IT IS ONLY NATURAL FOR AN EMPLOYEE TO FEEL A TINGE OF JEALOUSY WHEN A NEW HIRE ENTERS THE WORKPLACE, and there is always potential for conflict to arise. That is especially true when the setting is a highly competitive law firm and the individuals in question are both intelligent, strong-willed attorneys.
With that in mind, Abigale Stolfe and Sonya Zeigler easily could have clashed when they first became professional colleagues more than a decade ago. Instead, they laid the groundwork for a successful partnership that continues to thrive to this day.
“We’re both strong, aggressive female attorneys,” Zeigler says. “So going into that situation, it was going to go one of two ways: We were either going to be constant rivals, or we were going to recognize there’s strength in numbers. Obviously, we decided to join forces and the harmonization of our skill sets has resulted in an unstoppable combination.
“We didn’t know at the time that we were going to eventually start our own boutique family law firm, but everything aligned and we haven’t looked back.”
Founding Stolfe Zeigler Family Law Group in 2011, they combined experience and expertise in family law to help their clients navigate through emotionally charged legal situations such as divorce or child custody battles, successfully taking on complex cases lar involving high net worth individuals.
Ironically, while they are constantly dealing with clients suffering through a turbulent time in their lives, it is the successful “marriage” of Stolfe and Zeigler’s contrasting but complementary styles that is the backbone for the firm.
The two attorneys have professional differences—Zeigler has an extensive knowledge of the financial and tax-related intricacies of divorce which exist in cases involving businesses, medical practices and law firms; Stolfe is a highly sought-after litigator and frequently retained to try high-conflict, complex matters. Stolfe has also developed a niche in handling religious divorce cases. The combination of the two creates a balance that allows them to view every case from all angles. These professional differences shape the firm and complement their relatability to clients.
Together it creates the perfect blend.
“We both bring equal attributes to the firm, they’re just very different,” Zeigler says. “It’s always been a very successful combination of strengths. We’re very different personalities, we have different backgrounds and interests and we live our lives differently. But the combination of those strengths has been very beneficial to us and our clients.”
With its main office in Toms River, Stolfe Zeigler Family Law Group serves clients in Ocean, Monmouth, Camden and Burlington counties. Due to great demand in this area, they are set to extend their influence in South Jersey by opening an office in the Moorestown area.
For Zeigler, a longtime Medford resident who got her start in family law in the South Jersey area, this is an exciting time for the firm.
“I’m thrilled to be able to be local again and to practice here on a regular basis,” she says. “I have always maintained a following and continued to handle cases in the Burlington and Camden county areas but the demand has risen to the level where we need a second office to accommodate the demand. We can be more involved in the community and foster new relationships.”
Both Zeigler and Stolfe will work out of their fully staffed South Jersey office. They are eager to lend their services to clients in this area.
A graduate of Temple University School of Law, Zeigler has an LLM in taxation from Villanova and started her legal career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Stolfe is a graduate of Widener University School of Law and began her career with a high-profile matrimonial attorney.
“As a tax attorney you don’t have any courtroom exposure,” Zeigler says. “I wanted to transition into a practice area where I could use all of my tax knowledge—because I love that subject matter—but also go to court. So o ne of my mentors told me there was a real need for very strong female divorce lawyers who can handle high-end complex cases, and with my financial background and tax expertise, it would be a perfect niche. That’s