973.632.5634 | fax: 973.779.1824 | 126 Greenlawn Avenue, Clifton NJ 07013 | ehthelin@aol.com

Welcome to the web site of Ellen Thelin, Attorney at Law.  Thelin has been practicing law since 1976 and has held the distinction of being the longest established all woman law firm in the state of New Jersey. Clients include men, women, small businesses, and estates.  The practice focuses around general family related law, including matrimonial actions, wills, estates, real estate closings, adoptions, guardianships, prenuptial agreements, and negligence. Ellen Thelin is centrally located to appear at courthouses in Essex, Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Union, Hudson and Middlesex counties, and has also represented clients in other counties. Please do not hesitate to contact her if she can be of assistance to you.

Attorney Ellen Thelin strives to provide affordable legal services that you can trust and understand and is committed to providing services, tailored to your requirements, that result in the prompt fulfillment of your legal needs.  She hopes to establish a continuing relationship with each client so that she might best serve them, not only in times of stress, but at any time they require the advice and involvement of an attorney. 

Ellen Thelin, a lifelong Clifton resident, graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1970.  She received her legal education at Rutgers University School of Law, where she was a Member and Editor of the Rutgers Law Review.  Ellen is admitted to the New Jersey Bar and the US District Court Bar, District of New Jersey.  In addition, she is a member of the Essex County Bar Association.  She has actively practiced law in Montclair for over 24 years.  Her practice centers around probate, estate planning, family law, and real estate.  She has been married since 1971 to Lowell Thelin, and has two daughters, Alyson and Alexandra, and two Boston terriers.  In her spare time, she enjoys needlework and web page design, and serves on local school and community committees.

Areas of practice include:

Family Law
Living Wills
Living Trusts
Personal Injury
Power of Attorney
Probate Estate Law
Real Estate Law




When do I need a lawyer?
If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you may need to consult a lawyer:

1.  Have I tried to resolve this matter by speaking directly with the other party and failed?
2.  Is some individual or situation threatening me with legal action?
3.  Do I need someone to champion my cause or speak for me?
4.  Have I been served with papers such as summons, warrant, subpoena, etc?
5.  Does my opponent have a lawyer?
6.  Is the outcome of the case worth the cost of hiring a lawyer?
7.  Am I involved in a transaction of particular importance such as buying or selling a home, signing a contract, starting a business, writing a will, etc.?

What are my alternatives?

1.  Represent yourself and use self-help materials
2.  Mediation Services.  Mediation is a process which helps people in conflict work out a mutually acceptable agreement to disputed issues, with the help of a trained professional mediator.
3.  Arbitration Services.  Arbitration allows the parties to agree to let an impartial arbitrator or panel of arbitrators hear the evidence and decide the outcome.

What should I expect when hiring a lawyer?

1.  Vigorous and competent representation of your case.
2.  Copies of all important documents and correspondence.
3.  Written fee arrangement and detailed billing statements.
4.  To be kept fully important and be treated with respect by the lawyer and his staff.
5.   No conflict of interest with the opposing side.
6.  Timely return of phone calls.

What will the lawyer expect from me?

1.  To be completely honest about all facts in the case, whether or not they are favorable.
2.  To follow agreed upon advice.
3.  To ask questions when you don't understand and to speak up when you disagree.
4.  That you arrive promptly for all appointments.
5.  To be paid a reasonable fee promptly for the work performed.

What do I ask my lawyer?

1.  How long have you been in practice?  What is your experience?
2.  What is your specialty?  How many cases of this nature have you handled?  Have you been successful in them?  What are my alternatives?
3.  Do you charge for the initial consultation?  Will anyone else be working on my case?  How do you charge?  Besides your flat fee, what other expenses can I expect?  How often will I be billed?
4.  How long do you expect this to take?  How will you keep me informed about the progress in my case?  What will you need from me?

How do lawyers set their fees?

Legal fees depend upon several factors such as amount of time spent on your problem; the lawyer's ability, reputation and experience; difficulty of the case; the results obtained; and other costs involved.  Other costs that may be passed on to you include what the lawyer pays in rent, utilities, secretarial help, paralegal fees, office equipment, etc.

The most common types of fee arrangements are:

  • Hourly rates- where the legal fee is based on the amount of time the lawyer spends on the case.

  • Fixed fee- a flat fee charged for routine services such as an uncontested divorce, a simple bankruptcy or the drafting of a will.

  • Contingent fee- where the lawyer receives a percentage of any amounts recovered on behalf of the client plus expenses.

  • Retainer- where the client makes a payment to the lawyer in advance and future costs are billed against that amount

 * The additional expenses mentioned can include filing fees, phone calls, copy charges, paralegal or associate's time, messenger services, fees for serving papers and witness fees.



The purpose of these webpages is to allow you to determine whether you need legal advice and should consult with the attorney of your choice.  These webpages are designed to provide accurate and current information with regard to the subject matter covered.  However, the law is constantly changing and evolving and therefore it is not possible to guarantee that the information provided is current.  The information provided herein is not intended to replace consultation with an attorney to determine what your specific needs may be.  Nor are these webpages designed to replace original research nor act as a substitute for legal advice.  These webpages and the information contained therein are made available with the understanding that Ellen Thelin and each of her representatives, authors and publishers of this web site are not engaged in rendering legal advice or other professional services by reason of this web site.


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