Attorney Profiles - Child:Nick Dilly

Nicholaus J. Dilly


"Ultimately, most divorce cases settle," Nicholaus Dilly notes. "But the path to a resolution is never the same."

Dilly learns from his clients by asking questions and by listening. "If you come to me, I want to know: What are your goals? What is important to you? Do you have children? Do you want to get divorced as soon as possible?" Every client wants to know the duration and the typical cost, he says. "I try to be as clear and honest as I can be and give an honest analysis of the case. I explain the process and how long it's going to take to complete certain steps. I want them to know what to expect."

In his practice, Dilly observes, "I have to know how to work with the other attorney, communicate our position to the judge, and look for success by analyzing the case from different points of view." Even with the best preparation, he finds, "There are things that surprise me all the time. Sometimes a case looks like it's going to go to trial—no one is budging on any issue—but on the eve of the trial we settle. At the end of the day, I really have to expect the unexpected." Dilly recalls a client who previously retained a different attorney and had totally given up on the possibility of getting any relief or support. "I thought maybe a common-sense approach would win out with the judge, and it did. In the end, I got more than we expected."

Of Davis Friedman, Dilly says, "Being with the pre-eminent family law firm in Chicago has made me much more focused and a better attorney. There is so much shared experience here, it's fantastic. If I'm presented with a situation I haven't seen before, chances are good that somebody else here already has relevant experience."

Dilly never thought he would be practicing family law. Before he joined Davis Friedman, he worked in general practice, which Dilly believes has helped him become a better-rounded attorney. "I was involved in a variety of cases, from foreclosures to mechanics' lien actions," he says. "You would be surprised how often other areas of law intersect with our family law practice."

Dilly cautions, "Lawyers can get lost in the minutiae and that can be a disservice to their clients. The details matter, of course, but it helps to keep the forest in mind while you are looking at the trees. You have to consider the total picture, and convince others to do the same." Dilly remembers filing an order of protection for one of his clients, a large man married to a much smaller woman. "This guy was really just a Teddy bear and had been abused. I knew, however, that it was going to be tough getting the judge to look past appearances. But I did. My client broke down and cried with joy afterward. It's at times like that you really feel the nature of the business and what you're doing for people."

Admitted to the Bar

2007, Illinois


Loyola University of Chicago Law School, 2007

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, B.S.B, 2004

Professional Memberships

Chicago Bar Association

Illinois State Bar Association

Accomplishments and Publications

Listed in Rising Stars, Super Lawyers

Leading Lawyers Emerging Lawyer Award (awarded to top 2 percent of lawyers under 40 or practicing less than 10 years), 2015

Greater Chicago Food Depository, Associate Board

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