"Over the years, I realized that what clients want is a personal approach. They need to be heard. They need to feel empowered. I strive to make sure each of my clients feel like they are important and that they are receiving quality, tailored legal representation at any given moment. My clients' livelihood depends on me and I take that very seriously." Melissa "Missy" Kuffel, Owner of Kuffel Law, LLC
The years that truly formed Melissa's legal career were the 7 years she spent working as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for the Cook County Public Guardian's Office representing abused and neglected children (DCFS Wards). It was there that she developed a deep passion and dedication to children and families in the legal system.
Melissa graduated from The John Marshall Law School in 2008. Shortly thereafter, she began her career with the Cook County Public Guardian's Office. After 7 years of dedicating her life to public service and to the children in DCFS care, Melissa decided to branch out into Family Law. She joined Sullivan Taylor and Gumina in 2015 focusing on family law, child law, Adoption, DCFS work, and GAL work. She then joined Mulyk Laho, LLC in 2018 focusing on family law, child law, Adoption, DCFS and GAL work. From there, Melissa open Kuffel Law, LLC in February, 2021.
Melissa is very involved in her community. She is currently the President for the Dupage Association of Women Lawyers (D.A.W.L.), as well as a Kendall County Bar Association Board Member. She serves on the Hearing Board for the Attorney Registration and Discipline Committee (ARDC). She was also the Child Advocacy Chair in DuPage County in 2019. Melissa also volunteers for Meals on Wheels.
She also does presentations in the legal community including speaking at the DCBA Diversity Symposium and publishes articles on how DCFS works and how to navigate DCFS Appeals. She was also nominated as a Super Lawyer's Rising Star in 2021 and again in 2022.
Jessica Defino is a Senior Associate at Kuffel Law, LLC. located in Naperville, Illinois. Jessica is very passionate about helping families which is why she has focused her career on family law and DCFS matters. She is a zealous litigator, Guardian ad litem and Certified Mediator. Jessica has dedicated her career to all areas of family law including divorce, post-decree, parentage, child support, adoption, guardianship, appeals, orders of protection, and Guardian ad litem case. Jessica is also very involved in her community. She is the President of the DuPage County Justinian Society of Lawyers and is a board member on the DuPage County Bar Association. Previously, Jessica served as the Chair of the DuPage County New Lawyers Division. She also has been selected by her peers as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Jacqueline is an experienced litigation attorney who has practiced for over twenty years in Illinois’ State Courts in DuPage, Cook, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties, as well as the Federal District Court in Chicago and the First and Second District Appellate Courts. She has been successful in a broad range of litigation areas, including family law, business litigation, trust and estate litigation, land use litigation and eminent domain.
Jacqueline is especially skilled at handling cases in the pre-trial phase, with the goal of promoting a quick and fair settlement. She also has experience with alternative means of resolving disputes such as mediation and arbitration. If a case cannot be resolved through negotiation, Jacqueline has experience litigating both trials before a judge, and trials before juries. If an opposing party appeals a verdict or a ruling is not favorable to a client, Jacqueline is an experienced appellate attorney, and has handled cases in several district appellate courts, arguing in person before such courts.
Jacqueline has a passion for helping people and she brings this devotion to every client. In matters big and small she takes a personal interest in every case. She has always loved stepping in and helping someone who is being treated unfairly or experiencing injustice. She is most proud of her cases where she was able to make a positive difference in a client’s life through successful litigation.
Jacqueline has devoted significant time to helping the needy in her community and beyond. She has done extensive volunteer work over her career representing Pro Bono clients for various public interest organizations including Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, DuPage Legal Assistance Foundation and Prairie State Legal Services. She has served as a court-appointed advocate on behalf of inmates bringing civil rights claims in federal court. Jacqueline has also volunteered extensively outside of her community. Most recently, during the summer of 2022 she traveled to Spain with her daughter to work with World Central Kitchen at Ukrainian refugee intake centers.
Jacqueline has been an avid world- traveler throughout her adult life and enjoys all types of travel including touring cities and cultural sites, exploring places with incredible natural beauty, and adventurous travel to more remote corners of the world. She also spends a great deal of time during the warmer months working in the beautiful gardens she has spent over twenty years bringing to life.