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In Your Corner

When Gerald “Gerry” Maggio faced a life-altering decision over whether to continue a successful career in corporate management or follow his heart and enter the practice of law, he “turned a corner” and returned to law school. Today the Maggio Law Firm, Inc. has been serving family law and divorce clients in the Riverside and Orange County areas for more than 13 years. In addition to Maggio, the firm employs a part-time contract attorney, paralegal and two other assistants and is looking for further expansion within the next few years.

“I know little about law. However, I recognize this … Mr. Maggio was masterful in his defense of the legal proceedings against me, both in his writings to the court and in his verbal argument to the court. I am forever grateful to him. The alimony issue that we dealt with has been gnawing at me for a long time, and I felt like I have been looking over my shoulder every day. Today is the first day I’m not looking behind me.” – John (former client)

Turning to the Law Proves to be a Good Move for Family Law Clients
After graduating from San Diego State University in 1990, he worked in corporate management and quickly moved up to an upper management position and would likely become a location manager within a year. Yet, from his high school days on, he had thought about going to law school. It was decision time.
“I determined that it was a now or never situation. I was going to pursue the career I was already in because it was a growing field or I was going to go to law school. If I made that decision to go into management, I realized I wouldn’t be going into law school later. So, I decided my opportunity ultimately long-term would be better than what I was doing, although at the time it felt like I had taken a few steps backwards because of the reduction in income and all the work involved in going to law school,” Maggio says.
He worked for a number of law firms while attending law school and developed expertise in a variety of practice areas. He graduated from Western State University College of Law in 1998, but this major step was just the first of other corner-turning moments he would face.

An Early Course Correction
Maggio had been working in criminal defense and other areas of law for a few years when his firm needed someone to take over the family law side of the business. He quickly took to the new practice area and discovered a real passion for it.
Later, he accepted an opportunity to work at a civil firm, a significant diversion from the family law and divorce cases he had been working. “I knew the week that I went to work there that I had made a mistake and within a year, I decided to open my own law firm. I had only a few clients, which was a risk considering I had a wife and three young children by that time. However, it proved to be worth it within the first year. I never looked back or regretted my decision,” he says.

“I retained Gerald Maggio and his firm, The Maggio Law Firm, in 2011 to deal with a Department of Child Support Services case that resulted in an unfair court order to me, as well as to try to resolve the issues of my divorce case which had not been finalized since it started back in 2004. Mr. Maggio is the fourth attorney that I have had on my case. I have found Mr. Maggio to be the most effective attorney and not only that, but I think he has been the most compassionate and caring. He was recently able to lower my child support to a fairer amount, handled a child support contempt matter favorably, and it appears that Gerry is on track to finally resolve my divorce case after 8 years. Gerry has been very reasonable in his legal fees. I consider him one of the ‘good guys’ and I appreciate all that he has done for me. I highly recommend him” – Gary(former client)

Taking a Practical Approach to Emotional Issues
Maggio takes a practical approach to balance the emotional levels often involved in family law and related cases. He works with his clients to develop a strategy with cost-benefit analysis in mind.
“I don’t try to over-complicate cases for the purpose of dragging things out and churning legal fees. When it makes sense to settle, we always make strong efforts to do so. It makes no sense to spend one to two years in litigation to send up settling based on what could have been worked out the same way in the first six months. Divorce is expensive and can cause clients and their families financial damage in the process. But when cases or issues need to be litigated, we don’t hesitate to do so,” he says.
Seeing the cost-benefit side of his practice area has directed Maggio toward divorce mediation. He cites an example of a case that worked out well for his client, but a case in which both parties spent more money than they should have. The lower middle-class family could not agree on anything and ended up in a protracted case. He says, “I believe that it likely affects them and their children financially to this day. That case led me to become a trained divorce mediator. Divorce mediation is something I really believe in. It can save a tremendous amount of money over traditional divorce litigation if the parties are willing to be reasonable and compromise. I have a saying that ‘not every marriage can be saved, but every family can’ when it comes to using divorce mediation as a cost-effective way to end a marriage.”
The emotional issues sometimes require the family law practitioner to wear a number of hats and Maggio sometimes finds himself in the role of pseudo-therapist. Realizing that his clients are going through something they have never experienced and probably never expected to experience, he exercises patience and understanding as he walks them step-by-step through the processes involved.

