RACHEL NICOLE HERNANDEZ

Known for her work in promoting innovative alternatives to litigation in family related legal disputes, Rachel Hernandez is a Collaborative Family Lawyer and the founder of Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, LLC with offices in St. Charles and Sycamore. The firm’s focus is on helping families resolve legal issues without going to court, whether it be through mediation, Collaborative Process, uncontested divorce, pre-divorce legal counseling or limited scope representation. Rachel provides well-reasoned, practical advice to clients regarding their rights and responsibilities with respect to marital/non-marital assets and debts, maintenance and child custody issues.

When appropriate, she solicits the expertise of other qualified professionals such as financial advisors, accountants and mental health professionals, so their expertise can be brought to bear on the often complex and emotionally charged issues associated with family law dispute resolution. This comprehensive approach allows Rachel to tailor her legal advice, permitting her clients and their families to make well informed and assured decisions.  When children are involved, her paramount concern is that their best interests are prioritized every step of the way.

Rachel developed a passion for helping others through her work with the Community Crisis Center. This commitment led her to enroll in Northern Illinois University’s College of Law where, as a Dean’s Scholar, she earned her J.D. in 2005. Prior to focusing her practice in the area of family law, she served as an Assistant State’s Attorney handling cases involving domestic abuse, child abuse, child neglect and delinquency. As a skilled mediator, Rachel has served as a coach with Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies and is regularly appointed by the Court to assist litigants in resolving parenting disputes. She also serves as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and has been trained as a Parenting Coordinator.

Rachel is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Illinois State Bar Association (serving on the Solo Small Practice Committee), the Kane County Bar Association and the DeKalb County Bar Association. She serves as Secretary of the Community Crisis Center Board of Directors and the NIU Alumni Council.

Practice Areas:

  • Family Law
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Mediation
  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Limited Scope Representation

Bar Admissions:

  • Illinois, 2005

Education:

  • Northern Illinois University, College of Law, J.D. – 2005
  • Western Illinois University, Bachelor of Science (Law Enforcement and Justice Administration) – 1997

Past Employment Positions:

  • Of Counsel Attorney-Van Der Snick Law Firm
  • Winnebago County State’s Attorney Felony Assistant/Supervisor
  • Boone County State’s Attorney Misdemeanor Assistant
  • Kane County State’s Attorney Intern Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 711

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Illinois State Bar Association (Member of the Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute Committee)
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Kane County Bar Association
  • DeKalb County Bar Association
  • Community Crisis Center – Board of Directors
  • NIU College of Law Alumni Council

Published Works:

  • “DREW’S LAW”: Why the Media Frenzy over Illinois’ Hearsay Exception for Intentional Murder of a Witness is Much Ado About Nothing – DuPage County Bar Journal, July 2010
  • The Illinois Collaborative Process Act: A Positive Alternative to Litigation for Family Disputes – DuPage County Bar Journal, 2018

Honors and Awards:

  • Northern Illinois University – Outstanding Woman 2005
  • NIU College of Law – Mentor of the Year 2011
  • NIU College of Law – Dean’s Scholar 2002-2005

SANDRA PETRAS BRUCKNER

With a degree in finance and over 30 years of legal practice, Sandra Petras Bruckner is adept in assisting clients with navigating complex financial matters and providing options that maintain assets within families as they transition. In addition to her deft analytical skills Sandi is known for her compassion and empathy, always carefully recognizing each client’s unique interests and concerns; and for resolving disputes respectfully.

As a trained family law mediator and collaborative attorney, Sandi believes that mediation and collaborative process options can better help people resolve family related legal disputes. In these roles, she helps clients unravel their legal issues, analyze their situation, and get to a resolution that promotes peace of mind.

Prior to founding Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, LLC,, Sandi served as Deputy Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center in Kane County for many years, also having prosecuted all types of cases (traffic, misdemeanor, child support, juvenile delinquency, abuse and neglect, and felony cases). Sandi has been in private practice since 1999 and in addition to family law, has handled cases involving personal injury, social security disability, real estate, commercial and civil litigation.

Sandi is a member of the Kane County Bar Association (KCBA), DeKalb County Bar Association (DCBA), Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois (CLII), and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). Sandi previously taught general music education for many years at St. Mary’s School in DeKalb, IL and continues to serve as the Youth Choir Director for St. Mary Parish in DeKalb, IL where she also cantors and sings in the Liturgical Choir.

Sandi graduated from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1986 with a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.), and in 1983 from University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

Practice Areas:

  • Family Law
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Mediation
  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Limited Scope Representation

Bar Admissions:

  • Illinois, 1986

Education:

  • Northern Illinois University, College of Law, J.D. – 1986
  • University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), Bachelor of Science (Finance) – 1983

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Illinois State Bar Association 
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Kane County Bar Association
  • DeKalb County Bar Association