MEET ZANITA

Over 40 years devoted exclusively to family law

Zanita A. Zacks-Gabriel

Collaborative Lawyer, Mediator, Trainer & Peacemaker


Zanita A. Zacks-Gabriel

Temple University School of Law Brandeis University

Member of Business Networking International Member of International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Member of Collaborative Professionals of Northwest Pennsylvania

Member The American Trial Lawyers Association Member The Pennsylvania Bar Association Member The  Erie County Bar Association

Member of Mediation Council of Western PA Member Pennsylvania Council of Mediators Member of Academy of Professional Family Mediators

A MESSAGE FROM ZANITA

"For over 40 years I have dedicated my practice to ably and effectively representing families in conflict and/or in crisis. My goal has always been to provide effective, thorough, caring, and creative divorce and family law solutions. My primary aim is to resolve cases favorably for clients without the costly necessity for court intervention, and thus a full range of collaborative and mediation services are provided. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods are now the wave of the future, as they provide both a respectful and dignified way to resolve emotionally charged family issues without court intervention.

The collaborative model allows the parties to advocate their needs and interests, and allows them to participate directly in the restructuring of their families. The process is extremely child centered and is a healthier more holistic method of resolving parenting issues. I am passionately committed to the collaborative process, since I believe that this ADR model best supports families and keeps children'sneeds and concerns paramount.

I graduated from Brandeis University, magna cum laude, thereafter from Temple University Beasly School of Law in 1975. I began practicing under rule 11 in 1974 and was the first woman to practice law in Erie. I founded the Collaborative Professionals of Northwest PA (CPNWPA) and was its President for a number of years. I am now chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Collaborative Law Committee and the chair of the subcommittee on Legislation, including the Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act (PCLA). I have also searved for several years on the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) UCLA Advisory Panel. I am a member of the PBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee and drafter of the Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act. I have also been published and train widely in collaborative practice matters as well as mediation matters."

Download Zanita's curriculum vitae

Contact

Free Initial Consultation

Zanita A. Zacks-Gabriel, Esq.
Attorney at Law
402 W 6th St.
Erie, PA 16507-1216
(814) 452-4451
(814) 453-2589

BARS OF ADMISSION

  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Erie County Court of Common Pleas
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

EDUCATION

Law

  • Temple University School of Law
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Juris Doctor Degree awarded 1975
  • Dean's Honor List

Undergraduate

  • Brandeis University
  • Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science awarded 1972
  • Magna Cum Laude

High School

  • Harborcreek High School
  • Harborcreek, Pennsylvania
  • Valedictorian

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • Collaborative Professionals of Northwest PA, Founding Member and Former President
  • PBA, State Collaborative Law Committee, Chair 2014-2016, Vice Chair 2012-2014
  • PBA, Collaborative Law Committee, Chair of Legislative Subcommittee, 2012-2016
  • PBA, Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee member
  • PBA, drafter of Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act (PCLA)
  • International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)
  • Member, IACP Subcommittee and Advisory Panel on UCLA
  • Academy of Professional Family Mediators
  • Pennsylvania Council of Mediators
  • American Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Erie County Bar Association

Erie County Bar Association Committees/Sections

Current

  • Family Law Committee
  • Estate and Trust Section
  • Fee Dispute Committee
  • Solo/Small Firm Section

Prior

  • Civil Rules Committee
  • ATLA
  • PTLA
  • Member of American Association of Arbitrators
  • Member of National College of Criminal Defense

PUBLICATIONS

  • "A Road Map for States Which Have Not Yet Adopted the UCLA", IACP Collaborative Connection, Vol. 11 Issue 3, Spring 2015
  • Presenter of PCLA at PBA Collaborative Law Committee Retreat, Bedford Springs, PA, Nov 3, 2014
  • "Collaborative Professionals of Northwest PA", The Trend, Spring 2014, A Newsletter of the PBA Collaborative Law Committee
  • "Collaborative Professionals of Northwest PA", The Trend, Fall 2013, A Newsletter of the PBA Collaborative Law Committee
  • 96 ERIE 27'41, S.J.S. v. M.J.S., Erie County Legal Journal, Vol. 96 No. 36, 9/6/2013
  • "Reflections on Chicago", The Trend, Spring 2013, A Newsletter of the PBA Collaborative Law Committee
  • "Northwest Professionals High on Collaboration", The Trend, Spring 2012, A Newsletter of the PBA Collaborative Law Committee

