Bella Schnall

Partner

Chair, Family Law

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Bella Schnall is Partner in the Philadelphia office of Greenblatt Pierce Funt & Flores, LLC (GPFF). Ms. Schnall is Director of the firm’s Family Law Division. She is an attorney with over 30 years’ experience in the area of family law/domestic relations. Ms. Schnall handles a wide range of matters including divorce, child support and child custody cases as well as drafting of pre- and post-nuptial agreements. She practices in state court in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1976, Ms. Schnall began her career as an attorney for Western Massachusetts Legal Services in Springfield, Massachusetts where she was employed for six years in private practice. Thereafter she took the position of Clinical Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. In that position she taught students the practical aspects of interviewing actual clients, drafting pleadings, negotiating settlements and supervised their in-court representation of these clients. Many of these clients had domestic relations problems and Ms. Schnall also became familiar with a variety of state court civil litigations matters.

Ms. Schnall entered solo private practice in 1986, focusing her skills in the area of family law. Over the past 30 years she has represented many clients in all areas of domestic relations she is committed to obtaining the best possible outcome for her clients whether the case is resolved through negotiation or concludes after a trial. Ms. Schnall is an experienced family law litigator as well as a seasoned negotiator and she will make every effort to resolve domestic relations problems as simply and effectively as possible. Ms. Schnall also assists clients in the preparation of pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

Domestic relations problems are perhaps the most difficult and emotionally stressful legal problems that anyone can face. Confronted with emotional as well as financial turmoil, people often find they need help in sorting out and unraveling a frightening new life experience. Ms. Schnall brings a wealth of expertise to her work.

Ms. Schnall is a trained Collaborative Divorce Attorney and will work with her clients to resolve their cases without resorting to courtroom litigation if both parties agree to proceed collaboratively. Ms. Schnall served a co-President of Collaborative Lawyers of Southeastern Pennsylvania (formally Collaborative Family Law Affiliates) for two years and in that capacity she has participated in creating and expanding the visibility of Collaborative Family Law in the five-county area as well as providing training for attorneys seeking to learn more about this growing area of practice.

Ms. Schnall was a staff attorney at the Women’s Law Project of Pennsylvania and in that position she worked with young women to increase athletic opportunities for them in Pennsylvania’s high schools. She lobbied with state legislators and assisted in drafting what became Pennsylvania’s first statute designed to measure and ensure equal athletic opportunities for boys and girls.

Ms. Schnall has earned preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell for both her legal skills and her ethical practice for the past 15 years. She was named as one of Philadelphia’s top rated lawyers in the area of family law in 2012 and 2013.

Ms. Schnall has been a lecturer for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and the Pennsylvania Institute for Certified Accountants and she has served as a faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. In addition, Ms. Schnall served on the Board or Directors of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Volunteers for the Indigent Program VIP from 2011 to 2016. This agency recruits private counsel to provide pro bono legal assistance to clients in civil matters when they cannot afford an attorney and would otherwise be incapable of redressing their legal rights. One major area of service provided through VIP is domestic relations matters and Ms. Schnall has been an active volunteer since the program began.

Ms. Schnall was an adjunct professor at Western New England School of law where she created and taught a course on Women and the Law. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and attained a JD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Honors

Honors:

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV professional rating since 1998.
  • Philadelphia’s Top Rated Lawyers-Family Law 2012, 2013.
  • Recipient of Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program 2012 “Thirty for Thirty” Award.
Professional Activities

Professional Activities:

Professional Memberships, Teaching & Leadership Positions:

  • Member Nicholas Cipriani Inn of Court (Master) 2007-present, including presenter at several meetings on various topics related to family law practice and procedure.
  • Volunteer for Indigent Program Chancellor’s Award 2004
  • Faculty Member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Trial Advocacy Training, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987.
  • Member, Board of Directors of the Family Planning Counsel of Southeastern Pennsylvania 1982 to 1989, 1992 to 2009 and currently.
  • Member, Board of Directors of Germantown Jewish Centre, 2006-2010.
  • Member, Philadelphia Bar Association (including Family Law Section).
  • Co-President Collaborative Family Law Affiliates 2011 to 2016; Member of Collaborative Family Law Affiliates 2003 to present.
  • Member, Nicholas Cipriani Family Law Inn of Court 2008 to present.
  • Lecturer, Pennsylvania Institute for Certified Accountants (PICPA) Foundation for Education and Research, conference on “Bankruptcy and Divorce”, September 14, 1992, October 13, 1993 and November 2, 1995.
  • Lecturer, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, “Bankruptcy Issues in Family Practice”, June 19, 1991.
  • Lecturer, The People’s Law School of the Philadelphia Bar Association, “Domestic Relations”, June 13, 1990; June 5, 1991 and October 29, 1991.
  • Retained Counsel, Community Legal Services, Inc. Philadelphia, PA, October, 1988 through February, 1989, handling Social Security Disability litigation caseload.
  • Trainer, Legal Services Corporation (LSC) “Trial Practice Skills Training” February, 1980 (Boston, MA) and April, 1980 (Connecticut). (Continuing legal education program sponsored by LSC for staff attorneys).
  • Retained Counsel, Housing Allowance Program of Springfield, Inc., for various periods from June, 1979 through August, 1982. General landlord/tenant litigation, for this non-profit corporation that provided legal advocacy for low-income tenants in Springfield, MA.
  • Attorney for Springfield City-Wide Public Housing Tenants’ Organization, 1976-1980, representing approximately 2,000 public housing tenants in general landlord/tenant problems, state-wide negotiations on leases and testimony at public hearings concerning state and federal public housing legislation.
  • Attorney for the Springfield, MA Hotline to End Rape and Abuse, Inc.- a non-profit organization providing food, shelter, counseling and legal representation to women and children victims of domestic violence and abuse, 1979-1982.
Publications

Publications:

  • Co-Author with Terry Fromson and Susan Frietsche. Are Schools Giving Female Athletes a Sporting Chance: A Guide to Gender Equity in Athletics in Pennsylvania Schools. Women’s Law Project, 2009.
  • Contributing Author with Clark Boardman. Enforcement of Support Orders. 1998.
Presentations

Presentations:

  • “Confidentiality of Mental Health Records”, presentation to domestic violence and social service agency professionals (with Amal Bass and Ariel Greenstein of the Women’s Law Project), September 30, 2010.
  • Panel Member, “How Men Think”, November 14, 1986 and March 14, 1987, a seminar for women attorneys demonstrating the differences between behavior of men and women in a variety of professional legal settings including skill demonstrations.