Gemma B. Allen
Founder and Partner
A heartfelt plea to help her mother’s friend with a complex high stakes divorce led Gemma B. Allen to dedicate most of her professional career to family law. Though an advocate for marriage, she has long understood that, when a marriage breaks down irreconcilably, a client needs strong counsel and caring support. Gemma combines her unique brand of strategic thinking and compassion with effective advocacy in the courtroom to successfully represent the firm’s clients.
A co-founder with Ronald S. Ladden (now retired) of Ladden & Allen, Chartered, Gemma has represented thousands of men and women on matters spanning the entire range of family law issues. Today, Gemma with her law partner Todd Glassman and their team provide the same level of attention to every case, whether it is a simple uncontested divorce or a high-stakes complex case involving multi-millions of dollars. Through their own experience, as well as tapping the expertise of forensic experts in the areas of taxes, accounting, business valuation and estate planning, they effectively assist clients in navigating complex issues involved in marriage dissolution, including the division of marital property, whether by negotiation or on trial. She is a court-certified mediator in the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Ladden & Allen is known for its history of hosting cutting-edge family law Better Beginnings, Fewer Endings Think Tanks (TM), bringing together judges, mental health practitioners, clergy, attorneys and other interdisciplinary professionals who are interested in recognizing and addressing serious family law related matters. Topics have included “intimate terrorism” in relationships, the law and psychology relevant to custody litigation and its effect on children, the strategy and costs of litigation, and the need for more resources for divorcing couples both inside and outside the courtroom.
Gemma is a co-author with retired Cook County Judge Michele Lowrance and financial writer and money advisor Terry Savage of The New Love Deal: Everything You Must Know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On! (May 2014, Paperback $16.95), which fearlessly explores the financial and practical issues that couples confront, and the agreements that can resolve these differences before they destroy the relationship. She and the co-authors have appeared on national TV and radio on the topic and lectured at private functions. Gemma also authored Secrets of Successful Partners, a compilation of interviews she conducted with successfully married couples of all ages.
In March 2015, Gemma and her law partner Todd Glassman delivered a presentation titled “The Pros and Cons of Using Social Media in Divorce” at a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program to members of the Lake County Bar Association. Their article on the same topic appeared in the February 2015 issue of the association’s monthly magazine, The Docket.
In 2011, Gemma authored a chapter, “Family Law: A Mission and a Career,” published by Aspatore Press, a leading publisher of business and legal materials, and has been invited to do so again in 2016. Additionally, she has written more than 100 other articles and lectured on topics that include divorce, child support, the representation of children in divorce, maintenance, mediation, business valuations in divorce litigation, psychological/legal standards for forensic evaluations in custody issues, cohabitation, civil unions, women and money, and legal separation and reconciliation. She served on the Planning Committee for “Business Valuation: Financial & Tax Issues in Divorce,” Illinois’ foremost CLE event on advanced financial topics for family law attorneys presented by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.
Gemma repeatedly has been selected by her peers as a member of the Leading Lawyers Network, SuperLawyers, Legal Leaders and Best Lawyers. She was named by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Chicago’s 100 Most Influential Women. In 2017, she won two awards from women's entrepreneur organizations for her business success and commitment to volunteerism and mentoring.
Long active in the Illinois State Bar Association, Gemma has served as an appointed member of its Family Law Section Council and was co-chair of the Model Mediation Act sub-committee. She was appointed a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Child Support and the Task Force on Attorneys for Children, and was also an appointed member of the Advisory Council on Women of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Currently, she is a member of the Alumni Board of the John Felice Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago, where she is chair of the mentoring committee.
Gemma is the past president of two nonprofit organizations: The Lilac Tree, a resource for women at all stages of divorce, and Forensic Forum, a membership organization that provides a platform for forensic experts in the family law field to share information, propose legislation, and work to improve the practice of domestic relations.
She and her late husband Albert Nader have four adult children and several grandchildren.