Michael Stutman's path to the top of Manhattan divorce law is a unique and winding personal journey. It has earned him, almost unintentionally, a rare degree of authority in the field. His success bears little resemblance to that of virtually any other veteran matrimonial lawyer in New York City. His personal experiences - of college and law school in the Midwest, as a one-time store-front plaintiff's lawyer in East Harlem and the co-author of a well-known divorce "how-to" for New Yorkers -- have created what peers call a "passionate practitioner" with a range of skills and an abiding interest in the well-being of his clients. Animated and intense, yet likeable and witty, Stutman is a high-energy professional, divorce law's version of a Wall Street trader. Not surprisingly, many of Stutman's clients today come from major law firms and Wall Street brokerages, where pedigree matters little and results mean everything. Stutman grew up in Croton-on-Hudson in Westchester, but a rebelliousness drove him away from home. He enrolled at tiny Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., with a graduating class of 300. He had a knack for creating opportunities for himself, and he bootstrapped his way to law school at the University of Tulsa. He practiced in Oklahoma - on his own -- for seven years before joining his father, a professional engineer who pursued a law degree and changed careers to practice law. Stutman & Stutman, P.C., first hung out a shingle at 106th and Third Avenue, and practiced construction litigation and civil trial law for several years. Upon meeting Grier Raggio, a Texas native who'd launched a divorce law practice in New York, Stutman began consulting with Raggio on cases. "He was willing to mentor me, take me under his wing. That changed my direction." Soon Stutman and Raggio collaborated on their book "How to Divorce in New York," published by St. Martin's Press. The book catapulted Stutman to the forefront of divorce law in New York. Soon Raggio returned to Dallas, Stutman partnered with ultra-networked Upper East Side attorney Peter Unger. But before reaching their full potential, Unger died. As often happens, life presents opportunities, and so it did soon after Unger's death. Stutman became involved in a high-profile custody matter, and ultimately joined Harold Mayerson to form a partnership, in 2002. In 2012 Stutman joined a London-based firm as department head of the firm's fledgling New York family law practice. In recent years he represented a wife, in a widely watched case, who received 100% of marital property. In 2016 he co-founded Stutman Advocate Stutman & Lichtenstein, LLP; among his partners today is his wife Dana Sherins Stutman. Away from the office he enjoys being with his family and sailing.