Ellery is an associate attorney at Dellino Law Group, where his practice focuses on all manner of domestic relations at every stage of litigation. Ellery has seen amicable divorces of parents who get along with one another and love their children, and he has seen high conflict parties who were prepared to walk away from half-million-dollar property settlements over an emotional attachment to a collection of books. Ellery has helped clients to settle their marital property before so much as a shred of paper was filed, and has litigated appeals to fruition where the trial judge applied the wrong test in an alimony calculation. Ellery has helped clients obtain protective orders against abusive spouses, children, and parents alike.
I am an east coast native and recent transplant to the PNW. I grew up in the hurried, dog-eat-dog suburbs of Washington, D.C., which never quite felt like home. But I also grew up visiting my extended family on Vashon Island. Having been a regular visitor here for the past 30 years, I like to consider myself an honorary native northwesterner.
I attended the University of Baltimore School of Law where I honed my advocacy skills by participating in moot court for all three years, interning for an associate judge on Maryland's highest court, and participating in the school's appellate advocacy clinic by representing the state in an actual criminal appeal. I graduated magna cum laude in 2013 after earning an array of advocacy awards.
After law school, I represented national banking institutions in collection, foreclosure, and related collateral litigation at both the state and federal level. The work was not exactly uplifting, but it allowed me to be in court three to four days per week, every week. After two years, I shifted to a general civil litigation firm, practicing primarily family and foreclosure defense law. I also handled contractual disputes, real property disputes, construction claims, and a litany of other fields.
Why Family Law?
Human beings are emotional creatures, and family cases are challenging because of those emotions. When long-time partners separate, the emotional toll is significant even where the reason for the separation is amicable. When parents face the prospect of suddenly not having their children with them every day, the reaction can be visceral and all-consuming even in the best of circumstances. When a lifetime of retirement savings and planning is thrown into a state of uncertainty, uncertainty and confusion can cloud our better judgment. When you or a loved one's safety is in jeopardy at the hands of a family member or an intimate partner, fear can overwhelm us to the point of being paralyzed.
In that sense, family law is the most “human” legal practice there is. My own divorce nearly a decade ago was traumatic for me, even without any child custody or property issues to resolve. I was lost, confused, and just wanted it to go away. Dear friends of mine have been to court to seek the protection of the court from aggressive ex-boyfriends. They were terrified and turned to me during my law enforcement days to give advice that, at the time, I was ill-equipped to give. Family law, and its emotional effects, impact those we see every day – our family, our friends, our coworkers.
These emotional reactions, while entirely natural and understandable, also do not matter one bit to the court that will be deciding the issues. Because these emotions impact us but not our courts of law, considered legal advice and guidance is crucial to obtaining positive outcomes in these cases. The family attorney must help the client navigate the turbulent emotional seas of their case to arrive on sound legal shores. That is why I do this work.
Behind the Curtain
Lawyers are not professional robots, they are people. I have always found that it helps to know a little about your lawyer in family cases, as trust is critical to success. Here is a little about me.
I'm the oldest of four, with a sister just younger than me and two little half-brothers. I took an unusual route getting to where I am today. I went straight into the work force after high school and did not give much thought to academia. But after losing my “dream” job as a police officer, I shifted my focus back to school and completed my undergraduate degree in psychology. I quickly realized that an ex-police officer with a psychology essentially had no marketable job skills, and I got myself into law school.
After marrying my far better half, we resolved to make our big move west. I had always been drawn to this part of the country, and my wife is an Idaho native who had been feeling a strong urge to move back west for some time. We researched, planned, got our bar admissions (she's a lawyer, too), and sold our home back in Maryland. We settled on picturesque Vashon Island, the home of so many of my fondest childhood memories. We are welcoming our first child in December of this year.
My favorite stress reliever is cooking a big meal. My dad taught me to cook, which is to say, he taught me how to understand ingredients and use them without a formal recipe. I usually cook while I listen to music, which can be anything from John Prine to Benny Goodman to AC/DC. I play at the guitar when I'm not cooking, although not especially well. I also enjoy hiking our region's spectacular mountains and forests, sampling local food, wine, and craft beer, and simply looking out over my deck and soaking in the view of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier.