OUR ATTORNEYS

 
Dennigan Cahill Smith has been practicing across New Jersey for more than a decade.  They are experts in the law, are experienced litigators, negotiators and mediators and have a great reputation among both their clients and the legal community.
Our team of dedicated attorneys and paralegals is focused on meeting your needs from the first phone call through to the resolution of your matter.  When you're faced with decisions that will impact the rest of your life, it is important to work with a law firm where every member of the team is dedicated to meeting your needs and planning for your future.

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Grace Dennigan

After 30 years of practice, a couple of ideas resonate and prove true over and over.  One is that couples are much more satisfied with the terms of their divorce if they decide the issues for themselves rather than having a judge determine the outcome.  This notion of "owning it" led Grace to want to empower clients - to educate and empathize and provide clients with the skills to decide their own fate.  This has been actualized in the expansion of the practice into collaborative law and mediation.

Grace has tried countless cases and the emotional and financial toll does not equate with a superior result.  The decision a judge makes rarely reflects creative thinking or the personalities of the litigants.  In the collaborative process however, clients are encouraged to seek the result that really suits the individual or family without the constraints of litigation.  Mediation, which can be part of the collaborative method (or not), also promotes the parties' self-determination.  Although Grace is a seasoned litigator, she is a trained collaborative lawyer as well as a mediator and is dedicated to offering these services to the practice as an alternative to litigation for those clients looking for additional means of dispute resolution.

After completing law school, Grace became licensed in New Jersey and completed a judicial clerkship in Union County.  She became an associate at Carchman, Annich, Socher & Shuster, a Princeton law firm, before joining the Attorney General's office in 1987.  After a great deal of jury trial work there, she returned to private practice, concentrating on family law ever since.

In addition to her law practice, she teaches the Family Law for Paralegals course at Mercer County Community College as well as courses for the NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

She has served as the Chair for the District VII Ethics Committee.  She is a member of the Mid Jersey Collaborative Law Alliance, the NJ Association of Professional Mediators, the Mercer County Bar Association and the NJ State Bar Association.

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Mia Cahill

A partner at DCS, Mia has the experience, support and toughness clients need to make it through divorces and family upheavals.  She has been practicing in New Jersey since 2003, and represents clients in Mercer, Somerset and Middlesex Counties.  Her approach is client-driven, and where applicable, child-centered. Mia has particular experience with clients in complex family cases, high-asset cases, families with small businesses and those struggling in families with mental health issues.  She has worked with numerous divorcing clients who have special needs children.  She has an extensive professional network that she uses to assist clients in making connections with other professionals, such as accountants, appraisers, and therapists.

Prior to her practicing law, she was an academic researcher, having received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.  She taught there and at New York University, and continues to work as part-time faculty at Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Studies.  She is the author the book The Social Construction of Sexual Harassment Law, and has published in the Stanford Law Review, Law & Social Inquiry, the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy and the Law & Society Review, and in several books such as How Law Matters, The Diffusion of Social Problems and the "Women in Crisis" Handbook of the United Nations Women's Guild.

Mia helped to found the collaborative law group in the Princeton area, "Mid-Jersey Collaborative Law Alliance," and served on the Board.  She is a court-approved mediator for civil and family, and a private mediator.  She was elected twice as a Princeton public school board member, serving from 2006 to 2012, and is a former Trustee of the Women in the Profession Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the Princeton Education Foundation.  In 2009, she was an honoree of the Tribute to Women Award, of the YWCA of Princeton.

Mia is a member of the Mercer County Bar Association, the Middlesex County Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Law and Society Association, the American Bar Association, and other professional and community organizations.

As a mediator, Mia's dispute resolution experience is scholarly and practical. She was the Hewlett Fellow for Dispute Resolution at the University of Wisconsin, where she received her Ph.D.  Prior to her family law practice, she worked in academia, and published on the scholarly issues of dispute resolution such as fairness, settlement and process. As a practicing attorney and mediator on the court-approved list for civil and family since 2003, Dr. Cahill is mindful of the benefits- and the pitfalls- of mediation. She strives to help the couple achieve their goals in dispute resolution.