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Trainings presented

2015

  • Presenter, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team II", PBA CLASP and Collaborative Retreat, Bedford Springs, Nov 1, 2015
  • "Add Collaborative Practice to Your Toolbox", for PA Council of Mediators via conference call, July 21, 2015
  • Presenter, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", for Collaborative Professionals of NW PA Annual Retreat, Erie Yacht Club, Erie, PA, May 29, 2015

2014

  • Presenter at PBA Collaborative Law Committee Retreat, Bedford Springs, PA, Nov 3, 2014
  • "The Role of the Financial Professional in Collaborative Practice", IACP DVD Series, hosted Q&A session, Erie, PA, Jul 16, 2014
  • "How to Build Your Collaborative Practice", IACP DVD Series, hosted Q&A session, Erie, PA, Jun 11, 2014 and Aug 26, 2014
  • "The Passionate Initial Client Consultation", IACP DVD Series, hosted Q&A session, Erie, PA, May 21, 2014
  • "What Every Advisor Should Know About Collaborative Divorce - Preserving Client Assets and Relationships", Estate Planning Council, Bel-Aire Clarion Hotel, Erie, PA
  • "Creating Cohesive Teams" Collaborative Professionals of NW PA Annual Retreat at Yacht Club, live seminars, Erie, PA, Jun 5, 2014
  • "Navigating the Waters of Divorce - A Practitioner's View" by Estate Planning Council of Erie, Held at Bel-Aire Hotel, Erie, PA, May 7, 2014
  • "Collaborative Practice Dispute Resolution Without Going to Court", Erie Club, Erie, PA, April 24, 2014
  • "Challenging Meeting: "Wife Wants to Introduce Son to Boyfriend", "Attorney De-Briefs with Client", "Innovative Problem-Solving Model Moves Clients Through Impasse" and "Financial Neutral and Clients Grapple with "Who Gets the House?", DVD Pollock Collaborative trainings, hosted Q&A sessions, Erie, PA, Mar 12, 2014 and Apr 16, 2014
  • "Building the Collaborative Team", "Initial Five-Way Meeting", and "Team De-Briefs After Initial Five-Way Meeting", DVD Pollock Collaborative trainings, hosted Q&A sessions, Erie, PA, Feb 12, 2014
  • "How to Talk with Prospective Client About Collaborative Law" and "Coach Conducting an Initial Interview with Client", DVD Pollock Collaborative trainings, hosted Q&A sessions, Erie, PA, Jan 15, 2014

2013

  • ECBA Collaborative Law Training, Basic Parts 1 and 2 and Advanced Training, live w/Suzanne Brunsting, Erie, PA, Nov 8 and 9, 2013
  • PICPA Erie Chapter Networking Mentorship Panel, Erie, PA, Nov 7, 2013
  • CPNWPA Retreat, Jan 12, 2013

2011

  • "Collaborative Law: Resolving Disputes Respectfully", Erie Club, Erie, PA, Oct 5, 2011
  • "ABC's of Networking Luncheon", PICPA training, Bel-Aire Hotel, Erie, PA, Sept 28, 2011


