Pauline Tesler

Certified Family Law Specialist,* offering collaborative law and interdisciplinary collaborative team representation in divorce and other family matters, counsel in pre-marital and post-marital agreements, and second opinions about pending legal matters, as well as collaborative law training and consultation,  and training in Integrative Law.

Pauline H. Tesler specializes in family law, and has been certified in that specialty by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, since 1984. A fellow of the select American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1985, Pauline has for more than thirty years received  the Martindale-Hubbell  AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating,  indicating  that she is practicing law at the highest possible level of  legal ability and professional ethics.  She has been named a California “Super Lawyer” every year since 2004, and has been included in “Best Lawyers in America” since 2011.

Ms. Tesler is more than a “super lawyer.”  She has earned an international reputation as a pioneer in the family-friendly, interdisciplinary, values-based  team approach to family breakup and restructuring that is known as Collaborative Divorce, not only offering skilled collaborative legal representation to her own clients but also teaching the collaborative method to lawyers across North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. For that work, the American Bar Association in 2002 conferred upon her its first “Lawyer as Problem Solver” award.

Pauline began her legal career doing test case litigation on behalf of children as staff counsel with the National Center for Youth Law, conducting trials as well as addressing issues before the California and U.S. Supreme Courts. After conducting a vigorous family law litigation and appellate practice for twenty years, in the mid 1990’s she became a pioneer in developing and extending the practice of collaborative law in California and internationally. Since 1996 she has limited her practice with clients to collaborative representation, consultation, and second opinions.

In addition to speaking widely and writing about collaborative law  (including two books on the subject, one for lawyers and one for general readers), Pauline trains lawyers (as well as mental health and financial professionals) in how to become more skilled at collaborative practice. She also provides mentoring, coaching, and case consultation to lawyers across North America and in Europe who are learning how to practice collaboratively or whose cases are in difficulty. Pauline co-founded the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (which now includes members from more than 20 nations), and served as its first President and first chair of its Standards Committee.

Pauline earned her B.A. from Harvard University, her M.A. from the Victoria University of Manchester, England, and her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) Law School, where she graduated first in her class. Her critically acclaimed practice manual for collaborative lawyers, entitled Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce Without Litigation, published by the American Bar Association in September 2001, was the first book written for collaborative lawyers.  Excerpts from the book can be read here. Her second book, Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move On With Your Life (HarperCollins, 2006), was written for general readers to provide guidance about the unique benefits of the collaborative model and the dangers of resolving legal issues associated with family breakup in or near the courts.   Excerpts from the  book  can be read here.

Pauline not only offers her clients the skills of a seasoned family law specialist and expert collaborative lawyer, but also draws on the experience her law firm partners offer in investment, real estate and commercial law, which  can be helpful in creative resolution of divorce related issues.  One of the most experienced collaborative lawyers in the country, Pauline has worked hard to develop trust-based working relationships with excellent collaborative lawyers, mental health and financial professionals in the Bay Area. When clients retain Pauline to assist them in a collaborative law matter, she can draw upon a highly capable  professional network to build a strong collaborative team that can help divorcing partners find solutions for their legal issues.  Using the collaborative method, nearly all couples can reach negotiated agreements that address their most significant concerns, and can build respectful post-divorce parenting relationships that work for children.

*Certified by State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization since 1984.

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This inquiry form is provided solely  for the purpose of scheduling a conversation with one of our partners to discuss whether we should represent you. Pauline Tesler’s legal assistant, Clare de Vincenzi, will contact you to schedule a time to talk with Pauline.  If your matter is urgent please also leave a telephone message for Clare at (415)383-5600.  We usually can respond within 48 hours. Please do not send confidential information to this firm until you are an established client of the firm.