Diana C. Schimmel

Diana C. Schimmel

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A native of Philadelphia, Diana Schimmel Avena earned her Juris Doctorate from the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, PA. Diana began her career in civil practice in Philadelphia, but soon chose to focus exclusively on family law as her committed specialty.

Diana Schimmel Avena found her passion for family law in law school while she was a law clerk at the Harrisburg firm of Smigel, Anderson & Sacks. It was here she got her first experience with high asset divorce settlements and child custody disputes; discovering that she wanted to work with families.

Diana Schimmel Avena has served as the interim law clerk to The Honorable Donna M. Woelpper in the Family Court of Philadelphia, Juvenile Dependency branch, working closely with the Judge both in chambers and in the courtroom, learning the process from a neutral standpoint.

Diana Schimmel Avena worked as a Child Advocate Attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia in its Child Advocacy Unit. Here, she honed her courtroom presence, and represented numerous dependent children, advocating both for their needs and best interests.

Diana Schimmel Avena opened Schimmel Family Law in early 2013 and worked as a solo practitioner for almost 4 years. As the leader of her firm, she aggressively and compassionately ushered clients through the domestic relations legal arena in the following fields: divorce, custody, support, division of marital assets, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, enforcement and modification of agreements, same sex rights, domestic violence, paternity and adoption. 

Diana Schimmel Avena is active in the legal community, as a member of both the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, specifically their respective Family Law Sections. She is also a member of the Nicholas A. Cipriani Family Law Inn of Court. She volunteers with the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program, The Montgomery Child Advocacy Project and The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research.

Diana Schimmel Avena also has experience in mediation, and is a member of the Bar in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Areas of Practice

  • Child Custody
  • Divorce
  • Child Support
  • Custody & Visitation
  • Family Law
  • Father's Rights
  • Grandparent Rights
  • Adoption

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 2010
  • New Jersey, 2010


  • Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
    • J.D. - 2010
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Law Review: Widener Law Journal, Associate Staff Member, 2008-2009; Senior Staff 2009-2010; Student Bar Association 2008-2010
  • George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
    • B.A. - 2006
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Major: Government & International Politics
    • Minor: Dance

Published Works

  • “Betting Against the House: A Discussion of the Hurdles Companies Must Face When Trying to Build in the Emerging Pennsylvania Casino Gaming Industry as Exemplified Through HSP Gaming, L.P. v. City of Philadelphia”, 19 Widener L.J. 733
  • “The Young Lawyer’s Guide to Law Practice Management”- Law Practice Committee, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division- Committee Newsletter | Spring 2014, Vol. 1 No. 2
  • "A Family Law Attorney’s Perspective on Divorce"- Divorce & Money Matters Community Blog- July 2013
  • "Financially Educating Yourself During and After Divorce"- Carpey Law Newsletter- July 2013
  • "How I Use Divorce Mediation as a Divorce Attorney"- Main Line Family Law Center Blog- January 2014

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers Rising Star 2015, 2016
  • The Legal Intelligencer - Named as a Lawyer on the Fast Track- 2014
  • Philadelphia Life Magazine - Top Family Law Attorney, 2014 - 2016
  • Best Overall Advocate - Widener Intensive Trial Advocacy Program, 2009

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Philadelphia Bar Association, Family Law Section, Women in the Profession Committee
  • Nicholas A. Cipriani Family Law Inn of Court, Member
  • The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research, Young Professionals Council Co-Chair
  • Femfessionals Professional Women's Networking Group

Past Employment Positions

  • Smigel, Anderson & Sacks, Law Clerk
  • The Honorable Donna M. Woelpper in the Family Court of Philadelphia, Juvenile Dependency branch, Interim Law Clerk
  • Defender Association of Philadelphia in its Child Advocacy Unit, Child Advocate Attorney

Pro Bono Activities

  • Volunteer, Montgomery Child Advocacy Project
  • Volunteer, Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program
  • Volunteer, The Ronald McDonald House
  • Volunteer-Women's Resource Center


  • Alpha Omicron Pi