This month’s Family Law Spotlight Series shines a light on Family Law Partner, Marina Barannik.
Marina practices in Washington D.C. and Maryland and is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL). Marina’s international background provides her with a unique perspective in our family law practice as she recognizes the many cross-cultural challenges facing international families during separation and divorce. Understanding cultural differences can play a huge role in accomplishing the best outcome in a family law case.
Q: Why did you become a family law attorney?
A: My career prior to law was in academia. When my family moved to Washington, D.C. from Moscow, Russia, I decided to transition my career from academic work to another field. When I was considering other career paths, I met one of Feldesman Tucker’s partners, Mary Pence. At the time she was in the middle of a contentious child custody case representing a Russian mother who was fighting for the return of her child from Washington, D.C. to Russia. I helped Mary Pence in that case as an interpreter and became interested in family law through that work. Shortly thereafter, I went to law school and the rest is history.
Q: What are two things you enjoy about your practice and why?
A: Family law is one of the few remaining general practice areas. You have to be a skilled negotiator and litigator and understand a wide range of concepts, from business valuations or tax implications of dividing marital assets to psychological evaluations in custody cases. I find the diversity of family law issues fascinating. I also enjoy helping people. My clients are all going through a traumatic time in their lives and my job as their attorney is to be a compassionate listener, a strategic thinker, and an effective advocate, all at the same time. It is rewarding to see many of my clients transform into more empowered individuals who are ready to face the next chapter of their life with confidence.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A: Slow down! The older I get, the more I learn to appreciate every single day. When I was younger, I was very impatient with myself and the world around me but over time I’ve come to realize that life is a marathon, not a race. Take time to pause and learn from your experiences.
Q: When you’re not practicing law, what are some things you enjoy doing?
A: I love spending time with my two adult daughters, their significant others, and my parents. Pre-pandemic I traveled a lot and I loved swing dancing, hopefully I can return to these activities soon. I also enjoy cooking and hiking.
Q: What is one thing about yourself that many people do not know about you?
A: Most people do not know that I can sing. I was in a choir growing up and would regularly be asked to sing at friends’ parties.
Marina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.466.8960.