After more than 20 years of experience in a variety of co-managed law firms, Stuart Knotts Skok decided to step out on her own last year. She opened her own practice, Stuart Skok Law LLC, in 2017, and is proud of the place she has built in the matrimonial and family law industry. She strongly believes in creating a unique strategy for every case because they are all different; none are too big or small for her. Clients know that when they come to her, they are hiring just her, not an associate or anyone else, and that she will be fully committed to providing the best solution possible.
To further stand out from her peers, Ms. Skok has carved out a niche in special needs cases, inspired by her own son with special needs. Prior to having her son in 2003, who was born with Down syndrome, she never met anyone with a disability before him and had no idea what it meant, for him or herself. Propelled into this new foreign world, her life perspective and rules were redefined and reshaped for the better. She learned that she could, in fact, muster the strength to do what was needed in the face of unbearable despair – the very advice she so easily gave to clients before. With humility of circumstance comes gratitude for the small incremental accomplishments. Her son did not just bring new positive light to her family, but also to her work in cases, where special needs children are involved. Ms. Skok can apply what she has experienced firsthand to better understand and help similar clients and families. She finds that not all lawyers in family law understand what it is like to go through a divorce with special needs children and to address the unique challenges that arise.
Ms. Skok has learned that the measure of success in cases and for clients is not about defeating the other side at all costs; in fact, winning at all costs is often contrary to what is best for your client. She has seen this firsthand in cases that were “won” only to have unending litigation follow on app. Ms. Skok has learned that there is an important balance to strike in guiding clients on what is most important to them. When caught in the deep emotions and grief of divorce, it is difficult for anyone to have an objective perspective on what is most important. It turns out, time and again, that the “give and take” negotiated deals are the cases where clients are most happy and can move on with their new life with peace, which then trickles down to their children.
When Ms. Skok isn’t working, she enjoys using her skills to connect with her community. She is currently a board member of the Collaborative Project of Maryland, a bar leader of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation, a peer review committee member at the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland, an advisory panel member of the American Bar Association, a founding member of the Maryland Collaborative Practice Council, and both a founding member and a board member of the Collaborative Divorce Association, Inc. She is also actively involved with the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County, and has authored four editions of “Handbook for Separation and Divorce In Maryland.” Previous civic positions include barrister and pupil of the Montgomery County Maryland American Inn of Court, and judge of the Montgomery County High School Mock Trial Competition. Looking to the future, Ms. Skok hopes to become more involved in the collaborated divorce community and to lecture more on family law, particularly regarding special needs children and divorce.
Although Ms. Skok loves her career, she didn’t always intend to be a lawyer. It wasn’t until college when she joined the debate team that she discovered that she really liked presenting arguments. She proceeded to graduate from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1991 and the West Virginia University College of Law with a JD in 1995. She has been admitted to practice in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia, as well as before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and the Supreme Court of the United States. Additionally, Ms. Skok is certified in collaborative law, family law mediation, civil mediation, and circuit court mediation and facilitation.
In recognition of her efforts, Ms. Skok has been named a Top Family Attorney in Maryland and the District of Columbia by SuperLawyers, and has held a 10.0 Superb Rating in Family Law with AAVO since 2009. She also holds an A/V Preeminent Rating and a Gold Client Championship Award from Martindale-Hubbell, and honors from Bethesda Magazine, the Ten Leaders Cooperative, the Bar Association of Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Commission for Women Counseling and Career Center, Washington Lawyer Magazine, Baltimore Magazine and Best Lawyers.
Ms.Skok’s top priorities moving forward include knowing what those priorities are on any given day and being flexible to change them when new ideas or opportunities arise, like her new beginning in Colorado after being a Maryland attorney for over 20 years. She believes in learning something new all the time to continue to refine and learn new ways to approach cases. Within five years, she will expand her family law practice, delve into other areas of the law, and contribute and lead within the legal community. In her free time, Ms. Skok enjoys the outdoors, reading, exercising, yoga, and exploring fun places to visit in and out of the country.