Looking Ahead
Family law attorney Randi Vladimer excels at helping clients through tough times
by Leigh Stuart

Lawyer Randi Vladimer knew as a teen that law, and the pursuit of justice for all, would her life’s calling. Her inspiration: Dr. Sam Sheppard, whose case famously inspired both the 1963 television series “The Fugitive” and the 1993 motion picture of the same name.

“When I studied the Sam Sheppard murder case … it just showed me the inequities of the system, how some people can get convicted with little or faulty evidence and spend the rest of their lives in jail,” she says.

Vladimer wasted no time in pursuing this passion for truth and integrity after graduating from high school. She earned her undergraduate degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., in 1980, and during that time spent 18 months in Washington, D.C., working for the District of Columbia's Public Defender’s office, as well as Ralph Nader. She went on to graduate first in her class at the New England School of Law in Boston in 1983. She earned admittance to the Pennsylvania Bar Association that same year and quickly added impressive credentials from the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1986), U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit (1987) and U.S. Court of Federal Claims (1987).

With such top-notch qualifications, it fits that Vladimer’s professional career began with a highly respected position in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, followed by an equally distinguished position with Sprague and Sprague. With Richard Sprague as her mentor, Vladimer was able to finely hone both her negotiating and litigating skills. Eventually, however, Vladimer’s heart led her to family law and the founding of her own practice, focusing on matters such as divorce, child custody, support, protection from abuse orders (PFAs) and guardianship, in 1991.

“I enjoy helping people move on from a bad situation and helping people mend after their divorce,” she explains, noting she always tries to have people focus on the needs of any children involved as her client’s first priority. “I think that the basis is that whether it’s custody, support, divorce, PFA—any area of family law—it is a very challenging and difficult time that we hope to make easier, simpler and less stressful by what we do at here the firm.”

Vladimer advises any individual seeking a divorce to consult a reputable, honest attorney in order to assess the unique needs of their case. She has advised “plenty of people” who are looking to divorce but have little in the way of assets and debts, roughly equal pay and no children that they can file for divorce themselves and skip lawyers’ fees. However, for many couples seeking a divorce, the split cannot be made so easily or equitably. It is more likely that clients will look for an “easy” split and wind up with problems down the line.

Vladimer estimates that in roughly half the cases she takes, clients have had at least one lawyer previously. More often than not these cases have been so complex that other attorneys could not accomplish enough for their clients. Those cases are the challenges that she enjoys in that she finds it rewarding when she is able to accomplish a resolution. “‘Do-it-yourself’ divorces may not cost a lot at first but down the road they can cost clients thousands and thousands of dollars,” she says, noting clients should focus on not just the problems of today but also their future. “Getting [clients] to the end of this, whether they want the divorce or not, they’re always happier when it’s over,” she says.

At present, Vladimer says that some of the greatest challenges to her clients have been caused by prevailing economic issues. She cites a greater number of foreclosed homes, a volatile stock market, individuals’ growing debts and extended periods of joblessness as issues that are making some cases particularly challenging to resolve.

Luckily, Vladimer has some distinct advantages: her realistic approach, her experience and her expertise in family-law matters. She emphasizes the importance of putting one’s emotions aside in order to resolve complicated issues such as disputes over property or child custody, noting, “The only way to accomplish the goal is to treat the economics like a partnership split. It makes no sense to spend $5,000 to get $10,000 when there could be a compromise wherein the client will gain the same without expending the money or the emotions involved. In custody cases, parents have to put their children’s interests above their own."

In that in the coming months, Vladimer’s firm is looking to expand its area of expertise with a new sub-practice specializing in arbitration and mediation. The existing core structure of negotiation and litigation, however, will still remain a central focus.  

“With respect to the practice of family law … people need to have morals, have ethics, need to put aside any feelings about the opposing counsel or the opposing party and just do their job,” she says. “We’re a service industry. … All our clients deserve the respect and professionalism. Vladimer adds, “You have to believe in your client, but you also need to think with your head and not your heart.”

Vladimer’s concern for justice extends beyond the courtroom, too.

“I’ve always been an animal lover,” says Vladimer, who runs the group Give a Dog a Bone, which she started nearly five years. In this capacity she oversees operations of the group, which provides bones, treats, blankets, food, crates and more to animal shelters and rescues across the nation.

As an animal advocate, she also enjoys spending time with a number of four-legged friends, including horses and her four Welsh Corgis, who can be seen at her law office regularly.

Randi J. Vladimer, P.C.
320 King of Prussia Road, Suite 140
Radnor, PA 19087
610-975-9898 | randi@vladimerlaw.com | www.vladimerlaw.com