Attorney And Co-Managing Partner – Licensed In Indiana
Attorney Erin L. Connell is a top-rated attorney with more than 13 years of legal experience and co-founding and managing partner of Connell Michael Kerr, LLP. Ms. Connell devotes her practice primarily to family law, and she provides exceptional counsel and support to clients throughout the greater Indianapolis metro and surrounding areas who are going through divorces or have other serious legal issues affecting their families.
Although she represents clients from all walks of life, Ms. Connell is a veteran of the United States Air Force and she routinely works with service members and their families in their divorce and family law situations. As a former Captain in the United States Air Force, she fully understands the unique and specialized needs military families have and she is able to more readily connect with them and assist them through their struggles while devising effective solutions and strategies to help them achieve their goals.
As further evidence of her versatility as an attorney, along with her extensive trial experience, Ms. Connell is also trained in mediation and collaborative law to be able to provide a variety of options to her clients. Whether inside or outside the courtroom, Ms. Connell remains completely devoted to protecting her clients’ rights and best interests at all turns, and she has gained a reputation for compassion and integrity as well as her aggressive approach when necessary to helping her clients achieve the positive results that they expect and deserve as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
From her efforts, Ms. Connell has earned consistent top rankings and endorsements from her peers, including five-star peer-reviews through Martindale-Hubbell and being selected for inclusion in the Indiana “Super Lawyer” list for multiple years. She has also received numerous testimonials and referrals from her satisfied clients, and she finds great reward in being able to help so many in her area during some of the most difficult and uncertain times of their lives.
A 1998 graduate of the Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Ms. Connell obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Aerospace Studies. After graduation, Ms. Connell was commissioned an officer in the United States Air Force and obtained her Master’s Degree of Public Administration from Troy State University in 2000. Upon deciding to pursue her legal career, she obtained her Juris Doctorate from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2007. She is admitted to practice and has practiced before most Indiana state courts as well as before the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana.
Along with handling all aspects of family law, Ms. Connell also has extensive experience handling other civil and criminal litigation matters. More specifically, Ms. Connell has assisted clients and families in medical malpractice and wrongful death claims and also handled cases involving products liability, commercial litigation and other tortious claims for her clients.
Attorney And Co-Managing Partner – Licensed In Texas, Indiana, And Michigan
Catherine M. Michael is licensed and practices throughout the states of Indiana, Texas, Michigan, and Ohio. She focuses in representing children and their families in a myriad of personal injury and education law issues. Her expertise encompasses personal injury of children and disabled adults, special education due process, Section 504 matters, expulsion and disciplinary challenges, and tort related litigation including sexual abuse, molestation, and rape both within and outside school settings, as well as private school disputes and discipline. Additionally, she addresses various civil rights and disability claims students may encounter.
Over the years, Catherine Michael has earned significant recognition, being featured in both national and local media on countless occasions. Her insights into education law and the personal injury claims involving children make her a sought-after guest on numerous syndicated radio and television programs. With nearly two decades dedicated to the realm of education and personal injury of children and adults with disabilities, Catherine’s primary mission has been to ensure the rights and needs of children and the disabled are upheld and addressed. Among her significant cases, she has represented school shooting victims, children who suffered abuse in academic, daycare, or private settings, and countless special needs students whose families sought an attorney within the education system.
Attorney And Partner – Licensed In Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania And Alaska
Sonja D. Kerr is a skilled special education attorney with over thirty years of practice at all levels, due process, federal and state courts, and the appellate courts. Ms. Kerr has litigated individual cases as well as class actions.
Ms. Kerr has had the pleasure of representing students with a wide variety of disabilities, including autism, language-impairments, Tourette’s Syndrome, hearing impairment/deafness, learning disabilities/dyslexia, blind/visually impaired, ADHD/ADD, and children with emotional disturbance and children with a variety of physical disabilities.
Ms. Kerr has brought various cases against the state educational agency. In Indiana, she successfully represented parents in due process hearings and also challenged the state’s due process system in federal court. H.H. v. Indiana Board of Special Education Appeals, (Indiana 2008); M.O. v. Duneland (Indiana 2009). Ms. Kerr obtained a federal court order sanctioning the attorney general of Nebraska for claiming that the state was immune from suit under the IDEA. Edwards v. Fremont (Nebraska 1994). And in Mississippi, Ms. Kerr sued to keep the state in a case involving the denial of a free appropriate public education to a child with dyslexia. Hill v. Laurel School District (Mississippi 1995).
Ms. Kerr was previously Director of Disability Rights for the prestigious Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia from 2009-2016. While there, Ms. Kerr brought various class actions to protect the rights of children.
Ms. Kerr is admitted to practice in Indiana, Texas, Alaska and Pennsylvania, and is nonpracticing in Minnesota. She is also admitted to various federal and circuit courts and the United States Supreme Court.
