Vanessa SheppardVanessa has developed a practical understanding of a wide range of issues and disputes related to family law and she uses her experience, resolve, and sound judgment to craft effective solutions for her client’s complex problems. She has worked on a variety of family law cases including divorce, child custody, paternity, modification of custody and visitation, post-divorce enforcement issues, annulments, and common law marriages. Vanessa believes one of the most important aspects of her practice is seeing the “big picture” and knowing that every person and every case is unique. Vanessa will effectively represent the individual interests of every client to help them achieve their legal goals.Vanessa earned her law degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law where she graduated cum laude. Before that, she graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University. Vanessa enjoys volunteering in her local community and spending time with her husband and dachshund.
Marianne Howland, a partner at Duffee + Eitzen, has been practicing family law for over ten years. She graduated from Texas A&M University School of Law in 2006. Since graduating, she has handled cases ranging the entire spectrum of family law from adoptions, custody battles, pre and post-nuptial agreements, to divorces and post-divorce modifications and enforcement. She is very comfortable in the courtroom litigating her client’s case. However, she encourages clients to settle their issues amicably when possible. Prior to joining Duffee + Eitzen, she had her own law practice for 10 years.
She has two small children and has personally been through a divorce. She brings these experiences to every case and has compassion and knowledge that assists her in her representation of each of her clients. This experience allows her to give her clients the kind of attention and advocacy they deserve.ExperienceFamily Law Attorney, Law Office of Marianne HowlandOctober 2007-2018A sole practitioner representing clients in divorces, custody matters, child support matters, termination of parental rights, and protective orders in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton County.
Staff Attorney at Legal Aid of Northwest TexasDecember 2006-October 2007Worked as the onsite attorney at Genesis Women’s Shelter. Represented women in divorces, custody disputes and protective orders.EducationTexas Wesleyan University School of Law
The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
- J.D. 2003-2006
Professional Associations and Memberships
- B.A. History – 2003 (with Distinction)
- Honors: Dean’s List
- State Bar of Texas, Member
- Family Law Section
- Trial Section
- Dallas Bar Association, Member
- Attorneys Serving the Community
- Member of Oak Cliff Women and Business
George Shake, a partner with Duffee + Eitzen, L.L.P., has been practicing law in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since graduating from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. He practices family law and special education law. George received undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Business from the City University of New York. George received a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of North Texas and became licensed to practice school psychology.
He worked with families directly for several years, assessing children and helping parents and schools to create educational programs for those children. George developed specialties in ADHD and Autism and has participated in countless special education meetings, discipline meetings, and teacher conferences. He has held administrative positions in several local public schools. He has written policies and trained school personnel to comply with federal and state regulations for serving children with special needs.George has been working on behalf of individuals with disabilities for twenty-five years and training professionals throughout the Dallas area for fifteen years. George’s work in family law often involves families with children with disabilities.
Jodi Bender, a partner at Duffee + Eitzen L.L.P., represents clients in all types of family law matters such as divorce cases including simple or complex, property division, child custody cases, modifications, termination and adoptions, enforcement actions, and drafting pre and post-nuptial agreements. Jodi’s practice involves both litigation and participation in the collaborative or cooperative process. Jodi has been practicing law in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area since graduating summa cum laude from Texas A&M University School of Law.
T. Hunter Lewis
T. Hunter Lewis is an experienced Family Law litigator and appellate attorney focused on the unique needs of his clients who are facing life-changing legal matters surrounding divorce, including child custody, possession and support, complex marital property division, pre- and post-marital agreements, paternity, and LGBT issues. He is active in local and statewide Family Law organizations, holding multiple leadership positions in the Family Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association and serving on the Legislative Bill Review and Auction committees of the Texas Family Law Foundation. He also serves on the Mock Trial Committee of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. In addition to his selection to the Texas Super Lawyers listing, he has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America listing and is a member of The National Advocates: Top 40 Under 40. Hunter is a 2010 graduate of Baylor University School of Law. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Baylor University in 2007.
A respected family law litigator and appellate attorney, Mr. Lewis’ practice is focused on divorce; child custody, possession and support matters; complex marital property division; pre- and post-marital agreements; questions of paternity; and LGBT-related issues
Lisa Greenwood Duffee
As a family law attorney experienced in the field of collaborative law, Duffee employs a compassionate spirit, business acumen, and innovative problem-solving skills to formulate strategies that assist clients in reaching their goals. Duffee is known for seeking resolution through negotiation, facilitation of communication, and a clear understanding of the client’s end-goals. The resulting resolutions minimize expense, emotional toll, and psychological impact. Duffee is known for her ability to find unique and creative solutions to best solve her clients’ needs. Her respectful demeanor and deep-rooted empathy for clients affirm her reputation as a creative caretaker.
