"My wife left me and took our three children. She refused to talk with me or even let me see them. When I came to you, I was very angry and wanted to 'get even.' You were able to help me focus on the needs of our children and come up with a plan asking the court for joint custody, and recognize the need to encourage a relationship between the children and their mother. As a result of your work, we have taken parenting classes, the children are doing well, and we are both able to spend quality time with our children. I appreciate your willingness to support me, while encouraging me to find a reasonable solution to our situation."

-A.K., San Rafael

"My partner and I came to you because our child's school would not recognize both of us as parents. You were able to work with us and help us through the maze of adoption services, interviews and forms. Finally, we invited our friends and relatives to the court on the first day of the year to celebrate the adoption of our child. Thank you again so much!"

-L.B. & T.S., San Francisco

"After 32 years of marriage, my husband decided to leave me. I was devastated and thought my life had come to an end. You helped me get through the trauma of a divorce, obtain support, divide our assets, and helped me find vocational training and a new job, even at my age. You were with me all the way, protecting my rights and giving me encouragement. I recommend you to others who are in the same boat."

-S.P., Half Moon Bay

"My partner died of AIDS last year. Since he came out to his family 10 years ago, they have refused to have anything to do with him. John and I were together for eight years and had a wonderful relationship. He came to you several years ago to ask for help in preparing a will and a trust. You sat patiently with John, answering his questions, preparing draft after draft, and working with him to develop a living trust. When he died, I became the executor of his will and the successor trustee of his trust. When his father arrived, declaring that John's death was "retribution for his evil ways" and demanding that I turn over John's belongings to him, I was able to refer them to you. At a time that I was grieving over the loss of my partner, you were able to keep the vultures away."

-P.O., San Francisco

"I contacted you when I was staying at a Battered Women's Shelter. The children's father, was an officer in the military, had a bad temper, and he hit me and the children again and again. I didn't know where to turn. You helped me to obtain a restraining order and a therapist for my children. With your help, I filed for divorce and was able to get full custody of the children, as well as support. We even got the court's permission to move back to my parent's home in the Midwest. I've been working with my own therapist and learning how to be a good parent and a strong and powerful woman. Thank you so much!"

-M.G., Chicago, Illinois

"My partner and I, who were together for eight years, bought a house, but it was in her name. I paid for a lot of the expenses, including the down payment, and made repairs to the house throughout our relationship. When we broke up, I told her I wanted my share of the house. She said because it was in her name, I wasn't going to get anything! Because of your help, we were able to mediate an agreement that allowed her to keep the house, but pay me for my own investment in the property. One of the best things is that we kept it out of court and used a mediator. It kept down the expenses, as well as the fighting."

-P.D., El Cerrito

"I finally decided, after 17 years of marriage, to leave my husband. Our son was out of college, and I just couldn't stand living with someone as controlling as B. He wanted to have power over my every decision. I can't believe I was so lucky to find you to represent me. You actually forced this man into mediation. He started out making demands, and we actually ended up agreeing to divide everything 50/50. It wasn't easy but you helped me get through it. You're the best!"

-S.T., Daly City

"My wife is a very powerful attorney. We were married for six years when I decided to get a divorce, and we began to look at dividing our property, she vowed that I wouldn't get a penny out of her. She hired an expensive lawyer who dragged me through depositions and hearings, trying to hide our assets from me. You were able to stand up for me in court and make sure that my rights were being protected. It was a long and hard battle, but you did a great job!"

-L.P., San Francisco

"I want to thank you for helping my father. He came to you several years ago. He was elderly, disabled and confined to his home. My mother married him when I was 6 months old, and I was raised as his daughter. He wanted to adopt me, but my biological father refused. When I turned 18, he asked me again if I wanted him to adopt me. I loved him very much and was thrilled that he wanted me to be a full member of the family. You were able to arrange for the adoption in court, even thought he could not physically be there due to his disability. It was a wonderful day for our family. When he died last year, he left me a letter telling me how happy he was he was able to be my father."

-V.G., San Francisco

"A couple of years ago, I found out I needed to have very major surgery. It made me think about all the 'what ifs': what if I died, what if I couldn't make decisions for myself, what if I needed extended care. Since I am single, I realized that if something happened to me decisions would legally be made by my elderly father or my brother who lives far away. My friends are much closer and better equipped to know my wishes in case "what if" became a reality. You helped me write and expedite a will and a power of attorney for both finances and health care. You took time, and helped me understand the implications of all my decisions. Also charged a very reasonable fee. Luckily, none of these efforts were necessary, but having my wishes in place and having someone listen gave me a far greater sense of security going into the hospital and for that I am thankful."

