Eleanor Breitel Alter

Alter, Eleanor 2163144_2226495 TP

Title: Principal Attorney

Company: Alter, Wolff & Foley LLP

Location: New York, New York, United States

Eleanor Breitel Alter, Principal Attorney of Alter, Wolff & Foley LLP, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in Family Law.

With illustrious clients such as Madonna, Ms. Alter’s boutique law firm represents an incredible portfolio of business owners, high-profile clientele, and even other attorneys and their spouses. After more than 40 years in the field, she has become a nationwide and international resource frequently invited to lecture on and serve as expert witness for New York Law. She has been an adjunct professor of the New York University School of Law as well as the University of Chicago School of Law, with bylines appearing frequently in legal journals. Ms. Alter comes from a family of lawyers, including both of her parents, which helped her considerably at a time when a female attorney was a novelty. “They believed it was the greatest profession in the world and talked about it constantly,” Alter said of her parents in a New York Times interview in 2017.

Ms. Alter studied law with both Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School. Her father, a stalwart feminist and chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, would take her to the state legislature at a young age and hold votes over dinner, though this did little to increase her interest in the law. That came later, when she audited her first law school class as an undergraduate. Ms. Alter wanted to be a doctor or an anthropologist up until that point. “My purpose is to do something that has a positive effect for people, whether it’s my clients, students or the people I work with,” she said of the profession of law. She stays abreast of many current events and politics, and cites transgender law as an example of how the legal field always stays interesting.

Born to Charles David Breitel and Jeanne Breitel in New York, Ms. Alter has expanded her remarkable family with her sons Richard and David, as well as grandchildren Joey, Claire, Joseph, Anna, Charlotte, and Maggie. Ms. Alter was named 1988 Ulysses S. Schwartz Fellow of the Law School of the University of Chicago, and received further accolades as a trustee and board member of the New York State Lawyers Fund for Client Protection from 1983 to 2013. She was featured in the pages of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the World, and Who’s Who of American Women. As a family lawyer, Ms. Alter enjoys getting to know her clients, and representing them well despite many strong emotions. However, she believes young people should follow theirs. She has this advice for young people looking for their life’s purpose: “While you should be motivated to be independent financially, getting into something strictly for money or because of family pressure is a terrible mistake.”

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