741 S. McHenry, Suite A
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

About Wakeman Law Group

Mediation • Litigation
Family Law • Personal Injury • Medical Malpractice

McHenry County Living Video

Liz Wakefield

Personal Background:

Liz was raised in Inverness, Illinois. Liz’s father was a World War II Army veteran who served on Omaha Beach on D Day, a Harvard Law School Graduate, and a rare Republican Cook County Circuit Court Judge for 20 years. He served as President of the Better Government Association. Liz’s mother was Ted Kennedy’s personal executive assistant during his senate campaign, when he began in office and during the time of the assassination of President Kennedy. She had an extraordinary career selling real estate in Inverness. Liz and her siblings were called upon to pull weeds, shovel snow, and baby sit buyers’ children so that the best possible customer service was offered to the real estate clients.

Liz and her siblings were raised to appreciate and to participate in government, business, and community service with particular appreciation of the legal system. Her parents set the tone for being thorough, prepared and comprehensive in customer service which Liz strives for today.

Liz moved to Lake in the Hills in McHenry County, Illinois in 1994 where she and her husband raised their son, who is an Eagle Scout.


  • Fremd High School, Palatine, Illinois
  • University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, BS in Business Administration, Honors
  • DePaul University College of Law, JD, 1993

Many continuing education courses including:

  • Certificate in Mediation Training, DePaul University Center for Dispute Resolution, 2005
  • Collaborative Law Training, 2018
  • National Business Institute, Brewery and Distillery Law
  • Probate Guardian Ad Litem training, 2017
  • Guardian Ad Litem training, 2018
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers annual seminars
  • Illinois Association of Defense Lawyers Annual Defense Tactics
  • E-Discovery / What you Need to Know
  • Construction cases/Kajima I and II
  • Managing Complex Claims
  • Practical Ethical Advice
  • Court Annexed Mediation and Small Claims Training
  • Arbitrator Training
  • Money Matters in Divorce – Retirement Plans
  • Money Matters in Divorce – Property Allocation
  • Ethics and Professionalism
  • Trying the Dissolution of Marriage Case
  • Dissolution of Marriage Judicial Forum
  • Divorce and Taxes
  • How to Discredit Business Valuations
  • Hot Topics in Professional Responsibility
  • Young Lawyers/judge panel
  • Foundations/Evidence
  • Art/Ethics of Advocacy

Liz has presented many seminars to divorce recovery groups, counselors, lawyers, hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies and was an instructor for several years for a personal injury trial practice course presented by the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel. Liz provided seminars in Mapping the Legal Minefield; guidelines for medical practitioners to area hospitals and their staff. She presented “Handling Minor’s Claims” to several insurance carriers.

Work Experience:

Liz worked at Unocal 76 in accounting and marketing during college and upon graduation. While at Unocal 76, she marketed to service stations and managed convenience store operations earning multiple regional sales awards while learning about gasoline, tires, batteries and soda sales.

Liz began her legal career with Williams & Montgomery in Chicago practicing in the area of insurance defense litigation. She defended claims for products liability, contract actions, declaratory judgments, automobile accident, premises liability and medical malpractice through multiple insurance carriers including Allstate, ISMIE, and many others while also handling a variety of litigation for the now defunct Venture Stores.

Seeking a more suburban practice, Liz moved to a firm Vernon Hills and Chicago. While there, in addition to continuing the general insurance defense practice, she served as National Counsel for PST Vans managing their vehicular accident litigation claims across the country. She also handled medical malpractice cases for ISMIE and many Chicagoland hospitals and physicians and served as monitoring counsel for the Illinois Guaranty Fund for malpractice cases across the state.

Liz was a partner at the firm of O’Hagan, Smith & Amundsen/SmithAmundsen in the Woodstock office continuing to handle automobile accident, premises liability (slip and fall), medical malpractice and myriad of other types of insurance defense claims for State Farm, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, American Country Insurance as well as self- insured hospital systems such as Advocate.