Attorney – Licensed In Indiana and California
Jennifer Hostetter is an attorney focused in the areas of family law, assisted reproduction, estate planning and criminal defense. Jennifer is also a registered domestic relations mediator, parenting coordinator and guardian ad litem. Jennifer is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, Indianapolis Bar Association, Hamilton County Bar Association, Boone County Bar Association, California State Bar Association and American Bar Association; and currently serves on the Boone County Community Corrections Board and is a Task Force Member for Judge David’s annual in-service.
Nicole Makris McAtee
Attorney – Licensed In Indiana
Nicole Makris McAtee’s legal practice is exclusively devoted to family law matters and represents clients in dissolution of marriage actions; juvenile paternity actions; custody, parenting time and child support modifications; guardianships; adoptions; and both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Nicole is also a trained guardian ad litem (GAL) and, in addition to her private GAL practice, she volunteers her GAL services to Kids’ Voice of Indiana. Nicole has litigation experience in numerous Indiana courts; however, as a Martinsville resident, she especially enjoys serving clients residing in Morgan and Johnson counties. With Connell Michael Kerr, LLP, having Indiana offices in both Carmel and Martinsville, Nicole is easily able to coordinate meetings in accommodation with her clients’ residential and work locations.
Nicole’s strong courtroom presence is built upon her criminal and civil litigation experience, and she takes great pride in her ability to effectively communicate with her clients and all other involved parties to assist with effectively facilitating dispute resolution whenever possible. The compassion Nicole has for her clients, regardless of their circumstances, makes her an ideal advocate for those facing difficult family law matters.
Nicole has served as a Central Indiana Regional Board of the American Cancer Society board member; and she is actively involved with the Indianapolis Bar Association, serving on the Indianapolis Bar Foundation Board of Directors. Nicole is a recipient of the Leadership in Law “Up & Coming Lawyer” award from the Indiana Lawyer; and, in addition to being a repeat recipient of the Super Lawyers “Rising Star” designation list, Nicole was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. Nicole has also written several articles for the Indiana Lawyer, has been a panelist for a continuing education workshop for behavioral health professionals, and is collaboratively trained by the Central Indiana Association of Collaborative Professionals.
Nicole earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University Bloomington and her Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
Attorney – Of Counsel – Licensed In Georgia Only
Dayna Friduss is an attorney within the Education Law Division. Since 2017, she has represented many families with their special education needs, primarily in the areas of discipline, identification, IEP implementation and a variety of other special education matters, including filing and resolving due process hearing complaints against public school districts throughout the state of Georgia. Dayna is the mother of two beautiful boys, one of whom was diagnosed with autism. As a result of his diagnosis and her refusal to settle for the grave predictions she was given for her son’s future, Ms. Friduss immersed herself in the world of treatment for autism spectrum disorder and began her education law career advocating on his behalf within the public school system. Prior to Dayna’s move into education law, she worked as an insurance defense attorney, and as an insurance claims professional, and as a result, she has an extensive background in litigation, mediation and conflict resolution.
Dayna has received training in special education law at the Institute of Special Education Advocacy at William & Mary Law School and is also a member of the Counsel of Parent, Attorneys and Advocates. She graduated from Georgia State University Law School, cum laude, and has been a member of the Georgia Bar since 2003. Dayna was a Colorado native who earned degrees in Psychology and Business Administration at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Attorney – Of Counsel – Licensed In Indiana And Ohio
Carla Leader is an attorney with the Indiana and Ohio Education Law Division of Connell Michael Kerr, LLP. She brings nearly 20 years of experience focused in representation and protection of children’s legal and civil rights. She works with clients throughout the state of Indiana and Ohio in special education due process, Section 504, student expulsion, Section 1983, ADA, and other federal and education law matters.
Carla graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies. She completed law school at the American University Washington College of Law. After law school, she clerked for Judge Ronna Lee Beck in D.C. Superior Court between 2000-2001 and then worked for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases. She then worked with Legal Aid and ran her own law firm for many years. Her focus on representation of children is not only a profession but a personal calling. She has been featured in the media multiple times for her work. She has a podcast Parental Guidance with Catherine Michael that focuses on educational needs and law.
Attorney – Of Counsel – Licensed In Indiana And Ohio
Michelle McGuire is an attorney with the Education Law Division with more than 15 years of experience focused in education law. She is licensed in Indiana and Ohio, and works to ensure representation of families in Ohio in special education due process, Section 504, student expulsion, Section 1983, federal litigation and other education law matters. She earned her law degree from Cleveland State Marshall College of Law and her undergraduate from Bowling Green State University. After being licensed to practice law in 2003, she was admitted to the Ohio Northern District Court. Her office is located in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, and she works with Connell Michael Kerr, LLP, to represent clients throughout the State of Ohio.