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Elizabeth (Beth) Smith

Beth came to the practice of law over 12 years ago after working with families in crisis as a social worker for nearly 15 years. With this background, her focus as an attorney is two-fold.  Her first objective is to assist clients in defining their needs and goals for themselves and their families before, during and after a divorce.  The second is to work with persistence and professionalism to assist clients in divorcing in a manner that closely aligns with their needs and goals while minimizing the difficulty of the divorce experience.  A client recently recommended Beth as follows:

 

"Beth Smith is the best advocate you could ever have. Advocate - someone to fight for you, someone to support you, someone to argue for you, your champion. She was highly recommended and far exceeded my expectation of what working with an attorney on a divorce could be like.

She is highly professional, incredibly smart, resourceful, tenacious, tireless and caring. Let me say more about caring. Divorce is a stressful process and Beth helps you to make the best of it - she is calm, supportive, empathetic and when appropriate, humorous. She will help you work through your priorities, financial and emotional, give you all the options, assist you to make the best decisions, develop a strategy and work until she achieves your goals. She is also strong, and tough and aggressive if that's what the situation calls for."

 

In practice, Beth focuses primarily on family law issues: divorce, custody, domestic violence and DCP&P. She is as adept at complex litigation as she at trying to find the most economical way to resolve your matter.  Beth is a qualified Parenting Coordinator, maintaining a parenting coordination practice, assisting parents working through custody and parenting time issues in high conflict divorces. In addition to her family law focus, she is an experienced mediator in divorce and custody matters and serve as a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem.

Beth graduated from Hartwick College with a BA in political science and Spanish, followed by a Master's degree in social work from Fordham University, magna cum laude. She completed her law degree from the University of San Francisco, earning the Cali Award for excellence, and became licensed in New Jersey and New York in 2004. Prior to joining Dennigan Cahill Smith in 2008 she worked for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office as a Deputy Attorney General for three and a half years where she was in court three to four days a week honing her litigation skills as an attorney representing the Department of Child Planning and Permanency. Beth is a member of the Mercer County Bar Association, New Jersey Bar Association, American Bar Association, Mercer County Domestic Violence Task Force, and the Mid-Jersey Collaborative Law Alliance<https://www.mjcla.org/>. Beth serves as a panelist on the Mercer County Early Settlement Panel and was appointed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey to the District VII Ethics Committee where she is currently serving her second term.

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Neil Shuster

Neil H. Shuster has enjoyed a prestigious legal career. He served with distinction as a Superior Court Judge for 20 years before retiring in 2008. He is currently Of Counsel where he is in demand as a mediator and arbitrator in civil and general equity matters.

Judge Shuster received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in 1967 and his law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1970. He clerked in the Appellate Division for the Honorable John W. Fritz and then gained criminal jury trial experience as a Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor for three years. He practiced law in the private sector for ten years with Carchman, Annich, Sochor and Shuster in Princeton before returning to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office in 1986 as the First Assistant Prosecutor.

Neil was appointed to the Superior Court, Law Division in Mercer County in 1988. He was named the Civil Presiding Judge in 1990 and served in that capacity until he was elevated to Presiding Judge in the Chancery Division, General Equity Part in 2001. During his tenure as a Presiding Judge, he served as the Chair of the Conference of Civil Presiding Judges and later Chair of the Conference of General Equity Judges. He was named The 2010 Professional Lawyer of the Year by the Mercer County Bar Association.

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Michelle Newton

Michelle possesses the rare combination of intellect and compassion that are essential to the zealous and earnest representation that is the hallmark of Dennigan Cahill Smith.  Michelle is known for her attention to detail and diligence.  Her methodical preparation and patience has been of significant benefit to clients of Dennigan Cahill Smith.

Michelle's interest in family law began in law school, where she interned at Partners for Women and Justice, and earned the Center for Social Justice Award for the Most Significant Contribution in the Family Law Clinic.  She excelled in and out of the classroom earning the Charles H. Revson Law Student Public Interest Fellowship as well as the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Advancement of Animal Law Scholarship.  She was also the Symposium Editor of the Seton Hall Legislative Journal, Vol. 36 and a member of the Dispute Resolution Society.

Michelle is a member of the Mercer County Bar Association, Burlington County Bar Association, and the New Jersey State Bar Association.  She is active in many Bar related activities and volunteers at a local animal shelter in her spare time.  She is a former competitive swimmer.  She is a runner who has completed her first half marathon in preparation for her first full marathon.

 Email Michelle Newton.