-J.K., Santa Rosa

"I recently finalized my divorce, and I cannot speak more highly of Ms Sena.

My ex-husband and I were originally going through mediation. When I decided to consult with an attorney, a friend's mother, about my rights my ex got freaked out and decided to hire a lawyer, too. My friend's mother is getting ready to retire and was not interested in taking the matter to trial so declined getting any further involved. This was well into the involvement of the matter, so I was left scrambling for another lawyer to take the case.

Luckily, another friend, recommended Cheryl Sena, who works in the same building as she and had heard good things about her. I went in to talk with her. She was succinct and to the point, but I liked how no-nonsense she was. I had what I thought was a complicated case, but she picked up the ball and ran with it. I was not interested in "screwing over" my husband and told her that, but I still wanted to make sure I had the funds to cover my eventual needs.

I cannot speak more highly of the job that Ms. Sena did for me.

I was amazed at how quickly she was able to pick up where the other lawyer had left off and was able to neutralize the demands that my ex-husband's lawyer was proposing. I know that I would not have ended off half as well if I had not been referred to Ms. Sena."

- J.B., posted on Yelp.com

"I had seen Cheryl several years earlier for my divorce, and she helped me tremendously during that difficult process so I recently went to Cheryl to draw up a premarital contract before my upcoming wedding. I only had about a month and a half before my wedding and in my ignorance of the law and process, I had no idea I was in such a time crunch. Cheryl was swift and walked me through the process. She was able to help me get it drawn up and finalized before the big day. I was extremely happy with Cheryl and would recommend her to anyone looking for a great family Lawyer."

- L.S., posted on Yelp.com

"I was referred to Cheryl Sena in 2006 in regard to my divorce. I immediately felt that I was in good hands, as she was extremely knowledgeable and experienced, while at the same time she expressed a level of empathy and compassion that put me at ease during a very difficult time. Ms. Sena was quick to respond to any question or concern that I had, which reinforced her level of commitment. I quickly became very confident that I was being represented by an extremely competent and well-respected attorney. Through the process of divorce and later child custody issues, Ms. Sena remained true to her oath. She has gone far beyond what is required of her in her representation of me and my family. Through her tenacity, I have gotten custody of my daughter after a very long and arduous trial in family court. Through all of the craziness, I could rely on Ms. Sena to maintain a clear plan of action without losing sight of the big picture. I would highly recommend Cheryl Sena as an attorney. I am eternally grateful for all that she has done, and continues to do for my family."

- K.P., posted on Yelp.com

"I was recently involved in an extraordinarily complicated and acrimonious divorce. After unsuccessfully using another attorney, I hired Ms. Sena and was immediately impressed by her ability to understand the subtleties of the case and to concentrate on the big picture. She did a great job of helping me understand the law (theory and practice) as well as helping me understand my options at each stage. She was compassionate but set realistic expectations and kept me focused on getting what I really wanted.

She was excellent in dealing with extremely complex financial issues (tracing separate property, retirement accounts, temporary and permanent support) and custody issues (school choice, schedules, transportation, legal, and physical custody).

I can't thank her enough for her help and would recommend her to anyone who finds themselves in a complex or contentious divorce."

- S.M., posted on Yelp.com

"When my wife and I found ourselves "stuck" using a mediator to help us navigate our divorce we decided to hire separate lawyers. We were both very committed that even though we were facing difficult and painful decisions, that we did not want to 'lose control' of the process and simply turn matters over to two litigators. When my doctor highly recommended Cheryl to me, I met with her and found her to be smart, approachable, creative and committed to finding solutions that would bring our marriage to an end in as respectful and uncontentious manner as possible. Cheryl was determined to find a solution to some very complicated problems we faced in 'unwinding' our marriage. She worked brilliantly and creatively with me as her client and with the attorney my wife chose. I feel like she truly heard my concerns and was able to remain calm, grounded, creative and yet appropriately protective of my interests as she efficiently negotiated our settlement.
Divorce is a rough process under any circumstances, and particularly so where there are children and complicated financial matters that must be addressed. Cheryl truly helped me (and us) find a way to the best solution possible."

- N.O., posted on Yelp.com

  • Top Women Attorneys 2017