Attorneys & Staff
Honored as one of the area's 2016 "Top Lawyers" in the Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine. Attorney Dena Allen is an experienced attorney and mediator, having practiced law for over 20 years. She focuses her practice on all aspects of family law, adoptions, probate, and estate planning. While she is a very tough and respected litigator, she also knows the value to her clients, both financially and emotionally, of settling cases without having to walk down the adversarial (litigation) path. When the facts and circumstances of a case warrant, and with client approval, she actively pursues settlement without using the courts, using either mediation or the Collaborative Law process.
Honored as one of the area's 2016 "Top Lawyers" in the Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine. Attorney Matthew Fischer focuses his practice in all areas of family law. Matt’s approach to his practice is to focus on what is in the best interest of his clients. He spends the necessary one-on-one time with each of his clients, carefully listening to their needs, concerns, and desires, so that he can focus on the specific issues that will provide the best possible outcome for his client. Matt believes that it is extremely important for clients to establish a trusting relationship with their attorney, and diligently works on building the bridges of confidence and compassion to earn the trust of each of his clients . This results in a sense of "team" between Matt and each of his clients, to efficiently accomplish the goals of the client. Matt brings to the table a balanced blend of knowledge, experience, and true compassion for each and every one of his clients.
Cathy Helman practices in various areas of law involving families. Her considerable experience work with the Appeals Court makes her the right choice for seeking review of a lower court decision. Cathy knows that her clients need someone in their corner to provide them with the legal advice, guidance, and representation that they need. She will advocate and seek the best outcome for her clients, to ease the stress and uncertainty involved with resolving a family conflict using the legal process. She believes in taking the time to listen to her clients and understanding their needs in order to provide them with highest level of legal representation.
Mr. Linehan’s areas of practice include claimant representation in Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income cases; parent representation in dependency, guardianship, and termination of parental rights; and the wide range of family law matters including divorce, support, parenting plans, modifications, and adoptions. Mr. Linehan also serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner.
Combining her legal experience with her diverse background enables her to relate to her clients while still providing them with the sound legal support they need in what may be one of the most difficult chapters in that individual's life. She honors each person's unique perspective, goals, and concerns and considers the relationship between herself and her clients as a partnership; Robin works with her clients towards resolving legal matters with a focus towards what is most important to them.
Rhylee Smith practices in all areas of family law including divorce and separation, child custody, and spousal support. While Rhylee is a fierce advocate, she approaches her clients with compassion and understanding. She enjoys getting to know them on a personal basis as well as professional one. Rhylee firmly believes in open communication and ensures her clients are always well-informed about the process and details of their cases.
Honored as one of the area's 2016 "Top Lawyers" in the Spokane Couer d'Alene Living Magazine. Ken Zigler practices in all areas of family law. Additionally, he represents individuals as they submit claims for Social Security Disablility or Social Security Income benefits. Ken also accepts clients with personal injury claims and other legal disputes.
Joanna ("Jo") is admitted to practice by the Washington State Supreme Court as a Rule 9 Intern. As a Rule 9 Intern with over 4 years of family law experience, she provides legal counsel and appears in court on behalf of clients. Joanna is nearing completion of her legal studies and will be taking the bar exam in the near future. She primarily works with Dena Allen and Ken Zigler.
Kelly Padgham passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer. She was a wonderful person, and a superb attorney who worked tirelessly for her clients All of the staff at Burke Law Group sorely miss Kelly's humor, energy, and love of life.
Stephanie is the longest term employee of our support staff, having first started as our Receptionist at the beginning of 2006, then being promoted to Legal Assistant, Senior Legal Assistant and finally as a Paralegal. She is a registered paralegal with the Spokane County Bar Association. Stephanie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Eastern Washington University with a degree in business. Stephanie provides primary support to John Burke, Robin Schmahl, and Cathy Helman.
April joined Burke Law Group as a Senior Legal Assistant having several years of experience in legal support positions prior to joining Burke Law Group. She has primary support responsibilities for Rhylee Smith and Joseph Linehan.
Anne is a Legal Assistant, with primary support responsibilities for Matthew Fischer
Jennifer is Burke Law Group's Office Manager. Her responsibilities encompass most of the behind the scene functions of the law firm, from bookkeeping and billing, to file management, computer hardware and software functionality. Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Management from Colorado State University.
Marcella is the firm's receptionist and legal clerk. In addition to performing the typical duties of a receptionist, she handles most of the initial contacts with prospective clients, processes client payments, and helps maintain client files for all attorneys. You will appreciate her kind manner when entering the office; she truly aims to make you as comfortable as possible. She realizes that most people have never been in a law office, and is sensitive to the fact that you are probably in a stressful situation and unsure of what the future may hold for your and your family. She can help you feel at ease, and for you to feel confident that your decision to come to Burke Law Group is the right one.