Maggio notes that some attorneys adopt a one-size-fits-all, scorched-earth approach to divorce cases, which causes them to become overly aggressive when many cases do not justify such approach and which only results in huge legal fees and an opposing party who now hates the other spouse or partner. His philosophy is to take a case-by-case approach and find a direction that is in the best interest of all involved. Maggio says, “You’re always going to have to look at what’s necessary for your client’s case. I try to be upfront. I try to make it clear to my client—we’re at the stage where we’re going to trial and I’ve got to do the work that’s necessary to do a good job on our case—I let them know ahead of time what will be involved. The manager side of me is practical. I try to avoid something that may be legally and technically okay in a case, but if it’s not going to produce a positive effect or anything worth pursuing, I prefer not to do that.”

“Gerry is a family man and understands the emotions that come with Divorce. He will definitely tell you what reality is and won’t chase something that is unrealistic and costly. His compassion towards children is honest and heartfelt during a time of confusion and turmoil. This helps the parent make the best decision for everyone; not just themselves … Thank you Gerry” – Ron (former client)

Delegating Responsibility to Encourage Professional Growth
Maggio exercises patience and understanding with his staff as well as with his clients. He seeks to make every case and every opportunity a learning experience, believing that delegating responsibility and expecting accountability is the best way to mature and maintain a top-notch staff. He has found that micro-managing is not an effective technique in a law firm. He maintains an open-door management philosophy and is readily accessible to his staff as well as to his clients. “Although I have to oversee everything, I can’t make every decision. If anybody has anything that they feel they need to discuss with me, I don’t hesitate to listen to them and take what they say to heart and address the concern. If the concern is about something in the practice I certainly listen to it and address it, take it seriously. I don’t have a problem talking with people. It’s part of the role of someone who runs a business,” Maggio says.

Turning Out the Good Life Outside of the Office
Maggio has been a resident of Orange County since 1985. He, and his wife, Debbi, who grew up in Irvine, met in college. They have been married for more than 26 years. “I give Debbi credit for working and supporting us when I was going through law school, for being a supportive wife and mother to our children, and for encouraging me to take the risk of opening up my own law practice when we had very young children and she was not working, which was a big step to take for us at the time under those circumstances,” he says.
They have three children. Their daughter, Garyn, is 18 and will graduate from high school this year. Daughter Grace is 16 years old and is the family’s dog whisperer to their King Charles Cavalier, “Abbey.” Their son, Gavin, is 14 and will be going to high school this fall. Maggio is actively involved in the lives of his children, which include “Indian Guides” and “Indian Princesses.” He coaches their soccer, baseball and softball teams. Maggio took up surfing a few years ago and enjoys the sport on weekends. He occasionally plays golf and tennis.
He says that living a great home life is one of the benefits of working every day at a job that is equally rewarding financially and emotionally – in affecting positively the lives of people in possibly the most emotionally draining moment of their lives. “When I take a case, I have to understand what a client wants and why and really listen to them while also making sure they understand the ramifications of what they may want in a case, because in the end, it’s really their case and their life and I need to advocate for their rights and what they want while also making sure that they are not asking for something that would be considered completely unreasonable or not credible in the eyes of the Court,” Maggio says.

» EDUCATION

  • San Diego State University, 1990.
  • Western State University College of Law, 1998.

» AWARDS & REVIEWS

  • OC Metro Top Attorneys 2012 and 2013
  • Prime Buyers Report Top 10 Certified 2017
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys for California for 2017-2018
  • American Society of Legal Advocates Top 100 Family Lawyer for California 2018
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel Nation's Top One Percent 2015–present
  • AVVO Rating: "Excellent" 10.0 rating with 86 client reviews as of March 2018
  • Google Reviews: "Excellent" 5.0 Star rating with 42 client reviews as of March 2018

» ASSOCIATIONS

  • Member, Orange County Bar Association, 1996–present
  • Member, the American Society of Legal Advocates
  • Member, the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
  • Member, the National Association of Distinguished Counsel

 

Contact
Gerald “Gerry” Maggio
The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.
420 Exchange, Suite 270
Irvine, CA 92602
(949) 553-0304

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