined in those years. Ms. Doheny has extensive experience in complicated financial cases involving valuation of corporations, determinations of child support, maintenance and division of marital property. Her considerable knowledge, keen wit and intuitive style make her an excellent family lawyer.

Ms. Doheny spent the first 8 years of her practice in Seattle, Washington, and worked with many disability groups, dealing with a general practice. On her return to Chicago, she joined the Cook County Public Guardian's Office in the Divorce Division. She then worked with Fioretti & Des Jardins, and opened her own law firm in 2002 with David Wessel. She remains active in the Chicago Bar Association and Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois. She is a certified child representitive and has completed the National Institute for Trial Advocacy/Trial Advocacy Skills & Deposition courses. She has chaired a subcommittee for the Cook County Child Representative Committee as well as serving on the original FOCUS Parenting Education Task Force in Cook County. Ms. Doheny has also been an active participant in the Cook County Domestic Relations Management Advisory Committee and has presented at various family law seminars.