Straight-shooting and widely respected by her peers, 52-year-old Cheryl Young is regarded as one the leading matrimonial attorneys in eastern Pennsylvania, and a great asset to Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, a firm of approximately 50 attorneys with 4 offices in the region. She joined Hangley Aronchick in early 2008 after years with a well-known Philadelphia firm. Rivals say Young brings a down-to-earth common sense to a field with its share of histrionics and high drama.
Growing up in Skokie, Ill., outside Chicago, Young knew early she wanted to be an attorney: "I saw that the law required being able to see both sides - yet be willing to be adversarial. And that was me." Besides, she adds, "My mother always said when I argued with her I usually won." She went on to Michigan State ("A big campus I loved") and later American University Law School in Washington, DC. ("I wanted to try a different part of the country.") She met her husband, a Montgomery County native, in law school.
They returned to Norristown and she joined a small general practice that gave her early trial experience. "I was the only woman doing litigation," she recalls, and partners began handing her divorce cases - "It was a matter of doing a good job and all of a sudden five more clients were knocking at my door. Next thing I knew I was a divorce lawyer." Though she never shied from litigation, Young is a skilled negotiator.
Since then Young's profile has only grown. Her practice - and her reputation as a measured and level-headed practitioner - now extend throughout the region. The firm's 5-attorney Norristown office has diverse talents: Young's style contrasts with that of her more-combative peers, but she is no less successful, having built a reputation as a skilled practitioner. In keeping with her natural leadership skills, Young served in 2004 as president of the Montgomery Bar Association. Still, Young maintains a substantial caseload - "You've got to be organized and very efficient to do the job properly" - with most cases coming by referral. One rival says she may make a fine candidate for the bench down the road.
With a pace only slightly slowed by recently joining a book-discussion group ("always fiction"), part of Young's success stems from her ability to balance the personal and professional. The mother of two children in their twenties, Young, her husband - himself a corporate attorney - and family live in Maple Glen.