When Hilary Sefton, a partner with Grunyk & Associates, P.C., was house hunting for her family, she happened upon Clarendon Hills and immediately felt she had found the perfect spot. She called her husband to tell him about the quaint and peaceful town. With her office in Naperville and his in Chicago, “We were looking up and down the train line,” she says.
They bought a house that Hilary glimpsed that very day and now find themselves enjoying dinners at Talley’s Kitchen + Bar and Aguamiel Restaurante, both as a couple and en familia with their two young children along.
Hilary is a member of the Clarendon Hills chapter of the Infant Welfare Society (IWS) of Chicago. “Organizations that support families are so important to us as a firm—it’s part of what we do in our jobs but also what we gravitate toward outside of work,” Hilary says, stressing that she likes that IWS looks out for the best interest of children.
“We feel very welcomed,” Hilary says, adding, “The people in Clarendon Hills are very genuine and everyone seems willing to help one another.”
Since Hilary spends her days helping people, finding a place where others help was the right fit. We hear throughout our lives how important it is to have a strong support system, like the one that Hilary and her family found when they moved to this friendly community. Never is that more true than when we’re facing big life events. Whether it is something painful, like a divorce, or joyful, like an adoption, change brings about difficulties, and it is important to surround yourself with people who can help.
Hilary, along with the entire staff at Grunyk & Associates, believes in building this support team for her clients. They are happy to recommend other professionals for additional support, like a therapist with whom to talk through the overwhelming feelings or a financial planner to get your budget in shape for the new reality. The team of female attorneys helps their clients navigate the legal process as they seek to resolve their family law issues. The philosophy—divorce with dignity—is the cornerstone of the practice.
Everyone at Grunyk & Associates is devoted to the idea that the men and women they represent are real people, and the decisions that are made affect their lives in profound ways. The firm is about open communication and realistic expectations.
While Grunyk & Associates is prepared for litigation, they emphasize and encourage clients to work collaboratively, meaning that their goal is to resolve issues in a respectful way. “We always focus on negotiation,” Hilary says. The attorneys in the firm maintain good relationships with other lawyers, which also serves to further negotiation in cases.
Clients are also treated respectfully in that they are told what the likely outcome might be and advised on how to proceed with the matter. “The hard part is that no one gets everything they want,” Hilary explains. She and the firm are committed not to the idea of winners and losers, but to what will benefit their clients’ lives in the long run. This is especially true when there are children involved.
Hilary was named an Illinois “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine in both 2012 and 2013, a recognition given to less than 2.5 percent of attorneys in Illinois under 40. Chicago magazine also selected Hilary as one of the top young lawyers in Illinois for 2012.
It’s rare to meet someone with this combination of top-notch skills and highly developed human understanding. But Hilary has it, making her a very good person to know.
-Michelle Crowe. Photography by Paige McFadden Photography