Liz was a partner with Crystal Lake firms where she expanded her practice to include family law and injury cases for plaintiffs. With her knowledge and experience of the analysis and process the insurance companies utilize to evaluate and prepare cases for settlement and trial, she has been able to help many plaintiffs recover damages for injuries sustained in a variety of accidents including automobile and motorcycle accidents, injuries from falls and from the negligence of medical care providers.

Significant Cases:

While a partner at SmithAmundsen, Liz tried several cases to juries including the case of Hiscott v. Peters, a case decided by the Second District Appellate Court that was seminal with respect to the issues of when an accident reconstruction expert may testify at trial, when evidence of the use of a cell phone may be admitted at trial, when itemized jury verdict forms are appropriate and its application with respect to loss of normal life or disability, and the ability to assert a claim for emotional distress as a component of damages.

Liz tried a case with a former law partner which involved one of the earliest cases in which a plaintiff was able to recover damages for grief and sorrow. In that case, a young child’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident. Historically, without a history of significant financial contribution, the recovery for this case would have been minimal. Liz and her colleague successfully argued for recovery despite a lack of financial support from the deceased father to the child.

In a recent case, Liz made new law in the area of compensation for lost wages for a plaintiff who owns a corporation and is not able to earn money for the corporation due to injuries. After this case, the law is now clear that an injured person is entitled to recovery of the loss of those earnings and earning potential.

In the area of family law, Liz has had multiple cases heard by the appellate court with success for her clients. In a recent case, the State of Illinois through Lisa Madigan’s office attempted to seek compensation from a father in Illinois who had children living in Mexico. Madigan’s office was trying to have child support set at Illinois standards rather than the standard that would apply in Mexico where the mother and children live. Liz fought against the idea that Illinois state resources would be utilized to send money out of the country inappropriately when the father was already providing financial support. Liz’s argument in this case was affirmed by the Illinois Supreme Court.

In another case, the court held that the founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America was in contempt of court which was affirmed by the Appellate Court. Despite this party’s unlimited resources, Liz and her client have defeated him in each appeal on multiple issues thus far. Liz’s client received the largest court ordered maintenance award reported in Illinois.

Areas of Practice:

Wakeman Law Group, PC focuses on the events that take people to court such as family law and personal injury issues.

Liz strives to find ways to help parties avoid litigation and to make the litigation process less stressful. She combines her skills as a litigator and mediator to reach effective results. There are many ways to navigate a divorce and Liz will help you choose the path that will fit your situation best.

Liz has handled a wide variety of family law matters including complex, high-value estates, custody contests, paternity claims, DCFS investigations, and post-decree disputes. Her approach focuses on the continued interaction of the family members under a changed living arrangement. She works hard to get her clients to an equitable and workable result while trying to limit the long-term damage that can arise in a hotly contested divorce. While it is often considered best to avoid the court room in family law matters, staying out of the court room very often depends on being well prepared for a court hearing.

Representing both plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation she has handled cases in the following areas:

  • automobile accident
  • trucking related accidents
  • motorcycle accidents
  • common carrier/taxi cab accidents
  • construction site injuries
  • slip and fall accidents
  • product liability claims
  • intentional torts
  • TCPA blast fax litigation/class action claims
  • wrongful death
  • orthopedic surgery
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • emergency room care
  • critical care
  • oncology care
  • false imprisonment
  • dental health care
  • indemnification claims

Professional & Community Activities:

Liz is very active in her community both professionally and personally.

Liz served for several years as a volunteer mediator for the small claims cases pending in McHenry County. This program began as a pilot program and has since expanded to other counties in Illinois.

She served as board member for the International Academy of Dispute Resolution. In that role, she judged national collegiate and international law school mediation tournaments giving her the opportunity to help students from all over the country and the world refine their mediation techniques. Whenever possible, Wakeman Law Group will try to get the parties to the table to try to work out their differences and will develop creative strategies to reach a resolution.

