About Our Chicago
Family Law Firm
Smith Grattan Vivanco LLP specializes in complex family law matters. Whether the complexity results from the client or opposing party’s high net worth or the personalities of one or more of the individuals involved, the firm offers a specially tailored strategy to every client’s matter.
Although Smith Grattan Vivanco LLP strives to amicably settle cases whenever possible, that is not always a feasible or attainable goal. As such, the firm possesses the litigation skills and readiness to resolve matters in Court when the situation warrants it.
Smith Grattan Vivanco LLP was founded by attorneys Heather Smith Grattan and Kathryn McMahon Vivanco to provide skilled and effective representation to clients who need a thoughtful and strategic approach to navigate the end of their relationship and pursue a fresh start. Kathryn and Heather have both concentrated their practice in family law their entire careers and bring two decades of combined experience practicing family law at the highest level.
About Heather Smith Grattan
Heather Smith Grattan is the co-founder of Smith Grattan Vivanco LLP. Heather has practiced family law exclusively since she was admitted to practice. She is passionate about helping people establish and protect their most valuable rights, through settlement or litigation.
Heather developed an early dedication to family law and took every available opportunity to gain experience in the field while in law school. Among other things, she served as a Senior Law Student in the University of Illinois College of Law Civil Litigation Clinic, where she assisted with the pro bono representation of individuals in divorce and related matters. In addition, Heather was a judicial extern to the Honorable Grace Dickler, the former Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Division in the Circuit Court of Cook County. She was also an intern at the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. During law school, Heather also gained hands-on work experience in private practice and served as an Associate Editor of The Elder Law Journal.
Prior to starting her own firm, Heather practiced law at other prominent family law firms for over six years. Heather's years of working closely with some of the most respected and seasoned family law attorneys in the Chicagoland area as her mentors and her dedicated practice have given her unique and invaluable experience in this field.
In addition to her innate legal prowess and education, Heather’s skill set stems from her big firm training. However, she delivers small firm, hands-on attention to all her clients. Heather displays a keen attention to detail and tenacious work ethic in every matter she chooses to take on. She guides clients through what may be the most challenging time in their lives with a profound understanding of the process and an abundance of empathy.
More about Heather…
- University of Illinois College of Law
Juris Doctor, magna cum laude
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Arts, cum laude and with high distinction
- Illinois, 2013
Selected Legal Publications
- Note, The Elder Law and Miscellaneous Remedies Division: A Unique Opportunity to Serve as a Model Court for the Nation, 20 Elder L.J. 521 (2013).
Selected Legal Presentations
- “Come and Get Me: Interstate Discovery and Subpoena Enforcement” (with Craig M. Mandell), 23rd Annual Lake County Bar Association Family Law Conference, April 2017.
Honors & Awards
- Selected a Super Lawyers’ Rising Star – 2021, 2022, 2023
- Selected a Leading Lawyers’ Emerging Lawyer – 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
According to Leading Lawyers, “Emerging Lawyers have been identified by their peers to be among the TOP LAWYERS who are age 40 or younger unless they have practiced for no more than 10 years. Less than 2% of all lawyers licensed in each state have received the distinction of Emerging Lawyer.”
Similarly, Super Lawyers states that “no more than 2.5 percent [of the lawyers in the state] are named to the Rising Stars list.”
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
- The Chicago Bar Association
- Lake County Bar Association
- WINGS Metro Associate Council, member
- The Lilac Tree, committee member
- Impact Grants Chicago, past committee member
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Chicago Wine Opener, past committee member
About Kathryn McMahon Vivanco
Kathryn McMahon Vivanco is the co-founder of Smith Grattan Vivanco LLP. Kate has worked exclusively in family law since the start of her legal career. Kate is passionate about helping her clients successfully navigate the divorce and separation process through cooperative processes such as collaborative law, mediation, and settlement as well as through litigation when needed.
Prior to founding Smith Grattan Vivanco LLP, Kate was a partner at a prominent family law firm in Chicago where she gained extensive experience in settling and litigating complex family law matters for over a decade. Kate understands that every family’s situation is unique, and she works with each client to determine a strategic approach based on the client’s goals and interests. Kate handles every engagement with empathy, compassion, and focused attention to detail.
In law school, Kate received a certificate in tax law where she focused her studies on family law, taxation, and trust and estate planning. In addition, she gained litigation experience in Illinois state court as a judicial extern for the Honorable Donald J. O’Brien, Jr. (retired), Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division, and in federal immigration court as a legal intern at the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of the Chief Counsel.
More about Kathryn…
- Illinois, 2012
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D., Certificate in Tax Law, cum laude, 2012
- University of Wisconsin, B.A. with distinction, 2007 (Political Science, International Studies, and French)
- L’Université Paul Cézanne: L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, France, Political Science Diploma, 2007
Selected Legal Training
- Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, Collaborative Law Basic Training, 2019
- Center for Conflict Resolution: 40-hour Mediation Skills Training Certificate, 2019
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy and American Bar Association: Family Law Trial Advocacy Program, 2016
Selected Legal Presentations
- Divorce Math Workshop, Lilac Tree, February 2020
- Discovery and Understanding Marital Assets Workshop, Lilac Tree, May 2019
- Divorce Math Workshop, Lilac Tree, February 2018
- Tax Law Panel, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Business Law Society, March 2017
Honors and Awards
- Super Lawyers, Illinois Rising Star, 2014-2023 (the designation is limited to less than 2.5% of lawyers who are fewer than 40 years of age or who have been practicing for 10 years or less in the State of Illinois)
- Leadings Lawyers, Emerging Lawyer, 2017-2023
- Best Lawyers, Family Law and Family Law Mediation, 2020
- American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 10 Best Attorneys – Illinois, 2017
- Fellow, Collaborative Divorce Illinois
- Fellow, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
- American Bar Association
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- Founding member of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators
- Chicago Business Network
- Lilac Tree Board of Directors
- Lookingglass Theatre Associates Board, 2013-2020
- French, professional working proficiency
- Spanish, elementary proficiency