Michèle M. Bissada

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Michele M. Bissada

Ms. Bissada is a Certified Specialist in Family Law (ACFLS) and a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). She has spent her entire legal career practicing and further strengthening her roots in San Mateo County. Ms. Bissada is a prominent and seasoned litigator specializing in complex custody and financial matters. Ms. Bissada's extensive knowledge and talent allow her to smoothly manage complicated, high-asset issues that are unique to family law. She has been practicing for nineteen years, enabling her to guide her clients with confidence and sensitivity throughout the often emotional process. She brings these honed skills to her mediation practice as well; both as a consulting attorney and as the mediator. Ms. Bissada is further trained in and practices collaborative law–a voluntary process providing an alternative for dispute resolution and settlement without going to Court.

Ms. Bissada is appointed by the Family Court Judges of Santa Clara County to regularly serve as a Judge Pro Tem; a position reserved for well-known, reliable, and highly-esteemed lawyers in the community. Similarly, Ms. Bissada is appointed by the Judges of San Mateo County as an Arbitrator in fee disputes between attorneys and their clients, a role requiring demonstrated sensitivity and fairness. Both appointments exhibit Ms. Bissada's on-going service to the community, as well as her reputation as a well-respected, objective and skilled leader. These positions further give Ms. Bissada the unique experience to "sit" in the Judges' shoes, a viewpoint essential to providing her clients with effective and efficient advice.

Professional Involvement

Ms. Bissada's extensive and dedicated involvement with the legal community is an invaluable resource to her clients, as it provides access to resources, relationships and a nuanced knowledge of the local, legal landscape. Her involvement in the legal community includes membership to the State Bar of California, as well as the San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Palo Alto Area, San Francisco Bar Associations and the American Bar Association. Ms. Bissada served as the 2011 President of the San Mateo County Bar Association and as a Board Member of this 1,400 member organization from 2002 — 2012.

Ms. Bissada has been a member and chair on a number of committees in the Bar Association, including: the Bench and Bar Committee, where she acted as a liaison between the County Judges and the lawyer members of the Bar to strengthen relationships with the judiciary and improve the legal practice in the County; the Finance Committee; the Membership Committee, where she works to improve the benefits, services and professional training programs for members; as well as the Community Affairs Committee, where she works to involve the public in Speaker events and inform service clubs, businesses, professional groups and schools in subjects relating to the law and administration of justice.

Ms. Bissada serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County as well as the Chair of the Board’s Development Committee. She is also the Co-Chair of the Legal Aid “And Justice For All” Annual Awards Luncheon Committee. Ms. Bissada works diligently to strengthen the relationship between the San Mateo County Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, ensuring that vital legal assistance and advocacy is available to numerous disadvantaged people in the community.

Ms. Bissada also serves on the Board of Directors for Overcoming Barriers, a non-profit organization created to promote children’s healthy relationships with their parents where a child is at risk of losing a relationship with a parent. Ms. Bissada is also the Chair of the Board’s Development Committee.

Ms. Bissada has been a member of Collaborative Practice San Mateo County since 2001, where she also serves on their Membership Committee. Staying actively involved in the Collaborative Practice enables Ms. Bissada to facilitate cooperation and mutual agreement between her clients and opposing parties. She also served on the Board of Managers for the Peninsula Family YMCA from 1999 through 2007. In addition, Ms. Bissada was a member of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program — Class of 2002, where she further honed her leadership skills to effectively serve her practice and her community.

Ms. Bissada is currently serving as Chair of the Legislative Day Committee for the Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA). She previously served a 3-year Board term from 2010-2013 as Regional Director on the Board of Directors of the CCBA. Since 2000, she has also served as a Delegate to the CCBA, representing San Mateo County. In the past, she has served in the capacity of Chair as well as Treasurer of the delegates representing San Mateo County on a statewide level where they critique, create and refine new and proposed legislation.

Awards

Ms. Bissada received the 2010 Dorothy M. Wolfe Award in recognition of her extraordinary devotion and pro bono work with the Legal Aid Society; for aiding those who would not otherwise have access to vital legal services. Ms. Bissada brings the same tenacity to her pro bono work as she does her practice. Ms. Bissada has worked as an exemplary volunteer for the Domestic Violence Collaborative Pro Bono Project, through which she represents low-income victims of domestic violence, aiding them in their filings and making court appearances on their behalf.

Ms. Bissada's continues her work with the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County by mentoring and inspiring other attorneys to take pro bono cases through the project. She has further trained and encouraged her associate attorneys at Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada to take on pro bono cases on a regular basis.

Community Involvement

After graduating from California Western School of Law in 1994, Ms. Bissada made a purposeful decision to move back to the Bay Area to start her family and career. This decision was motivated by a desire to make a contribution to the legal field in the community where she was raised. The driving force behind Ms. Bissada's commitment to helping underrepresented members of her community comes from her parent's immigration to the Bay Area.

Speaking Engagements

  • February 2014 – Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Annual Conference: 2-hour workshop with Matthew Sullivan, Ph.D., and Lynne Greenberg, Ph.D. “Working in the Minefield: Advanced Issues in Intervention with High Conflict Families.”
  • July 2013 - Notre Dame de Namur University, Clinical Psychology Graduate Department: 1.5-hour program for graduate students in “Law & Ethics” course on “Family Law Crossover Issues”;
  • May 2013 – The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 2013 Symposium: 1-hour panel with Attorneys John Harding, Wesley Kinnear and Gregory Maple on “How To: Practical Tips For Incorporating Premarital Agreements Into Your Family Law Practice”;
  • April 2013 – DLA Piper, LLP: 1-hour presentation to non-Family Law Attorneys on “Separation and Divorce: What Attorneys Should Know”;
  • June 2012 - Notre Dame de Namur University, Clinical Psychology Graduate Department: 2-hour presentation to graduate students in “Ethics in the Law” course on “Family Law Crossover Ethics in Psychology”;
  • January 2012 - San Mateo County Bar Association Funky Credit Day: 2-hour panel with San Mateo County Superior Judge Don R. Franchi and Joseph P. Crawford on “Ethics in Family Law”;
  • November 2011 - San Mateo County Women Lawyers: 1-hour panel with San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Susan I. Etezadi and Nancy L. Fineman on “Learning from my Mistakes”;
  • October 2008 - San Mateo County Family Law Section: 1-hour panel with Attorneys Stephen J. Montalvo and Michelene E. Insalaco on “How to Successfully Litigate Permanent Spousal Support”;
  • August 2008 - Administrative Office of the Courts: 2- hour presentation on “Move-Away Cases” to Family Court Services mediators from all over California being trained to handle mediation and custody evaluation cases;
  • April 2008 - OPES Advisors, Palo Alto, CA: 2-hour presentation to Financial Advisors and Loan Brokers on “Family Law Crossover issues in Advising Clients going Through Divorce”.

Extracurricular Activities

In her spare time, Ms. Bissada's interests include spending time with her family, strategic board games, traveling, movies and international cultures.

Education

JD, California Western School of Law, San Diego, 1994
BA, University of California, Davis, International Relations, 1989
BA, University of California, Davis, French, 1989

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