Professional Organizations:

Wakeman has trained lawyers in trial, alternative dispute resolution and mediation techniques. She serves as a judge for international law school and undergraduate mediation tournaments as part of the International Academy of Dispute Resolution. She serves as an arbitrator for the 22nd Judicial Circuit and as a civil litigation mediator for the 19th Judicial Circuit in Lake County and the 22nd Judicial Circuit in McHenry. Liz also participates in multiple “shadow” programs for students who are considering a career in law.

  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Chicagoland Healthcare Risk Management Society
  • International Academy of Dispute Resolution
  • Women in Business
  • Women in Management
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Commission on Professionalism Mentoring Program Participant
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Assembly Member
  • Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce
  • McHenry County Bar Association
  • Civil Practice Committee/Section
    • Liz has served on committees to create, review and supplement the local rules for the 22nd Judicial Circuit.
    • Liz has assisted in the presentation of multiple continuing legal education courses through the McHenry County Bar Association regarding mediation, evidence and other civil litigation topics.
  • Illinois State Bar Association
    • Judicial Evaluation Committee Member (outside of Cook County)
      • Investigates and interviews judicial candidates to determine their qualifications for serving as a judge
    • Judge, Lincoln Award Legal Writing Contest
    • Family Law Section Member
    • Health Care Law Section Member
    • Law office Management and Economics Section Member
    • Tort Law Section Member
  • McHenry County Bar Association
    • Family Law Section Member
  • Lake County Bar Association
  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Mediation Council of Illinois
  • International Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Collaborative Divorce Illinois
  • Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce
  • Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce
  • Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce

Community Involvement:


  • Lake in the Hills Village Trustee
  • Parks and Recreation Board Co-founder, Member, Chair
  • Sunset Fest Committee/ Kids’ Korner Coordinator
  • Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Foundation Board member
  • Algonquin/Lake In The Hills Food Pantry volunteer
  • Cub Scout Pack 150, adult leader
  • Boy Scout Troop 151, adult leader, merit badge counselor (7 badges)
  • League of Women Voters
  • Deputy Registrar, McHenry County
  • Jaycees, Algonquin Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce
  • Communities Against Gangs
  • Lake in the Hills Airport Advisory Committee
  • Lake in the Hills Women’s League
  • Participant in Village of Lake in the Hills committees to hire key employees
  • Participant in Village of Lake in the Hills community education/cooperation committees
  • United Way Campaign Coordinator
  • Junior Achievement: JA and Project Business program instructor
  • Joy Community Presbyterian Church, steering committee member
  • Joy Community Presbyterian Church, Sunday School teacher/coordinator
  • Barrington Presbyterian Church, children’s area volunteer


  • People for Parks Foundation of Lake In The Hills, Inc., board member
  • Chair, Pub in the Park Craft Beer Festival
  • Boulder Ridge Country Club
  • Inverness Golf Club
  • Mediator in family law matters in McHenry County
  • Mediator for Kane County
  • Guardian Ad Litem in McHenry County family law cases

Our Office:

At Wakeman Law Group, PC, we use the most current technology to keep your legal fees low and we have office hours by appointment only with flexibility for your schedule. Phone messages are sent by email to the appropriate professional and we utilize Westlaw to give our clients the most current research results. With new changes in the law in 2017 and further changes in 2023 regarding child support, we incorporate software specifically designed to give accurate numbers for maintenance, child support and parenting time so that it can be clearly communicated to the court.