2015 Trainings

  • PBA Collaborative Law Committee Retreat, Bedford Springs, PA, Nov 2, 2015
  • IACP 16th Annual Networking and Education Forum and Pre-Forum Workshops, Washington, DC, Oct 13-18, 2015
  • IACP 16th Annual Networking and Educational Forum"
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "Fostering Trusting Relationships in Your Practice Groups"
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "The Challenge of Teams"
  • "Ethics Cafe"
  • "When Clients and the Team Collide: Whose Case is it Anyway?"
  • "Transforming Impasse from Problem into Opportunity"
  • "Marketing Collaborative Practice for the Experienced Collaborative Practitioner"
  • "Judicial Interview of the Child", ECBA Live seminar, Oct 6, 2015
  • PBA Leadership & Training Session at PBI Headquarters, Mechanicsburg, PA, Sept 29, 2015
  • "Survival 101 w/Ellen Freedman", ECBA Live seminar, Aug 27, 2015
  • "Closing the Deal: Getting to Yes (and Evading No!)", ABA Webinar, Jun 2, 2015
  • Collaborative Professionals of NW PA Annual Retreat, live seminars, Erie, PA, May 29, 2015
  • 12th Annual Kaplan Lecture Series - The Future of Conflict Resolution, "Exploring New Client/Party Centered Models", ACBA/CLASP live seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, May 20, 2015
  • Woody Mosten Collaborative Law Training/12th Annual Kaplan Lecture Series, "Refining the Initial Client/Party Meeting", ACBA/CLASP live seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, May 20, 2015
  • "Negotiation in Mediations: What Happens When Your Partner Stops Dancing", ABA Webinar, May 5, 2015
  • "Evaluations, Opinions, Observations, Comments: Whether, When and How Mediators Use Analytical Techniques", ABA Webinar, Mar 10, 2015
  • "What is the Relevance of the Joint Opening Session in Today"s Commercial Mediation Process?", ABA Webinar, Feb 3, 2015
  • "Before the Session Starts: How to Prepare for Mediation", ABA Webinar, Jan 13, 2015

2014 Trainings

  • PBA Collaborative Law Committee Retreat, Bedford Springs, PA, Nov 3, 2014
  • IACP 15th Annual Networking and Education Forum and Pre-Forum Workshops, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Oct 23-26, 2014:
  • "IACP 15th Annual Networking and Education Forum"
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "Collaborative Rescue Squad Training: Emergency Interventions"
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "Making the Paradigm Shift Real: Ideas for Putting Meat on the Bone"
  • "Ethics Caf" for Advanced Practitioners"
  • "Real Learnings for the Challenges of the Real World Collaborations"
  • "Scaffolding Complex Collaborative Divorce Cases: Tools for Tackling Tough Issues"
  • "Can We Dance if We Aren"t in the Same Ballroom?"
  • "Mediating Divorce and Family Conflicts " Lynn MacBeth", Erie, PA, Oct 17-18, 2014
  • "A new Era in PA with Joe Martone" Erie, PA Jun 16, 2014
  • Collaborative Professionals of NW PA Annual Retreat, live seminars, Erie, PA, Jun 5, 2014
  • "Erie Club Speaker's Series Collaborative Practice: How to Divorce Without Going to Court", Erie, PA, Apr 24, 2014
  • "Net Disposable Income for Closely Held Business Owners", Erie, PA, Apr 3, 2014
  • "The Strategic Mediator", PBI seminar, Erie, PA, Mar 26, 2014
  • "PFA, After the Order", Erie, PA, Mar 24, 2014
  • "Dialogue with Orphans' Court Judge Kelly", Erie, PA, Mar 13, 2014
  • "The Role of the Financial Professional in Collaborative Practice", IACP DVD Series, hosted Q&A session, Erie, PA
  • "How to Build Your Collaborative Practice", IACP DVD Series, hosted Q&A session, Erie, PA
  • "The Passionate Initial Client Consultation", IACP DVD Series, hosted Q&A session, Erie, PA
  • "What Every Advisor Should Know About Collaborative Divorce - Preserving Client Assets and Relationships", Estate Planning Council, Bel-Aire Clarion Hotel, Erie, PA

