About Our Authors

Our Legal Expertise

We select attorneys/authors to write for Real Life Legal™ based on their demonstrated legal expertise and common sense. They share our commitment to provide you with practical advice on everyday matters that may involve the law.

Our authors hail from all parts of the United States, from Alaska to Maine. They make Real Life Legal™ publications the best source of practical advice for making smart legal choices.

Joanne Dekker, Esq.

Joanne Dekker focuses her practice on employment law, construction and government contract litigation and general business litigation. She is also an avid animal lover and increasingly works on legal issues involving pets and animals. Ms. Dekker represents both management and employees in private sector employment law matters and also represents federal employees before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Ms. Dekker graduated cum laude from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with a B.A. in American History. She received the John Farrell Prize for American History and was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the international honor society for history. She also earned her J.D. at the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.

Ms. Dekker is admitted to practice in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She is also admitted in the federal courts: United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Eastern District of Virginia and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Ms. Dekker is also a member of the Loudoun County Animal Advisory Committee.

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John A. Goodman, Esq.

John A. Goodman, Esq. is a commercial real estate attorney in solo practice in Westchester County, New York. He specializes in real estate, construction law, leasing, general contract and corporate law and is a certified mediator. Mr. Goodman graduated summa cum laude from Bucknell University and received his J.D. from Columbia Law School. He is licensed to practice in New York.

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Maryam Jahedi, Esq.


Maryam Jahedi is a criminal defense attorney and owner of the Maryam Jahedi Law Firm in Manhattan. Prior to opening her own firm, Ms. Jahedi obtained extensive advocacy skills in the public sector at the Legal Aid Society. Ms. Jahedi volunteered at the Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan, where she advocated on behalf of individual prisoners in New York City jails and New York State prisons on matters of guard brutality, sexual abuse, mental health, and medical care.

Maryam Jahedi earned her B.A. in Economics from University of British Columbia in Canada. She later earned her J.D. from Sydney Law School at University of Sydney in Australia. Ms. Jahedi is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is fluent in Farsi.

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Amy Newman, Esq.


Amy Newman is a writer and attorney living in Anchorage, Alaska. She graduated Cum Laude from The George Washington University, where she earned a dual bachelor’s degree in journalism and criminal justice.

Ms. Newman attended Pepperdine University School of Law. Ms. Newman is licensed to practice law in Alaska and Illinois, and worked as an estate and trusts attorney for five years. She is the mother of two five-year-old daughters, one who has cerebral palsy.

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Susan G. Parker, Esq.

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Susan G. Parker maintains a law practice in Westchester County, New York which specializes in tax and estate planning, probate and business planning/agreements. Ms. Parker graduated with a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania and received her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law. She later earned an advanced law degree in taxation (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law.

Ms. Parker, who primarily practices in the area of estate planning is the author of Real Life Legal’s  What to do When Someone Dies, and is co-author of Elder Law: Legal Planning for Seniors and Estate Planning: A Road Map for Beginners.  She also co-authored Real Life Legal’s Business Owner’s Start-up Guide, published in 2016.

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Susan Parker enjoys an A+ rating through the Better Business Bureau, and is registered on Nolo.org.

Dawn Snyder, Esq.

Dawn Snyder is an attorney with a background in civil litigation, including appeals and alternative dispute resolution. Her practice areas include insurance coverage and defense, construction defect, design professional errors and omissions, and personal injury.

Ms. Snyder received her B.A. from Allegheny College and J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Ms. Snyder is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Arizona. She serves of counsel with Russo & Associates in Fairview Park, Ohio.

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Maria B. Whealan, Esq.


Maria Bryson Whealan practices in the areas of estate planning and administration, elder law, and mediation. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A., with honors, in Spanish. Ms. Whealan received her J.D. from Rutgers Law School, and is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Ms. Whealan is a certified mediator.

Ms. Whealan primarily practices in the area of elder law and is the co-author of Real Life Legal’s Elder Law: Legal Planning for Seniors and Estate Planning: A Road Map for Beginners.  As an homage to her father, a Korean War Veteran, she also authored Real Life Legal’s   U.S. Veterans: Your Rights and Benefits, published in 2016.

Lynne Williams, Esq.


Lynne Williams is a special education attorney who represents families of special needs children, at mediation, due process hearings and court proceedings. Ms. Williams has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from University of Southern California and earned her law degree at Golden Gate University School of Law.

Ms. Williams is the author of Real Life Legal’s Special Needs Education: Navigating for Your Child, as well as the co-author of Real Life Legal’s  Business Owner’s Start-up Guide.  In her general practice, she has garnered lots of experience helping others start and run their new businesses and offers much practical advice for new business owners.

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Marina Ricci, Esq.

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Marina Ricci is in private practice in Illinois, where she specializes in bankruptcy law. In addition to being a practicing attorney, Ms. Ricci teaches bankruptcy and real estate law at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. She enjoys counseling clients and skating.

Ms. Ricci received her Bachelors in Business Administration (in Finance and International Business) from Loyola University Chicago and her law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois. Ms. Ricci is the author of Real Life Legal’s, Bankruptcy Basics: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

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