Melissa “Missy” Turk Firmage is a principal in the Estate & Trust Administration & Litigation and Estate Planning & Asset Protection practice groups. She focuses her practice on contested and routine guardianship matters, estate and trust litigation and administration, breach of fiduciary duty claims and fiduciary defense, elder law, and trust and estate-related appellate work.
Missy utilizes an intentional and empathetic approach to her practice as she leads clients through often emotionally charged legal matters. She focuses on eliminating legalese and providing clear guidance to ensure her clients understand each step of the process and their options. Conveying attentiveness, dedication and depth of experience, Missy’s clients often indicate that she has a unique ability to make them feel seen and heard.
Missy’s guardianship practice is rooted in the notion that persons with disabilities have the right to live with utmost dignity. She routinely represents corporate and individual fiduciaries throughout the phases of contested and non-contested guardianships for adults with disabilities and minors. Missy litigates sensitive matters involving competing guardianship petitions, financial exploitation and asset recovery. She also brings and defends against cases involving the enforceability of powers of attorney and is familiar with the processes required to create and amend estate plans for adults with disabilities. Her experience in estate planning provides her with insight on safeguarding against future litigation.
In post-death litigation and administration, Missy also represents corporate and individual fiduciaries, such as trustees, executors, administrators and beneficiaries. She is adept at handling matters involving wrongful death and survival actions, undue influence, lack of capacity, fraud, financial exploitation and breach of fiduciary duty. Missy also handles matters involving will and trust disputes at the trial and appellate levels.
Since 2020, Missy has been selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, an honor given to no more than 2.5% of all lawyers in Illinois.
Community engagement is an essential component of Missy’s life. She currently serves as a Junior Board Member of Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS), an organization founded over five decades ago that provides pro bono civil legal aid services in the Chicago area. She also routinely accepts pro bono guardianship cases from CVLS serving adults and minors. As a passionate and dedicated child welfare advocate, she serves youth in foster care as Associate Board vice president for Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization she has been involved in for over a decade. Missy is also actively involved in the Chicago Bar Association. She serves as the legislative liaison of the Mental Health and Disability Law Committee. She also served as the past chair of the Probate Practice Committee from 2020-2021 and the vice-chair from 2019-2020. When the opportunity arises, she enjoys remaining involved with her alma mater by guest lecturing for Professor William X. Elward in the areas of evidence and advanced evidence.
Missy received her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, earning certificates in Trial Advocacy and Child and Family Law. At Loyola, she participated in Loyola’s Honors Appellate Advocacy Program and served as vice president of Loyola’s Public Interest Law Society. Missy was the recipient of the Judge Thomas Mulroy Award for achieving the highest level of excellence in the field of evidence and a recipient of the Loyola Leadership Service and Public Interest Recognition Award.
In her free time, Missy shares her life with her spouse and her dog, Norbert, and enjoys reading, traveling, and cheering on the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks. Previously a certified Pure Barre instructor, she keeps up with the exercise and appreciates living a healthy lifestyle.