William J. Phelan, IV

Associate Attorney

William Phelan

Philadelphia family law attorney William (Bill) J. Phelan, IV has a host of experience and accolades.

Both prior to and during his time at Cordell & Cordell, Mr. Phelan has appeared in hundreds of hearings on behalf of his clients and his efforts secured results that have provided both financial security and peace of mind for those who had little hope until he took their case.

Domestic relations matters offer a plethora of options and issues that Mr. Phelan is experienced to handle, whether he is helping his clients to understanding their case, negotiating and communicating with the opposing side, or meticulously preparing for and litigating a case at trial.

“I enjoy working with my clients, who are usually in a difficult position in their lives, to help them reach a resolution that is not only in their favor, but also allows them to put their minds at ease and continue on with their daily lives,” Mr. Phelan said.

 

Licenses & Admissions

Mr. Phelan is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Education

Mr. Phelan graduated magna cum laude from The Catholic University of America where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Civilizations and then a Master of Arts in Congressional and Presidential Studies (Politics). He earned his Juris Doctor, with a certificate in Law and Public Policy, from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. During law school, Mr. Phelan served as a Senior Editor for The Journal of Contemporary Health Law & Policy. 

Professional Experience

Mr. Phelan was previously a partner with a small law firm where he represented individuals in family law, employment law, Social Security benefits, general civil litigation, and disability rights cases.

Mr. Phelan was appointed by D.C. Superior Court to serve on the Family Court’s Mental Health Panel and Mental Habilitation Panel, assisting individuals with disabilities in the civil court system, including those who have been involuntarily committed due to suspected mental health issues.

He was a former staff attorney for the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights, one of the nation’s premier organizations for disability rights and disability law.

Associations

Mr. Phelan is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, including its Family Law Section and Disability Services Committee; the Doris Jonas Freed Matrimonial American Inn of Court; the District of Columbia Bar Association; and the Justinian Society, a legal organization comprised of attorneys and judges of Italian ancestry.

In 2016, Mr. Phelan was appointed to the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities Appeal of Greater Philadelphia. Catholic Charities Appeal provides donated funds to services throughout the Philadelphia region to benefit nearly 180 ministries and programs, helping initiatives such as domestic violence support, childcare, retirement living, and homelessness prevention and assistance.

He sits on the board for Alpha Delta Gamma Capital City Alumni Association, Inc., an educational non-profit organization.

Awards

  • Mr. Phelan was recognized in 2016-17 as a Pennsylvania Rising Star in the family law practice area by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service of outstanding lawyers. He was recognized in 2014-15 as a Washington, D.C. Rising Star.

AIOFLA

  • Mr. Phelan was named one of the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys’ Top 10 Under 40 Attorneys for the state of Pennsylvania for 2016.

  • In 2016, Mr. Phelan was named to The National Advocates Top 100 List. The list recognizes the Top 100 attorneys from each state or region who serve individuals and families needing attorneys to represent them in the American legal system.

The National Advocates

  • In 2016, Mr. Phelan received the Distinguished Lawyer Designation from the Expert Network.
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  • Who’s Who Among Law Professionals (Montclair), 2010-12
  • G.P. Smith Award for Exceptional Dedication to Journal of Contemporary Health Law & Policy

Speeches, Seminars, & Publications

  • Book review, The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public, The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Vol. 41, No. 1 (2013)
  • “Issues on Qualifying for the Bar,” organizer and presenter, tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, MD, Apr. 19, 2012
  • “How to Represent Social Security Claimants with Mental & Physical Disabilities,” moderator, ABA online CLE course, August 24, 2011
  • “Kicking Down the Door to Employment I: Of Mentors and Schedule A,” presentation, American University Washington College of Law, “Assisting Law Students with Disabilities in the 21st Century,” Mar. 10, 2011
  • “Goal III Report: A report on the status of the participation of persons with disabilities in the American Bar Association and its divisions, sections, and forums.” (eds. 2008-2012)
  • “Comments from the American Bar Association on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations,” to U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 35 Mental & Physical Disability L. Rep. 15 (2011)
  • THE SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF LAWYERS WITH DISABILITIES: A REPORT FROM THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSION (2009), Co-Editor; “Statistical and Other Information on Lawyers with Disabilities: A New Beginning Amidst Gaps and Unanswered Questions,” with John W. Parry
  • “Outreach to Lawyers and Law Students with Disabilities Essential to Profession,” The Young Lawyer, Dec. 2009
  • “Best Practices for Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Legal Staff,” presentation, National Disability Rights Network, Training and Advocacy Support Center Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD, Mar. 16, 2009
  • “Ignored No Longer: Contributions of the Common Law of Agency to Principal-Agency Theory and Congressional Leadership.” 45 Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, 235-254 (2008); presentation, Pennsylvania Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Kutztown, PA, Mar. 2007
  • “Political Gerrymandering After LULAC v. Perry: Considering Political Science for Legislative Action.” 32 Seton Hall Legislative Journal 89-121 (2007)
  • “A Chronic Concern No More: How a Federal Medical Malpractice Cap Will Survive Under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.” 23 Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy 168-199 (2006)

Mr. Phelan appeared on DadsDivorce Live to discuss how the Ashley Madison security breach could lead to an increase in the number of couples seeking divorce.

Mr. Phelan appeared on DadsDivorce Live to offer tips and advice on  how to prepare for a court appearance.

He has also contributed articles and Ask a Lawyer responses to Dadsdivorce.com and Mensdivorce.com.

Reviews

5/5

“Bill helps explains things and goes over in detail how the law relates to what is going on in my case. Bill takes extra time to point things out, and I feel [he] is very easy to work with …”

5/5

“Bill is superb. Bill is right to the point [and] extremely focused. He is not a buddy-buddy kind of guy or glad-handler, but [he is] responsible for obtaining positive results that languished with another attorney for a very long time. He ensured I was ready for the hunt. …”

5/5

“Bill helped me get though a difficult divorce as easy as possible. I had a lot of doubts and concerns when I picked a law firm. I was afraid that I was going to lose my sons at first, but Bill gave me confidence throughout my case and it ended well. I am really happy and fortunate to have worked with Bill. …”

5/5

“William did a great job. My wife and I are actually working to reconcile and keep our family going. I thank you for all of your help. …”

5/5

“I appreciate Bill’s efforts. He was very knowledgeable and professional.”

5/5

“I’m very happy and very pleased with the service I’ve received. Bill has been open with my options and our discussions. It’s been everything I expected.”

5/5

“Everything is being done exceptionally well. Bill has responded to any concerns or questions I have about my case with speed and courteousness.”

*Check out more Cordell & Cordell reviews of William and the rest of our Pennsylvania attorneys.

Miscellaneous

Mr. Phelan assisted in the drafting of a lawsuit filed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a case regarding whether retired Department of Corrections officers should have the right to carry firearms for protection.