Duffee is active in the Dallas community supporting organizations such as Meals on Wheels, The Bridge, North Texas Food Bank, and Attorneys Serving the Community, and the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP). She is also involved with Collaborative Law Dallas, State Bar of Texas, Texas Indian Bar Association, and is a former board member of the Family Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association. Duffee + Eitzen pledged $50,000 to the endowment fund of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program of the Dallas Bar Association and is a founding supporter of the SMU VanSickle Family Law Clinic
Melinda Hartman Eitzen
Melinda Eitzen is a founding partner of the Dallas-Fort Worth area-based family law
practice of Duffee + Eitzen. Among her many recognitions are “Best Lawyers- Family
Law”, Best Lawyers- Collaborative Law”, D Magazine’s “Best Lawyer in Dallas”, “Best
Family Law Mediator in Dallas”, and “Texas Super Lawyer”. Eitzen is credentialed as a
Master in collaborative practice by Collaborative Divorce Texas, a distinction held by
only eight attorneys in Dallas. She is a mediator as well.
Eitzen is highly experienced in all facets of family law, managing custody modifications,
paternity cases, and premarital agreements for high-profile cases. She is the daughter
of beloved deceased Judge, Merrill Hartman, who was a Dallas District Judge for 22
years on both the Civil bench and Family bench.
Eitzen demonstrates an ongoing commitment to excellence in the practice of Family
Law by penning lectures, articles, and two co-authored books on the subject- “Divorce
The Collaborative Way: Is It The Way For You?” and “Considering Divorce? Critical
Things You Need to Know.”
Actively involved with the community, Eitzen has served as: president of the Collin
County Bar Association, board member of Texas Lawyers for Children, president of the
Plano Bar Association, chair of the Collaborative Law Alliance of Collin County, director
of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, director of Texas Young Lawyers
Association, and chair of the Family Law Section of the Collin County Bar Association.
She also is a member of the philanthropic organization, Altrusa International. Pursuant
to the passion for helping others, Duffee + Eitzen is a Donor to Dallas Volunteer
Attorney Program- in honor of Judge Merrill Hartman, and a founding supporter of the
SMU VanSickle Family Law Clinic.
Marilea W. Lewis
Tough and experienced, yet compassionate and approachable, Marilea W. Lewis blends an impressive family law background with a client-friendly style, providing a winning combination for those she represents. Board Certified in Family Law, and with a background which includes nearly 25 years on the bench as a Dallas Judge, she is also an accomplished mediator for both general and family practice, and is qualified to sit as a private judge.
Her professional admissions include the State Bar of Texas, the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Widely honored, and respected as one of the best attorneys in Texas, Judge Lewis has been chosen among Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers, recognizing the top 5% of lawyers in the State of Texas, since 2012, and has also been recognized by Thomson Reuters among the Top 100 Attorneys in Texas, The Top 50 Women Attorneys in Texas, and the Top 100 Attorneys in Dallas/Fort Worth. She has been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America by Woodward White since 2013, and recognized as one of Best Lawyers’ Women in the Law since 2016, named to the ranks of Lawdragon Inc’s Best 500 Family Law Lawyers in 2020, acknowledged multiple times in DCEO Magazine’s Dallas 500 as one of the Most Influential Leaders in North Texas, has attained four-time recognition among D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Dallas, possesses a “Superb” 10 rating by AVVO.com, and is a winner of the Exemplary Judicial Faculty Award by the Texas Center for the Judiciary. She is also a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists.
Judge Lewis served on the bench of the 330th District Court in Dallas for eight years after sitting as Associate Judge of the 330th District Court for ten years. She began her judicial career as Master/Referee of the 305th District Court in 1986. A fifth-generation Texan, she is originally from Waco, and is particularly proud of her status as a “Double Bear”, having received undergraduate and law degrees from Baylor University. Outside of work, she is actively involved with Executive Women of Dallas, La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, the Dallas Chapter of Pi Beta Phi Alumnae, and is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Dallas. She is also active in her church, serving as a Verger and on Altar Guild. A true Renaissance woman, she is also a certified yoga instructor