Turning Point Peace & Justice Award, 2020

Shaw Media, McHenry County Taking Care of Community, 2019

Shaw Media, McHenry County Women of Distinction, 2018

Leading Lawyer

  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2022
  • 2023

American Institute of Family Law Attorneys

  • 10 Best Attorneys, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022, 2023

Daily Herald Business Journal, Top Suburban Women Lawyers, 2017

American Jurisprudence Award, Product Liability, 1993

Seema Shaffer, Attorney

Seema Shaffer, Attorney

Seema joined Wakeman Law Group, PC, as an Associate Attorney, in August of 2019. Seema began her legal career working on criminal appeals for the Office of the State Appellate Defender. She then worked in the area of franchising law for an Australian based company and at a Chicago firm. She has also worked as a legal editor for LexisNexis writing summaries of important facts, rules, and holdings in pertinent case law and identifying key rules of law. Seema brings a strong sense of common sense, compassion, insight, and legal analysis to her representation of clients for the firm. She finds it rewarding to help people during the transition in their lives involving family law matters.

Seema is married and has two adult children.

Continuing Education Courses:

  • Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program
  • Divorce Boot Camp
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Family Law Back to Basics
  • Negotiating with a Narcissist
  • Modifying Child Support & Arrearage Payments
  • High Conflict Cases and Crisis in Family Court: Being Trauma Informed & Self-Aware
  • Special Needs Legal & Future Planning
  • Attorney-Client Relations: Effectively Connect & Communicate with Clients
  • Effective Use of Court-Ordered Supervised Parenting Time


  • Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D. - 1995
  • University of Iowa, B.A. - 1992


  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • McHenry County Bar Association

Stephanie Seyller Thompson, Accredited Paralegal

Stephanie Seyller Thompson, Accredited Paralegal

Stephanie has more than 20 years of paralegal experience in the family law and personal injury areas. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College-Chicago and graduated with high honors earning her Paralegal Certificate from Elgin Community College, an ABA approved paralegal program. She was designated as an Illinois Accredited Paralegal through the Illinois Paralegal Association in May 2018. Stephanie takes continuing education classes to constantly improve her skills and to maintain this designation.

Stephanie is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Her experience with large and small firms has prepared her to be ready for the unexpected twists and turns that family law cases can take.

Stephanie has expertise in supporting attorneys in drafting pleadings, providing necessary documents for depositions, and preparing for trial. She also enjoys meeting with clients to help them navigate through the discovery process. She realizes it is cumbersome and tries to break it down into smaller pieces for overwhelmed clients. Stephanie uses her investigative skills to find assets that opposing parties sometimes try to hide prior to the beginning of the divorce process.

Stephanie is married, has three grown children, and three granddaughters. Since becoming an “empty nester” in 2018, she has been volunteering as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) with McHenry County CASA.

Kim Hanschman, Client Coordinator

Kim Hanschman, Client Coordinator

Kim is a compassionate and client-focused professional with more than 30 years of experience building and managing client relationships. Her professional experience includes Senior Living industry management, marketing and sales, general office management, relocation project management and logistics, as well as event and seminar execution for trade shows.

Kim earned her Associate of Science at Harper College and her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Elmhurst University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Kim has enjoyed multiple volunteer activities over the years: Parent Teacher Organization member; Chairperson and Presenter for the school's "Get Smart with Art" program which substituted a lack of art in classes for four years; co-leader for a troupe of 10 Girl Scouts; Team-In-Training volunteer, fundraiser, and participant for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for the 100-mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe. Other volunteerism includes Willow Creek Crystal Lake, On Angels' Wings, St. Barnabas Christian Preschool, Habitat for Humanity, Chicago Cares, Special Olympics and Multiple Sclerosis in Illinois; and Cornell College, Boys and Girls Club, Thursday Noon Optimist Club, March of Dimes, and Camp Courageous in Iowa.

Kim is married with two daughters, one who recently became married, and another who became a college freshman, both during the summer of 2022. Along with her husband, she has her two fur-baby dogs and a turtle to dote on at home. Kim enjoys utilizing her skills in support of Wakeman Law Group clients and team members.


Wakeman Law Group, P.C.
741 S. McHenry, Suite A
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815.893.6800 [email protected]

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