Margaret “Max” Ruthenberg-Marshall is an experienced attorney whose passion is rooted in family law. Prior to opening her own firm, Max worked for a well-known family law firm in metro Atlanta and has learned it is not only her knowledge, but her compassion, that is important in assisting her clients through the stressful domestic litigation process. Max is committed to making the family law process as stress-free and cost-effective as possible for her clients as she advocates for their goals.
Max focuses her work on clients who want to reduce conflict in their case and reach a reasonable settlement if possible. Max has seen many attorney styles, including those who increase the hostility in families and take every case to trial. While trial is sometimes necessary, Max knows that she can best serve her clients by taking a more measured approach and helping her clients reach reasonable settlements without the stress and expense of trial.
Max began her work in family law in law school, working with victims of domestic violence. Through her training in domestic violence, Max learned to approach family law first with compassion and empathy, making sure a client’s practical and emotional needs were addressed in addition to their legal needs. Max understands the unique challenges victims of abusive relationships face and how participating in litigation can often compound these issues.
In addition to her work representing clients, Max serves as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem, representing the interests of children in contested custody cases, and as a domestic meditator.
Both of these roles help her sharpen her skills as an advocate for her clients. Max’s work as a Guardian helps her understand judges’ and other guardians’ perspectives, making her an excellent advocate for clients in contested custody cases. Her work as a mediator helps her analyze the best settlement options and how to best reach that result for her clients.
Being involved in the community is a huge importance in Max’s life and the reputation of The Ruthenberg-Marshall Law Firm. The legal industry faces an access to justice problem, with many people unable to afford representation but also unable to qualify for free legal services organizations. Max contributes to solving this problem by teaching the Family Law Workshop in several metro Atlanta counties. The Workshop teaches people representing themselves basic skills for navigating the court system.
Max maintains a strong commitment to pro bono work, taking cases through the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) and DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (DVLF) for people who cannot afford representation. Max focuses her pro bono work on victims of domestic violence, persons seeking to establish a legal relationship between children they are already caring for, and persons who want to change their name to match their gender identity.
Max has also participated in Swim Across America for several years, which raises money for cancer research and treatment. The Atlanta swim donates to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at CHOA. Max has done the 1-mile and ½-mile open-water swims and participated as a land volunteer. In September 2019, Max will again be swimming the 1-mile event.
The law runs in Max’s family—both her parents and one of her brothers are lawyers. Max grew up in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. As the oldest of five siblings, she learned a thing or two about managing family conflict, which she still employs in her work today. Max currently resides in Decatur with her partner, Kevin, and two cats, Lorna and Freyja.
The same passion and skills Max brings to being a lawyer naturally extend into her personal life. In 2018, Max challenged herself to complete one 5K per month for a year, and it was her goal-oriented mindset that got her through the summer races in Atlanta. During the summers, Max participates in a competitive adult swim team league, competing not only for her team but for personal improvement.
When not challenging herself physically, Max channels her creativity into inventing new cupcake recipes, a hobby that is greatly appreciated by her friends. Owing to her independent spirit, Max has taken two solo drives cross country, which were some of the best vacations she has ever had. Max believes wellness is an important focus for every person, and she uses her extracurricular activities to rejuvenate herself so that she can wholeheartedly use these same characteristics to advocate for her clients.