Kelly A. Damm, Attorney at Law

 I take a personal approach to practicing law, always keeping in mind that my top priority is representing you: an individual facing a particular set of circumstances, with your own unique background, needs, and goals. With this client-centered focus, I provide you with an explanation for the proceedings you will be facing, outline the options available in your case, and help you make appropriate decisions to best serve your interests. I listen to your concerns and questions, and provide solutions – including referrals to related services (such as tax or accounting experts, for example) if that will help your case.

 I was born in New Jersey and spent much of my youth in the Chicago area. I attended Beloit College in Wisconsin.  I was the first person in my family to graduate from college when I earned a Bachelor’s Degree with a triple major in Psychology-Literature Studies-Creative Writing in December 1995.  I studied law at Albany Law School, part of Union University, where I graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1999, and I was admitted to practice law in New York State in January 2000.

I opened my own law office in the Spring of 2001, after serving as an Associate Attorney with Kerrigan & Wallace.   I have been serving clients as a sole practitioner ever since the Spring of 2001. In addition to Ithaca and Tompkins County, my practice also covers Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Monroe, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, and other counties as needed. My earlier professional experience includes experience as a Certified Legal Intern with Prisoner’s Legal Services (Albany), Albany Law School AIDS Clinic student-attorney, and student-extern with the Office of the District Attorney in Rensselaer County (Troy, NY).

I focus my practice, and have extensive experience in Family Court issues (child support, paternity, spousal maintenance, custody, visitation, family offense, and abuse/neglect), Attorney for the Children matters (child support, paternity, custody, visitation, JD/PINS, and abuse/neglect), Criminal Defense cases, Matrimonial cases (more commonly referred to as Divorces), Adoptions, and Court-Appointed Referee matters. I handle both retained and assigned counsel cases, and I do pro bono work for divorce and criminal cases every year as well. 

Professional Associations and Related Activities 

I am active in a number of associations for the legal profession, in which I have held numerous leadership positions. I also participate in various activities that support the advancement of the profession, including serving as a mock judge for both Ithaca High School and Cornell University mock trials since 2008. 

Advisory Board on Indigent Representation: Chairperson, 2004-2013, member since 2002. The Board, serving as liaison between the Tompkins County Legislature and the Assigned Counsel Program, ensures that every eligible person in the county has quality representation in criminal and family court.

  • As Chair of ABIR, I was a member of a special Task Force to determine if the Assigned Counsel Program or a Public Defender’s Office would better serve indigent clients in Tompkins County. The Task Force determined that the current Assigned Counsel Program was more cost effective and more client centered.  As a result, 52 jobs were saved.  To view the report please click here.

American Bar Association: Member since 2000.

Assigned Counsel Program:  Member since 2000; mentor since 2006. Learn more by clicking here

Finger Lakes Women’s Bar Association (chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York): President, 2009-2010; member since 2006, current Chapter Delegate to WBASNY.

International Women’s Lawyer’s Association:  Member since 2013.

Ithaca Youth Bureau: Mentor since 2001 for young adults who are interested in the law.

New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers: Member since 2001.

New York State Bar Association: Member since 2000.

New York State Defenders Association:  Member since 2008.

Surrogate Decision-Making Committee: Member since 2009.  This committee makes medical decisions for individuals who are unable to do so for themselves. Serving on this group requires additional training and, once qualified, the member is called as needed to serve on a panel that conducts hearings with medical personnel and caregivers to make a determination about a requested medical procedure for a person.

Tompkins County Bar Association: President, 2011-2012; New Membership Chairperson, 2006-2011; member since 2000; mentor since 2006. During my tenure as President, the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary, for which I arranged centennial proclamations from the Mayor of the City of Ithaca and the Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature.