Deborah H. Wald is the founder and managing partner at The Wald Law Group. A Certified Family Law Specialist*, her work has evolved over the past 28 years from a part-time home-based family formation law practice to a multi-disciplinary full service family law firm. Ms. Wald’s goal is to ensure that all individuals, families and children coming to The Wald Law Group receive the highest quality legal protections available. (*Certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.)
In addition to a strong general knowledge of family law, Ms. Wald has three specific areas of expertise: assisted reproduction law, parentage law and the law as it impacts lesbian, gay and transgender families. She has been involved in shaping California’s legislative approach to all three of these areas, and also has three published parentage appeals to her name. Most recently (and in addition to her retained appellate work), she has been accepting court appointed parentage appeals for children in the dependency system.
A teacher and author as well as a lawyer, Ms. Wald uniquely blends a practitioner’s experience with national and historical perspectives. She has served as an adjunct professor at both the University of San Francisco and Golden Gate University Law schools. She publishes regularly in journals such as California Family Law Monthly, the State Bar of California Family Law News, and newsletters of the California Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS-CA) and California Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC-CA).
Ms. Wald speaks nationally on contemporary family law issues. Recent venues include the National Association of Women Judges: the American Bar Association; the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA); the State Bar of California; the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC-CA); and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA) / American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA).
Ms. Wald also is an experienced criminal defense attorney, having started her career as a public defender and then gone on to focus on indigent criminal appeals. As a criminal defense lawyer she largely devoted her energy to protecting non-citizens facing deportation or exclusion from the United States as a result of their contacts with the criminal justice system. She also was a founder of Women Defenders, an organization providing professional, technical and social support for female criminal defense practitioners.
Ms. Wald recently served as a member of the State Bar of California Family Law Executive Committee (FLEXCOM). She currently is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA), and the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers and Academy of California Family Formation Lawyers (ACAL/ACFFL). Ms. Wald is a member of American and California chapters of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts (AFCC). She is the Chair of the National Family Law Advisory Council for the National Center for Lesbian Right (NFLAC), and formerly served on the Board of Directors of Our Family Coalition, the Bay Area’s largest LGBT family organization. Ms. Wald is a member of the local bar associations of San Francisco (BASF) and Alameda counties, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), and the National LGBT Bar Association. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, Ms. Wald lives in San Francisco with her partner of many years and their big dog whose responsibility it is to make sure that no matter how busy Ms. Wald gets, she doesn’t forget to start each morning by taking a walk.
Anne Mania is a senior associate attorney at The Wald Law Group with a focus on divorce and dissolution including property division and support issues as well as custody and visitation. Ms. Mania brings a practical approach to her work, and works to protect the rights of her clients and their children, but does not waste resources by engaging in needless conflict and litigation.
Ms. Mania has practiced law in both state and federal courts, and at both the trial and appellate level, with an emphasis on family and criminal law matters including juvenile delinquency appeals, ADA compliance, and juvenile justice. She began her fifteen-year legal career as a civil rights litigator working first for the non-profit Prison Law Office and then for the San Francisco firm Rosen, Bien, Galvan and Grunfeld. Subsequently Anne opened her own office where she practiced family law, both as a litigator and a mediator, as well as criminal law.
Ms. Mania is a member of the Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections of the Alameda County Bar Association and the California State Bar Associations. She is also a member the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts, and the Pacific Juvenile Defense Center.
Currently Anne volunteers as a mediator in Alameda County courts, and serves as an instructor in mediation trainings with SEEDS Community Resolution Services in Berkeley. A graduate of UC Davis School of Law, in her free time Anne plays soccer, hikes in the Oakland hills, and enjoys spending time with her family.
Lauren B. Wilner is an associate attorney with the The Wald Law Group. Her focus is on all aspects of family law, including assisted reproductive law, guardianships and adoption, as well as complex family law matters including stock option apportionment, property characterization, spousal and child support, and highly contentious child custody disputes.
Ms. Wilner received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she received numerous awards and recognition for her oral and written advocacy skills, served as a teaching assistant for Legal Writing and Research, Moot Court, and Appellate Advocacy and as a member of the Moot Court Board. During law school, Ms. Wilner served as a legal research assistant to David L. Faigman, interned at the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office, and was a law clerk at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. Ms. Wilner also externed at the San Francisco Unified Family Court under the Honorable Michael I. Begert.
Ms. Wilner graduated with distinction from the University of Washington where she earned a B.A. in English literature and a minor in Middle Eastern languages and civilizations.
Ms. Wilner is a member of the American Bar Association, Family Law Section and Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, the Bar Association of San Francisco, the San Mateo County Bar Association, and a Mentee of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
Prior to joining The Wald Law Group, Ms. Wilner as an associate at Berra Stross & Wallacker in San Mateo, CA.
In her spare time, Ms. Wilner enjoys maintaining her amateur cooking blog and spending time with her family.