2013 Trainings

  • ECBA Collaborative Law Training, Basic Training Parts 1 and 2 and Advanced Training, live w/Suzanne Brunsting, Erie, PA, Nov 7, 8 and 9, 2013
  • PICPA Erie Chapter Networking Mentorship Panel, Erie, PA, Nov 7, 2013
  • CPNWPA Annual Retreat, Erie, PA, Jun 7, 2013
  • 40-Hour Basic Divorce Mediation Training, live w/Woody Mosten, Los Angeles, CA, Jan 21-26, 2013
  • CPNWPA Retreat, Jan 12, 2013

2012 Trainings

  • "Pre-Service Training for Guardians Ad Litem", PBI seminar, Erie, PA, Dec 18, 2012
  • "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word", ECBA live seminar, Erie, PA, Nov 27, 2012
  • CPNWPA DVD Training of CLASP episodes 6-9, Nov 21, 2012
  • IACP 13th Annual Networking and Educational Forum and Pre-Forum Workshops, Chicago, IL, Oct 18-21, 2012:
  • Pre-Forum Institute, "Collaborative Leadership"
  • Pre-Forum Institute, "Money, Law and Values-Based Collaborative Conflict Resolution"
  • "Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Deepening our Work in Collaborative Practice"
  • "OOPS! Catching & Addressing Professional Missteps in the Collaborative Meeting"
  • "The Emotions of Family Finances: Finessing Fear, Formulas and Fairness"
  • CPNWPA DVD Training of CLASP episodes 3-5, Erie, PA, Oct 11, 2012
  • "A Master Class in Becoming a Successful Full-Time Collaborative Professional", 3-day training with Pauline Tesler and Woody Mosten, Pittsburgh, PA, Feb 2-4, 2012

2011 Trainings

  • IACP 12th Annual Networking and Educational Forum and Pre-Forum Workshops, San Francisco, CA, Oct 26-30, 2011:
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "Understanding and Meeting the Challenges of Collaborative Advocacy"
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "Who"s on First " Taking a Fresh Look at the Dynamics of Decision Making, Money, Power, Narrative and Law in Highly Effective Collaborative Practice"
  • "You"re a Trained Collaborative Practitioner; Now How Do You Develop a Collaborative Practice?"
  • "Sex, Lies and Money: Techniques and Strategies for Managing Broken Trust"
  • "Getting Your Clients Ready to Negotiate in the Collaborative Process"
  • "Domestic Violence in Collaborative Work"

2010 Trainings

  • "Custody: Version 2011 " Pennsylvania"s New Custody Law", ECBA Seminar, Erie, PA
  • IACP 11th Annual Networking and Educational Forum and Pre-Forum Workshops, Washington, DC, Oct 28-31, 2010:
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "Challenges for Practice Group Leaders"
  • Pre-Forum Institute: "Upside Down and Inside Out: Valuation and Disposition of the Family Home"
  • "Welcome to Bedrock! The Fred and Barney Show: Practical Tools for Exploring Deeper and Building the Bedrock of Interest-Based Bargaining"
  • "Minding Your Collaborative Business"
  • "Conflict De-Escalation in Collaborative Cases: Duress for Success"
  • "The Psychologist"s Role in a Family Law Case", PBI Seminar, Erie, PA
  • "Family Law Update: Recent Developments Including the Adoption of Revisions to the Support Guidelines", PBI Seminar, Erie, PA

2009 Trainings

  • Introduction to Collaborative Law, basic training, Sept 17-19, 2009

2005 Trainings

  • Alternate Dispute Resolution Training, ECBA live seminars, Parts I, II and III, Oct 24 and 25, 2005

CIVIC INVOLVEMENT

  • Erie Philharmonic (previously), quartet, violist and violinist (Erie, PA)
  • Mercyhurst Orchestra, violist and violinist (Erie, PA)
  • Greenville Symphony Orchestra, violist (Greenville, PA)
  • Ashtabula Orchestra, violist (Ashtabula, OH)
  • Franklin Orchestra, violist (Franklin, PA)
  • Chamber Music Trio and Quartet
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